PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
It is nearly the middle of 2011, and our library system is well on its way of meeting the promises that we put forth during last year’s levy campaign.
As soon as the receipts from the levy arrived this year, library hours were restored at the Toronto Branch, Schiappa Branch, Brilliant Branch, and the Adena Branch.
Staff returned from layoff status, and operating costs were returned to the restored hours.
Staff members in our Technical Services Department were restored to their previous hours to begin processing new materials purchased for the library’s collections.
It was just as difficult to return services to previous levels, as it was to cut those services two years earlier.
Library users are beginning to see more new books, DVDs, and CDs on the library shelves as the new book budgets begin to impact purchasing.
Books now contain labels in the front showing which ones were purchased with levy funds, and which ones were donated by our library supporters.
For the first time in years, the library system performed landscaping to the Main Library, Schiappa Branch, Toronto Branch, and Dillonvale Branch; erasing the worn look that the buildings had assumed.
We have started the process of going to bid for planning services to replace the roofs at Toronto and Schiappa, as well as other need work at the Main Library and Tiltonsville Branch.
The bidding process is underway to replace the bookmobile, with broke down beyond repair two weeks before the 2010 election.
Probably the biggest change seen by the public is the replacement of public computers by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant, supplemented by library operating funds.
By the end of 2011, every computer in the library system will have been replaced or upgraded in some manner.
As I call it, “all of that stuff that you don’t see” will also be upgraded and replaced to improve the operations of the library’s computers.
Servers, routers and all sort of electronic boxes have been replaced to improve the library’s computer systems.
The wireless network at all of our locations is being replaced to provide a stronger, more expansive signal for people and their laptops in the library.
The State Telecommunications system has opened new bandwidth to our libraries, and made a major upgrade at the Schiappa Branch to provide the computing power needed as computer power continues to increase.
All of the computers at Main, Schiappa, and Toronto are now linked to digital copiers to allow the public to copy or send the information to a location of their choice.
Color copying is now available at those locations, as well as scanning and faxing from the network.
This streamlines the process for the public, as the movement of information is critical for research.
I would like to again thank everyone for their support of the library levy, and our commitment to use those funds as planned and advertised.