1/2/18

LIBRARY SERVICE by Jon Walker

PCCLD is a full-service public library.  There are eight PCCLD facilities each providing a complete range of library activities.  These include information services such as readers’ advisory, reference, and information literacy instruction, robust collections of library materials for public use including print, video, and audio formats; local history and archival collections, interlibrary loan, online and digital services, public meeting rooms and plenty of space for individuals and groups of all sizes to study and exchange ideas, and wide-ranging cultural and educational programs and events.  All this and more is available free and open to the public.  Specific PCCLD-sponsored activities also include literacy tutoring for all ages, maker clubs and programs (both tech and non-tech), computer and Internet instruction, WiFi hotspots and tablets for checkout, language classes, a high school diploma program for adults, citizenship preparation classes, gang intervention counseling, community bookshelves, outdoor programs in local parks, and more. 
PCCLD excels in most areas of library service, but we are particularly pleased to be a national leader in our cultural and educational event programming.  “Learning by doing” is something we focus on a lot.  Here is one example of how PCCLD takes this to the next level.  Progressive public libraries somewhat commonly now provide public-use 3D printers.  PCCLD goes a step further by involving community members of all ages in constructing its own 3D printer as a maker for around $300 in parts purchased mostly at a local hardware store.  We take pride in such out-of-the box creativity with all of our cultural and educational programming.  In addition, we regularly partner with local, regional, and national institutions, including, for example, with local schools to provide library cards to every student in the community, thereby providing classrooms with full access to public library resources.  In the last year, PCCLD has collaborated with numerous organizations of national, regional, and local prominence, such as the Smithsonian Institution for Human Origins: What Does It Mean to be Human, the National Center for Learning in Boulder, Colorado, for Discover Tech, and the local Sangre de Cristo Arts Centre for Ansel Adams: Classic Images.  PCCLD recently sponsored a community-wide series of educational programs and exhibits honoring the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I entitled Lest We Forget: Pueblo Remembers World War I.  PCCLD also co-sponsored the recent Congressional Medal of Honor Convention in our community, which included a special recognition event at our Rawlings Library with most of the living Medal recipients from across the nation in attendance.  The library enjoys partnerships with many other institutions, including businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools.  This further enables PCCLD to leverage its success locally.  Relationships between people and the institutions they represent is a key factor in the success of many programs like SPELL (Supporting Parents in Early Literacy through Libraries) providing outreach to daycare providers and parents to employ practices in support of childhood literacy.  Other organizations such as Colorado State Parks, the Pueblo Zoo, Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center offer passes circulated freely to community members by PCCLD to give individuals and families access to fee-based services at no cost.  PCCLD collaborates with local colleges and universities to provide programs such as collections of public library materials on-campus available for use by students and faculty, and even a seed-sharing library, operated in conjunction with Colorado State University Extension Services, so families can “check out” seeds to grow their own vegetables and flowers.  It also is important to mention several signature PCCLD programs such as the annual All Pueblo Reads fall literature program series, which attracted more than 39,000 participants last year; our Summer Reading Club, which witnessed well over 20,000 participants this past summer; and the seventh annual “READ OUT LOUD!” earlier this year when thousands of kids locally attended local appearances here by a nationally-prominent author of young peoples’ literature. These programs are endowed by our Friends of the Library. 
PCCLD recently refreshed its Assistive Technology Center—sometimes affectionately known as Accessible Avenues—in collaboration with local accessibility advocates to better meet the needs of this special needs community.  A local disabled community advocate recently wrote:  “After several visits to see if things were really going to happen with the Assistive Technology Center at Rawlings, the public center has a real possibility of succeeding…From a wimpy Dell with an AMD processor to a Dell XPS all-in-one with Dragon version 15, with an Intel i7 processor, we are beginning with a robust workhorse.  The uses for this equipment are huge…it will be another jewel in Pueblo City-County Library’s outstanding library system.”

In 2014, PCCLD opened three new libraries to reach underserved communities in our service area.  The Patrick A. Lucero Library serves Pueblo’s East Side neighborhood, which suffers endemic poverty and all the related social challenges, putting their community at risk.  The Lucero Library provides a safe place for visitors to attend English classes, food programs and ongoing gang prevention programs to help redirect youth along a better path and overcome their challenges.  The new Greenhorn Valley Library is located in the somewhat isolated southern portion of PCCLD’s service area, while the new Tom L. and Anna Marie Giodone Library is located in the mixed rural/suburban area in the eastern section of PCCLD’s geographic zone.  Each of the new libraries serves their neighborhood’s individual needs.  These three, along with the Robert Hoag Rawlings Library, the Frank and Marie Barkman Library, the Frank I. Lamb Library, the Pueblo West Library, and the Library @ the Y (a collaboration with the Pueblo YMCA), work interactively with one another and the various PCCLD outreach activities to provide an outstanding public library presence in the community.  

LIBRARY IMPACT by Jon Walker

The Pueblo City-County Library District prides itself on seeking and responding positively to feedback from all. The institution regularly collects information in this regard via a variety of sources. Tools include community surveys and focus groups. We also solicit evaluative data ongoing via online and paper comment forms, and practice a philosophy known as Community Librarianship, whereby we encourage our professional staff to become embedded in the community we serve. In addition, PCCLD was an early adopter of the Public Library Association’s Project Outcomes, and continues to actively use this tool (http://www.ala.org/pla/initiatives/performancemeasurement). This helps us better understand overall library impact locally.

There are many examples of positive outcomes feedback. Here is one regarding PCCLD’s value in support of local educational and cultural learning activities: “The Southern Colorado Photography Society has been associated with the Pueblo City-County Library District for the past ten years. I have been president during that period. Our group has availed themselves of many of the available services and facilities. We hold our monthly meetings at the Lamb branch meeting room each month at no charge. The last four years, we have held the largest regional photography show at the Infozone are of the Rawlings Library. The staff assists us with the room needed, advertising, and refreshments. Visitors from other towns always compliment us on what a fine library we have. Members of the club have held individual and small group photography shows at a number of the library facilities. Not charging for these gallery spaces allows so many to exhibit their work. Our organization has also joined with the library staff to provide photography workshops, free to the public. Several of our members have hosted personal travel videos they created. We have all the library staff to be helpful, accommodating, and pleasant in helping our organization. All our members are huge fans of Pueblo City-County Library District. Individuals I have talked with, outside our group, who utilize the facilities, give the same positive reviews.”

The success of PCCLD’s many programs frequently is measured by attendance. For example, the goal of the annual summer reading program is to keep children reading during the summer months. We carefully measure participation. Part of this program includes setting up a temporary library outdoors in two parks where neighborhoods do not have easy access to library services. Summer reading activities at the library also include providing meals to children who are in need. The summer lunch at the library in partnership with local schools served 4,004 lunches to children this year, and many young people reported they would not have been able to eat lunch at all without the program. A legal assistance online program at the Lamb Library with limited spots available is regularly filled to capacity. Computer classes with limited space are well attended. The library’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program is carried out in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. It has had to turn people away and has plans to provide even more hours of service next year. PCCLD’s Adult Literacy project, which uses volunteer tutors, has more than seventy active learning teams with more on the waiting list ready to get started.

One recent comment sums it up this way: “I am a huge fan of the Pueblo City-County Library system. It is a wonderfully run system brimming with activities and resources. The catalog is wonderful, the array of programs the library offers is impressive. But my favorite of all, and the reason I write you today, is the beautiful culture the library system has created for our community.”

A HIGH ACHIEVING LIBRARY by Jon Walker

The Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) is renowned for its high achievements.  A recent example of this is PCCLD’s recent selection for the current Library Journal Star Library award.  This prestigious recognition came about as the result of key findings showing PCCLD is more actively engaged with our community than most other public libraries around the country.   We are proud of this and, so, we anxiously awaited the first reports about 2016 outputs to see how well we continue to stack up.  The Library Research Service recently released this data for Colorado.
This study shows PCCLD’s ongoing strong scores when compared with peer libraries in Colorado.  There are thirteen public libraries in Colorado serving populations of greater than 100,000.  In addition to PCCLD, these are the Arapahoe Library District, the Aurora Public Library, the Boulder Public Library, the Denver Public Library, Douglas County Libraries, the High Plains Library District, the Jefferson County Public Library, the Mesa County Public Library District, the Pike Peak Library District, the Poudre River Public Library District, the Rangeview Library District, and the Westminster Public Library.   Among these in 2016 PCCLD ranked third for number of items checked out per capita, second in library visitors per capita, and first both for library computer use per capita and program attendance per capita.  These measures frequently are considered most important when gauging public library success.

It is fair to say that PCCLD’s strong attainment remains unabated.   

DO YOU DOWNLOAD? by Jon Walker

Do you download?  I do and, maybe, you should, too. 
Downloading via PCCLD platforms allows me to enjoy great print, audio, and video at home and on the go.  It is free and available 24 hours per day, seven days each week, and 52 weeks every year.  Books, audiobooks, music, and movies.  Download all these to your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.  If you don’t own a compatible device, not to worry.  PCCLD can lend you a tablet, too. 
The library district has invested heavily in recent years in e-content.  The result is PCCLD provides you with more access to more books and other library materials than ever before.  The breadth of titles available from your public library now is truly fantastic.   We estimate today PCCLD provides our customers with their choices from among upwards of twelve million e-titles, including books, music, audiobooks, and movies.  That’s right, 12,000,000! 
There are several ways to gain access to this treasure trove of content.  I will begin here with a personal favorite of mine.  It is Hoopla.  PCCLD’s Hoopla platform provides over 500,000 titles across six formats: audiobooks, movies, music, books, comics, and television.  This includes movies from companies like Lionsgate, Disney, Warner Brothers, Starz, and others; and audiobooks from publishers such as Tantor Audio, Blackstone Audio, and more.  Hoopla also contains a growing list of ebooks from favorite publishers, like HarperCollins and Harlequin.  Hoopla content principally consists of an excellent catalog of backlist titles delivered via easy-to-use apps with focus on the latest browser, phone, tablet, and TV products to deliver a grand user experience.  I personally use Hoopla all the time.
Another superb digital media platform is PCCLD’s cloudLibrary.  Content in cloudLibrary is centered around ebooks and e-audiobooks, and does not include movies and music.  CloudLibrary encompasses a wide variety of popular fiction and nonfiction backlist titles, but, importantly, it also enjoys the significant advantage of providing you with an abundant list of current best-selling titles, too, including popular recent releases and frontlist titles from the Big Five publishers: Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin/Random House, and Simon & Schuster.  CloudLibrary is easy to use and delivers an outstanding experience.  Right now, I am reading the 2017 All Pueblo Reads selection Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel from Penguin/Random House on my PCCLD cloudLibrary app. 
Next on my list of favorite PCCLD digital media platforms are the companion services Freading and Freegal.  Together these two provide over 50,000 backlist and classic ebook titles from more than 1,000 publishers plus an amazing eleven million music recordings, including all genres such as classical and opera, country, pop, rock, and more from top music publishing houses like Sony Music Entertainment.  I personally find using my PCCLD Freegal app an especially satisfying way to listen to my favorite music.
A fourth platform is Project Gutenberg.  It provides nearly 60,000 ebook and e-audiobook titles and features works currently in the public domain.   

Whatever I like and whenever I like.  PCCLD’s impressive array of downloadable and online content serves as a pleasant way to read great books, listen-to wonderful music, view outstanding movies, and learn. To get started, all you need is a library card, then click on http://www.pueblolibrary.org/digitalmedia or ask your friendly librarian for assistance.  

PEERS by Jon Walker



Our goal at the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) is simple. We aim to provide the best possible public library service for our community. We work diligently to track our progress toward this end. One way we do this is comparing PCCLD with peer institutions.

An important yardstick is looking to those public libraries in Colorado, which, like PCCLD, serve larger populations. The Library Research Service (LRS) recently revealed new annual statistics that helps with this. It is part of their Colorado Public Library Annual Report (www.lrs.org), and includes research results and statistics for public libraries throughout the state. PCCLD’s outcomes fared quite well in this analysis.

There are thirteen public libraries in Colorado serving populations greater than 100,000 people. These are, in addition to PCCLD, the Arapahoe Library District, Aurora Public Library, Boulder Public Library, Denver Public Library, Douglas County Libraries, High Plains Library District, Jefferson County Public Library, Mesa County Public Library, Pikes Peak Library District, Poudre River Public Library District, Rangeview Library District, and Westminster Public Library.

Public libraries account for many facets of their service. A helpful guide to what is most important among these is provided by Library Journal, which, working in concert with the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the National Center for Educational Statistics, has consistently touted four key measures as critical in determining the success of public libraries’ overall community engagement. These are the number of (1) library visits, (2) circulation, (3) program attendance, and (4) public Internet computer usage. Library Journal uses these to determine its annual Index of Public Library Service that ranks public libraries across the nation (http://lj.libraryjournal.com/stars-faq/).

LRS released data recently for Colorado libraries for calendar year 2015 for each of these four key measures. We can refer to this study to compare PCCLD with the other large Colorado public libraries. When we do so, this is what we find.

PCCLD ranks second in the state in circulation per capita when compared with its peers.

The news is even brighter with visits per capita to our local public libraries. In this category, PCCLD ranks number one among its Colorado peers.

PCCLD also does well with regard to program attendance per capita. Our local libraries are first among peers statewide.

Finally, in computer use, PCCLD also is doing quite well. PCCLD is third among its thirteen Colorado peers in this category.

PCCLD strives to provide the best possible library service for our community. The most recent annual data from LRS ranks PCCLD number one in two of the most important public library measures, and number two and three of thirteen libraries in the other two key categories. This confirms that PCCLD is quite successful in achieving great results.

6/28/17

LOCAL HISTORY AT THE LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Our community enjoys a rich and diverse history.  This is the story of the people and events helping to shape the saga of this region over many generations.  It is the multi-stranded narrative of the indigenous and the immigrant, the pioneer and the settler, the mover and the follower, the women, the men, and the children who have lived and visited here throughout the years.  PCCLD is pleased to help preserve record of this past for study and review by scholars and investigators both today and for the future. 
The Rawlings Library has a special role in this endeavor with highly qualified professionals working there collaboratively in preserving and organizing access to local primary source materials.  These archival pieces include eyewitness accounts, statistical data, audio and video recordings, writings and speeches, art objects, and more.  They encompass important secondary and tertiary historical resources, too. 
All this is principally collected on the third floor of the Rawlings Library.  We call these our Special Collections.  It is a name given for good reason.  This remarkable area of the Rawlings Library incorporates a singular vault, which serves as a secure room to protect many of the rare and significant documents and artifacts.  The area also has other distinctive furnishings and equipment to better safeguard the precious materials located there.  It should be noted that selected items of this type also are part of more modest holdings located in many of the branch libraries of the district. 
The cultural heritage represented by this collection assures its vitality to researchers and students today and likely so for years to come.  PCCLD cherishs its role in helping to guarantee this legacy is thoughtfully maintained and curated.  We invest heavily to continue to ensure it is so.  This duty is one key part of the library district’s strategic vision of service to our community.  Not only do we employ qualified and well-trained staff dedicated to the stewardship of these materials and maintain apt environmental conditions to better secure their appropriate preservation, but today we also spend funds on modern computer technology critical to this effort.  PCCLD in recent years is working evermore diligently in just this manner.  The results show with new digital copies now available of many high-value historical treasures from our collections.  This provides for both better conservation yet more widely available access via the library district’s website.  A great example of this type work is found here: http://pcclddigitalcollection.contentdm.oclc.org/
It requires dedicated time and expertise for PCCLD to collect and curate our history plus digitize and provide online finding aids for these materials.  More than 25 skilled librarians work throughout the library district.  We also engage professionals who have earned certifications and/or advanced degrees with emphasis in archival management, museum science, genealogy, and more.  This unique group of individuals, along with the aid of able support staff, focus meaningful attention to help preserve and support public access to local materials chronicling our past.  Under the capable leadership of Maria Sanchez-Tucker, who oversees the library district’s special collections and museum services, the list of PCCLD contributions in recent years to local history conservation and promotion efforts is notable.  Charlene Garcia-Simms, who serves as PCCLD’s special collections librarian and genealogy expert, also is key to this effort. 
The achievements are significant.  Here are some important recent examples:
·         Archiving a recent donation of the full collection of the bound editions of the local newspaper of record—today’s Pueblo Chieftain—dating from the middle of the nineteenth century, and digitizing significant portions of this resource in collaboration with the newspaper’s ownership, a local foundation, the Colorado State Library, and History Colorado

  • ·         Promoting PCCLD collection artifacts for statewide recognition (such as the library’s original copy of famous American frontiersman Kit Carson’s Last Will and Testament)
  • ·         Sponsoring scholarship and publication of noteworthy books like Spanish/Mexican Legacy of Latinos in Pueblo County (2012) and Images of America: Pueblo (2017)
  • ·         Commissioning Corazon del Pueblo, an artpiece located on the Rawlings Library second floor visually depicting local latino history in the Mexican Muralist tradition
  • ·         Collecting a gift of the full range of the Colorado Rock Art Association archives
  • ·         Producing community history walls for the Greenhorn Valley Library, the Giodone Library, and the Lucero Library
  • ·         Hosting the Pueblo West history collection at the Pueblo West Library
  • ·         Supporting local programming in partnership with nationally-prominent organizations like the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the American Library Association, and many more
  • ·         Collaborating with numerous local organizations on this work, which includes, but is not limited to, Colorado State University-Pueblo, the Steelworks Museum of the West, the El Pueblo History Museum, Colorado Humanities, Pueblo Archaelogical & Historical Society, and the Pueblo Heritage Museum. 
PCCLD’s investment in helping to preserve and educate the public about our past is weighty, ongoing, and growing.  The archives and local history efforts here are in good hands now and should continue to grow and improve for the forseeable future. 

4/8/17

EDUCATION AND THE PUBLIC LIBRARY by Jon Walker

A vital part of the public library’s mission is ensuring support for lifelong learning among the individual members of our community.  PCCLD’s education basis is important.  This has never been clearer than now.  In the past year, we further emphasized our commitment to help our local public schools via  ConnectED, an initiative which better guarantees local K-12 students have convenient access to the resources of the public library (for more information on this important project, see www.pueblolibrary.org/connected).  PCCLD’s role in this regard also extends to higher education.  This is important.  Studies show greater levels of formal education attainment correlate to positive outcomes for long-term economic and social success for individuals and the broader prosperity of communities. 
College takes lots of effort to complete and can be expensive.  There are many benefits to college education justifying both of these.  College graduates earn more money on average during their working lives than people with high school diplomas.  The U.S. Census Bureau reports that people with bachelor’s degrees earn about one million dollars more over the course of their individual careers than do those whose formal education stops with high school.  Individuals with more advanced college degrees beyond baccalaureate enjoy even better wage outcomes.  Attending college should be viewed as an investment that pays off later in life. 
The economic benefit is one good reason to earn a college degree.  There are others. College graduates experience significantly lower rates of unemployment and poverty than high school graduates, and they are generally healthier, boast increased awareness of social issues, realize greater success in switching jobs and relocating based on lifestyle preferences, and have more time for recreational activities and hobbies.  College graduates also generally realize broader knowledge of world history, geography, and culture plus improvement in critical thinking skills relevant and useful throughout a lifetime.  
Research shows overall education levels parallel a community’s welfare. The upside includes greater tax receipts for the common good, more participation in important public policy matters, and higher levels of employment with better paying jobs.  College-educated parents are more likely to raise children who obtain a college degree as well.  Research indicates college graduates enjoy healthier lifestyles and the children of college graduates often receive a better start in life as they are aware from an early age about the importance of good nutrition and exercise. This in turn improves the general quality of life and life expectancy rates for college graduates and their entire families.
PCCLD seeks to contribute to local higher education efforts.  Our librarians are prepared to assist in numerous ways, whether it is helping individuals select just the right college or major field of study, looking for college financial aid, or plain old studying and preparing for course projects and exams.  We also provide special research resources to assist with all of this and more.  We know this makes a positive difference both for individuals and for society at large. 
In order to further improve upon this, PCCLD recently created formal relationships both with Colorado State University-Pueblo and Pueblo Community College in order to better assist their respective campuses with access to the public library.  Now you will see in the academic libraries on both campuses PCCLD services available to complement the learning experiences there.  We call these projects Library @ the U and Library @ PCC, respectively.
Our community is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.  PCCLD’s mission is more fully accomplished through its support for our local K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.  

LIBRARY SERVICE by Jon Walker

PCCLD is a full-service public library.  There are eight PCCLD facilities each providing a complete range of library activities.  These inc...