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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

2017 at the Library

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 is the New Year on our calendars.  I can hear the flipping of those monthly sheets as I write this article.  Wall calendars are more difficult to locate these days with the younger set using whatever electronic advice they own to determine month, day, and year.


Have you ever used the words “clockwise” and “counter-clockwise” with a younger person and get a “blank stare?”


Or write a note in cursive handwriting and be told “I can’t read that?”


The only reason that I mention these examples of our changing society is to illustrate the difficulty in planning library service for the future.


When I started my library career as an administrator in 1977, the State Library of Ohio sponsored workshops around the state about Long Range Planning for Libraries, and developing a 3-year plan, and 5-year plan; and a Mission Statement for your library system.


Then there was a review process and evaluation process, mid-course adjustments; and it was time for a new Long Range Plan.


Today, a library is fortunate to be able to follow a 30-day plan without the technology required to be out-of-date, irrelevant, or never-happening.  Those workshops no longer happen, or are computer-generated sessions with a “talking head” or something on YouTube.


So, here we are in 2017 and determine what a library should do in 2017, and in the future is a difficult task.  There is a lot of sharing within public libraries today, and the State Library of Ohio continues with educational offerings in this new era of technology, supplemented by our work with other library cooperatives such as OPLIN, OCLC, and OHIONET.


Looking specifically at our library system, it is exciting to see the growth in our online databases and online resources for downloading --- and how all are seeing enormous growth in usage by the public.


Hoopla, our newest offering of movies, eBooks, and online resources is showing a 20 percent growth as we move into the second year of being part of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County.


We have increased the available downloads to 15 per month per library card, with my goal of doubling that as soon as the contract allows.


Flipster, our online magazine service, is also seeing a 20 percent increase as we move into the second year of that service.  Download a new magazine onto your device and read it online.


Tumble Books is a fabulous service of children’s books and information that has become a parent’s delight.  New titles are added monthly to keep new materials available.


With your library card, you can access the Biography/Newspaper/Legal systems that we subscribe to, combined with another 40 online databases that we obtain through OPLIN and OHIONET.


Those old car repair manuals with greasy fingerprints have been replaced by two online systems that allow individual pages to be printed to use in the shop.


College testing books that were always out-of-date by the time they were printed are now part of online systems that allow you to practice tests and look for financial guidance.


And how about Rosetta Stone, that famous language system now available to you as a library customer?


Or that is available at all our library locations, and our Digital Shoebox which has over 80,000 pages of local history?


2017 promises to be an exciting year for your library system and for you if you utilize your library.


2017 is also the year that the project to make the Main Library building ADA accessible is set to begin, bringing the beloved 1902 building to the point that everyone can visit and use this great facility for the first time ever!


Architects of the 19th Century felt that public buildings should represent the classic Greek and Roman architecture, which resulted in grand staircases to enter the repository of knowledge.


It is time for this grand building to open its door to all who wish to enter.