Reflecting on This Year and The Next

As we enter the final month of 2011, we also begin to look ahead to 2012. Of course, for me, this means both reflecting on what the library district has accomplished in the current year and looking ahead to what we will be working to achieve in the new year.
2011 has been a busy and productive year. Some of the attainments for the library district include establishing the new Pueblo Library Foundation to help ensure the long-term financial health of the institution, completing the fourth annual distinguished author dinner and public program with record participation from library supporters, and, of course, the addition of plenty of new books and other materials to library collections. 2011 also saw the library district invest further in the emerging world of digital information services as we began checking-out laptops, iPads, and nooks. This new service has taken off with large numbers of individual library customers coming into our freshly established Centers for New Information Technology at both the Barkman and Rawlings Libraries to borrow these wireless devices to use at home, on-the-road, in the office, or at school for communicating, learning, and browsing. I also am pleased with the library’s new adult literacy education initiative, designed to help illiterate adults-in-need learn to read. Finally, as we approach the end of the current year, it is clear that, once again, we will check out more library books and other materials than ever before in the history of the district and we will experience a new all-time record level of use of public-access computers in our libraries. It is clear that 2011 marks a successful year as we work toward our goal of ensuring that ours is a community of readers.
Looking ahead to 2012, the library district has big plans for engaging our community even more profoundly. We will continue to grow our emerging e-book initiative by increasing the number of locations where laptops, iPads and e-readers are available for check-out. In 2012, we look forward to expanding the Centers for New Information Technology to the Pueblo West Library, the Library @ the Y, the Lamb Library, and the mini-bookmobile service we fondly call Books a la Cart. We also intend to continue to increase our procurements of new print books, e-books and related materials. Even more importantly, we expect to make exciting announcements before the end of this year regarding our longstanding goal to add new branch libraries to reach further out into the underserved areas of Pueblo County. Stay tuned for more on these, literally, groundbreaking plans.
2011 has been a great year for public libraries in our community and 2012 is shaping up to be the library district’s best year, yet!


Sangre de Cristo Collection on Death, Dying and Grieving

The Pueblo City-County Library District is very happy to announce a new service to our community that will kick-off later this month.  The library district in collaboration with Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care will unveil a special collection of materials on death, dying and grieving.  The collection will be available on the second floor of the Rawlings Library.  We are honored to provide these books, DVDs and more to the members of our community.  Coping with death and loss is among the most important times of life, and this collection will feature authors and experts to help individuals better understand and deal with this.

The Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care non-profit donated all of the materials in the collection.  In addition, members of their staff have agreed to present a series of programs at the library on matters of importance to individuals dealing with death, dying and grieving.  These programs will include topics such as hospice care, coping with loss, and children and bereavement.

It is the hope of the library district that in offering this special collection of materials and programs in partnership with Sangre de Cristo Hospice & Palliative Care that it will aid individuals of all ages and backgrounds in dealing with death, dying and grieving.

For more information on this new opportunity, please contact Carol Rooney, Managing Librarian for Rawlings Library Reference and Readers Advisory Services, at 562-5624.  


Centers for New Information Technology

I am very pleased this month that the Pueblo City-County Library District is unveiling its Centers for New Information Technology.  The Centers are located at both the Rawlings Library and the Barkman Library and feature public availability of new digital wireless information devices such as the Apple iPad2 and laptops.  Customers now have the opportunity to check out these items free-of-charge for use either in the library or outside the library in the comfort and convenience of home, office or school.
Our mission at the Pueblo City-County Library District includes the notion that public libraries are vital to insuring free and open access to information.  This principle, in turn, is one key to the success of our American democracy.   More and more, this is turning out to mean the library plays host to a variety of emerging information formats.  This, of course, is in addition to the venerable book.  The idea that information comes in forms other than books is not new.  Our library has supported access to information in microfilm and microfiche, video and audio cassette, and, in recent years, via computers, to name only a few of the formats.  We are pleased now to unveil yet another stage in the evolution of information delivery via the library.  Now, you can check out wireless e-readers, laptops and electronic tablets. 
This is an important step for the library and our community.  Insuring that everyone has access to the latest in wireless digital information technologies helps bridge what some have called “the great digital divide.”  This is the gap between individuals at different socio-economic levels with regard to their opportunities to access information technologies.  While this gap has narrowed recently, it is noteworthy that recent studies show that 41 percent of all adults still do not have access to the Internet through wireless connections.  Our hope is the Centers for New Information Technology will help bridge this divide.
This project is provided with special help from the United States Department of Commerce, the Frank I. Lamb Foundation, and the Friends of the Library.  We are grateful for their assistance.  Without it, we would be longer delayed in making this service available to the members of our community who need it.  I also would like to thank a core group of library employees who helped steer this project, including Richard Tucey, Bill Seidel, Andrew Bregar, Steve Antonuccio, and Carol Rooney, among others.
I encourage you to visit or contact the Centers for New Information Technology at either the Barkman Library (562-5680) or the Rawlings Library (562-5601) to “check out” the new service. 


How Does the Library Stack Up?

We are currently considering what matters most when it comes to counting how the public library is used. This is an important task. If we do it right, we will know better what is important for the library to be doing in order to best meet our community’s needs.
Abby Koehler, one of our librarians, is helping lead this analysis. She is looking at what others say is important about today’s public libraries. In doing so, she is finding some commonalities. She is examining some of the standard reporting tools that librarians use, such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services Public Library Survey, the Library Journal’s Star Ratings, the Library Research Service’s Annual Report, the Colorado State Library’s Public Library Standards, the Public Library Association’s Public Library Data Service, and Hennen’s American Public Library Rating. Some interesting areas of overlap are emerging among these various and sundry reports. Some areas that all the reports agree are important include how much money a library spends on new materials to keep the collection current, how many times individual books and other library materials check out from the collection, the number of times people visit the library, and the number of staff employed by the library. In addition to this, Abby’s analysis makes a good case that there are a few more things that libraries should be watching carefully, such as how many times people use library public computers and how many people attend library-sponsored programs and events. Finally, Abby sees some areas emerging that libraries should consider counting in the future: how much digital and online materials are being used and how much library public meeting rooms are used.
I want to thank Abby for her good work. I believe if we follow up on this by focusing library resources into areas that help increase these numbers, then your library will be doing a good job. This will help insure the library survives and prospers well into the future. But, most importantly, it will mean the library is making a positive difference in the community it serves.



The Pueblo City-County Library District is now providing r-readers. This new service started last month, and we are excited about it. I have written recently in previous newsletters (May 2011 and April 2011) about how the “wireless digital age” is changing the library. The library’s new e-reader checkout program is only one indication of how things are evolving.

To kick off the program, a number of e-readers can now be checked out by the public from the Rawlings Library. This is a pilot project, and, as such, we are starting somewhat conservatively with twelve E-readers and they are only at the Rawlings Library for now. The e-readers available to checkout from the library are the Nook. We chose the Nook because it is common in the marketplace and it also has the flexibility to download e-books from a variety of publishers. Each Nook @ the library is preloaded with selected books. We are putting a number of bestselling titles on each Nook. This is one advantage of e-books on an e-reader. You can carry a whole host of books with you in one portable device.

There are some special requirements to checkout e-readers @ the library, including restricting use to adults only and insuring that each user of a library-provided Nook receives sufficient instructions in how to use and care for the e-reader responsibly.

We hope the new Nook e-reader @ the library will be popular. The e-reader program is only one of several new wireless digital projects the library is working to make available this year. Some of the other projects include laptops and tablets @ the library, and more e-content to download to your own personal e-reader, tablet, or similar device. All of these services together make up what we are calling the Pueblo City-County Library District’s Center for Emerging Technologies. The Center should be fully up and running by October of this year.

As always, it is an exciting time @ your library. For more information on r-readers @ the Library, call 562-5601. 


The Pueblo Library Foundation

The Pueblo City-County Library District continues to do well. In fact, just last month, I met individually with both the members of the Pueblo City Council and the Board of County Commissioners to deliver a very positive and upbeat report regarding the library. Certainly, the overall use of library services is increasing. In 2010, we saw record numbers of people visiting our libraries (more than 1 million people in 2010 alone), checking out books and other library materials (nearly 1.7 million check outs in 2010), utilizing library public-access computers (nearly 370,000 logged-on at libraries in Pueblo County in 2010), and attending library-sponsored events (almost 98,000 people in 2010). We are well on our way toward the goal of insuring our’s is a community of readers.

Of course, it takes money to provide these services and programs, and, in this respect, the library is no different from any other institution. Fortunately, library funding has remained steady in recent years, and there have been years with moderate increases in revenue. Nevertheless, pressure on the library budget continues to grow. This is despite some modest, but necessary, reductions to employee benefits and compensation, and our best efforts to moderate other operational costs.

In the upcoming, the library’s finance office is projecting a decrease in library revenues of up to $330,000. In order to cope with this decline, it is important for the Library District to focus on stabilizing revenue in other ways. This is why we are working now to stay ahead of the curve by establishing the Pueblo Library Foundation. The purpose of the foundation will be solely dedicated to supporting public library services in Pueblo County. In fact, I expect it to be established as a not-for-profit public charity for this purpose, and in line with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. The foundation will exist as a separate organization, and it will provide an alternative source of funding for the Library District. At this time, a group of library supporters—including Friends, Trustees, and staff—is working together to craft a formal mission statement, articles of incorporation, and create the framework for the foundation. The group has been working with experts in the law and charitable giving to establish the foundation as a legal entity that supports our mission. Our goal is to have the Pueblo Library Foundation up and running before the end of the current year.

The Pueblo Library Foundation will seek giving from a large variety of people and institutions. We hope to build a corpus of assets to help sustain the public library and its services for the community. This endowment will help especially during times of economic downturn, but also will allow the library to enhance and build upon what is clearly a strong set of programs. The Foundation also will serve as a means for fundraising toward significant capital goals, such as library facilities. Studies show that great public libraries enhance a community’s quality of life. The Library District has stated goals to establish more libraries in such places as the St. Charles Mesa, Pueblo’s East Side, the growing North Side, and in the mountain communities. The Pueblo Library Foundation can help us attain this, and more.

The vision for a Pueblo Library Foundation has been coming into focus for a number of years. 2011 is the time for the Foundation to come into being. Look for additional information on this exciting development in the coming months.


Summer Reading for Young People

Each summer the Pueblo City - County Library District sponsors a special program for young people to encourage the joy of reading. This year, the program begins in June and stretches into mid-August. We are so pleased and proud at the library to have seen the summer reading program continue to grow in popularity over the past several years. A record number of 17,015 young people were positively impacted by the library’s summer reading program in 2010. We hope this year will be even bigger.

Why is this important? Because of what educators commonly refer to as “summer setback.” This is the phenomenon whereby, during the summer break away from school, young people tend to lose the learning momentum reached during the prior school year, and begin to forget significant pieces of what was learned. There is scholarly research to back up this notion, and, also, that this decline can be very pronounced with reading skills. Evidence shows that those who are better readers are those who read more, and when reading slows or stops during the summer, then skills atrophy. Dr. Richard Allington, a professor at the University of Florida, points out that the “best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether you read or not during the summer.”

In order to help prevent this setback, each and every summer, the library district presents programming, events and activities designed to promote and encourage summer reading among our youth. Our goal is simple. We aim to keep kids reading all summer long. We don’t focus on assigned reading or reading as work. Instead, we emphasize reading for fun. In fact, I often say things like: “Read the comics.” “Read Manga.” “Read graphic novels.” “Read fun magazines.” “Read whatever is entertaining.” “Just read.”

Look for our announcements elsewhere in this newsletter about the dates and times of special programs and events designed to make reading fun this summer. Information also is available at your local public library, in the newspaper, on the library’s website (www.pueblolibrary.org), and on television.

Please, get our children involved. Research indicates that participating in the library’s summer reading program can make a positive difference in a young person’s long-term reading and academic achievement.

The library’s summer reading program is free and it’s fun. Most importantly, it will help establish foundation for young people that can last a lifetime.


Coming Soon: Public Centers for New Information Technology

PCCLD is working now on an important new initiative. This year, we will establish Public Centers for New Information Technology. Library staff are working diligently to see that this project is up and running by mid-year. The goal of these Centers is to expand community access to current broadband wireless information technologies, such as tablets and eReaders, and to the burgeoning world of downloadable eBooks and related eContent.

Why is this important? Simply put, because libraries are changing.

For example, experts today are talking about the impact on libraries resulting from the current transition from the codex (bound paper manuscripts—some now refer to these as “tree books”) to the eBook. This was a major topic at a recent gathering in Washington, D.C., of more than 2,000 librarians and information scientists from around the world. These experts cited several interesting facts. For example, it took only six years for DVDs to supplant VHS for delivering video (and, of course, this is changing again as DVDs are replaced by streaming video). Another example, fifteen years ago the back files of periodicals and traditional reference books were digitized. The impact of this change on libraries was dramatic. Where libraries once housed row upon row of bound periodical back files and reference books, now we find row upon row of computer terminals. Where librarians once taught patrons how to navigate the broad world of information found in the bound volumes of journals, indices, abstracts, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias and so on; now librarians teach customers how to navigate an even larger universe available via the Internet and a variety of digital reference services.

The consensus at the Washington conference is that what took place before with periodicals and reference is now happening to books and monographs. For example, Google has been working since at least 2002 on a project to put into digital format all the books of the world. Google announced in 2010 that there were about 130 million books, and that it intends to convert all of them by the end of the decade. Google also announced that it has already scanned over 15 million books. There are other efforts to digitize book back files, too, such as Project Gutenberg, Europeana and the Internet Archive. Such initiatives clearly will offer unprecedented access to human knowledge, and have tremendous implications for libraries. If one can simply print-on-demand or download the contents of any book, what impact does this have on the physical library as a warehouse of books?

In addition to the work to digitize back files of books, today’s publishers are making available most newly published books in digital format with the ability to download these anytime, anywhere to portable, wireless personal eReaders, such as the Nook, the Kindle and so on. So, today you can buy most best-selling and other contemporary titles in a digital format compatible with one of the many available eReaders.

In fact, with all this new technical capability available, some are calling for the creation of the Digital Public Library of America. This idea has interest from a number of academic, government and philanthropic organizations. The various backers of this new national library, and a number of interested parties, met in late 2010 at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, which is coordinating the project. Representatives from technology companies like Google and Apple also attended.

Clearly, libraries are on the verge of change. But this isn’t new. Libraries have always been evolving, and our project to establish the PCCLD Public Centers for New Information Technology is only another step in providing our community with 21st century library services. With this initiative, we will provide portable eReaders preloaded with high quality books, and we will teach you how to use them. We will provide portable wireless tablets and laptops designed to allow users to access and manage digital information, and we will teach you how to use them. We will provide additional eBook content to download onto your own personal eReader, tablet or computer, and we will teach you how to do this, too.

You see this is what librarians have always done. We help you navigate access to information, whether it is from a clay tablet, a papyrus scroll, a codex, a vertical file, a newspaper or periodical, a microform, a CD, a cassette tape, a VHS tape, a DVD, a preloaded MP3 or USB drive, a hard-wired computer, or, now, a wireless eReader or tablet. Our role is to provide the public with access to information, regardless of the format. The formats change but the public library’s role in providing free and open access to information does not.

Our goal is to have the PCCLD Public Centers for New Information Technology open to the community before July 1st, 2011. So, stay tuned.


E-Books, E-Readers and the Public Library

The proliferation of e-readers, tablets and e-books seems to be spreading like wildfire. This past holiday season, the popularity of the Kindle e-reader was so great that Amazon named it their best-selling product of all time. Barnes & Noble found so many Nook e-readers attempting to activate at once that their servers crashed. Several major publishers said that e-books had climbed to about 10 percent of their total sales, and some predict that they will rise to 25 percent in the next two to three years. The New York Times even has started publishing an e-book best seller list. And, of course, I almost don’t even need to mention the popularity of the Apple iPad (and, now, the iPad2).

E-readers and e-books have been around for many years, but now it seems to be different. The digital world is clearly impacting the world of books, and we seem poised on the threshold of a major shift. Just as music and movies are moving online, so, too, books are shifting online.

I have been hearing regularly recently from community members interested in discussing their e-readers and e-books. Customers have a clear expectation that their library will have a significant role in all of this. And, after all, shouldn’t we? E-information is certainly near the heart of our mission. To see examples, see our online offerings of music and e-audiobooks at http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_digital and online reference resources and periodical archives at http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_search/er_main_rm.asp. Plus our public-access Internet services have been very popular now for the past several years.

PCCLD’s investment in e-books so far has been modest. We are providing access to some e-books via NetLibrary and Project Gutenberg. But we plan to do much more later this year. A group of library employees began planning for this late last year. The effort this group is making will shape a program for PCCLD as we begin providing customers with access to e-readers and a more robust collection of e-books. We are using the proceeds from a grant from the federal government to help pay for this program.

So, stay tuned, and please know that although we are not quite there yet, PCCLD does have more planned this year for this quickly surging phenomenon.


Are you passionate for libraries in 2011?

What is your passion? Mine, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the public library. I believe that the public library represents many of the characteristics that make our nation great. Indeed, the success of our representative democracy is determined to some large extent by having an educated electorate who have open access to information. This is what the public library does. The mission of the public library encourages the joy of reading, supports lifelong learning and presents access to information from around the world. Moreover, we provide this freely for everyone in our community. Such open access is a cornerstone to our country.

As we move further into 2011, what is clear is that overall our community is passionate about the public library, too. One area that stands out is the increasing number of library books and other materials being checked out. In January 2011 alone there were 147,366 items checked out from Pueblo City-County Libraries. This represents a 12% increase over the same period one year ago in 2010.

Our libraries continue to work strategically to remain fully engaged with our community. We do this by carefully planning how to improve our collections and services to best fit the wants and needs of today’s clientele. For the remainder of 2011, we have plans to continue to refine libraries in order to do just this.

Here is a selected list of changes to expect in 2011.
· Enhance the catalog
The library catalog is the gateway to our collection of books and other library materials. We want to insure that use of the catalog is intuitive and results in the customer’s ability to find just the right item. We are pleased that the library catalog has improved dramatically over the years. Today’s online catalog provides many value-added features to improve accessibility to library collections. But there is more we can do, and in 2011 we hope to enhance the catalog by improving access.
· Weed the collection
PCCLD has much to be proud of. Unfortunately, deselection or “weeding” our collections is not among the areas where we have been high achievers. In fact, we have woefully neglected this duty in recent years. Last year, however, we began playing catch up, and in 2011 we intend to adopt procedures system-wide for culling unwanted items from our circulating collections in order to increase use of library materials and customer satisfaction.
· Allocate a sufficient amount on new books and other library materials
For the past several years, we have strived to increase funds available to procure new materials for our library collections. I am proud that in the past five years, we have managed to increase spending on new library materials by fifty percent. Investing wisely in new books is vital to the life of a library.
· Floating collections
Our individual libraries in Pueblo County have long “owned” the items in their respective collections. However, we have adopted a philosophy that the Pueblo City-County Library District’s collection is one whole collection, not an accumulation of fourteen individual collections. This year, as a reflection of this, we will begin “floating” materials between different libraries. Wherever a book is checked-in, it will go to that library’s shelf for the next checkout. This model is used by other busy libraries, and it has proven to be an effective way to increase use and decrease materials handling.
· Downloadable ebooks, ereaders and tablets
Right now we are in the midst of another technology revolution. This time it’s wireless. Just as the Internet dramatically and forever impacted library services in the 1990s, so, too, now wireless technologies will impact libraries. In 2011, the Pueblo City-County Library District will begin making available wireless devices—such as e-readers or tablets—and further develop our e-book content (see http://www.pueblolibrary.org/pld_digital/).
· All new website
Our online presence is an important key to the 21st century library. Libraries are service, librares are collections, libraries are places; but in the modern era we also must be virtual, electronic and online. There is much discussion and excitement about the implementation of second-generation web services at the library. We refer to this as Library 2.0, and the change to this new style already has begun. When you visit www.pueblolibrary.org, you find an interactive online catalog, access to personalized library accounts, customer-placed holds, online review of books and other library materials, subscription databases, and virtual reference using chat technology. Recently, we added online customer registration, fee payment, and more. During 2011, we also are working on an entirely new web design for the library. So, stay tuned!
· Adult literacy program
In 2010, we successfully piloted an adult literacy program, and now we are building on this with the hiring of a librarian whose focus is adult literacy and offering regular classes designed to provide needed assistance to those adults with low or no reading skills. Contact Amy Nelson at 553-0206 for more information.
· Pueblo Library Foundation
It is difficult to do the kinds of things we do without adequate funding. I am pleased the community has been so generous in supporting libraries. However, as resources become more scarce, it is important for PCCLD to look to alternative sources of funding. We plan to establish the Pueblo Library Foundation in 2011 with just this goal in mind.

I am proud that our community remains passionate about the public library. I believe this comes about due to good planning and the work of strategically placing the current needs and wants of our customers first. This year we will continue to build on this by targeting several changes to improve libraries. I hope you agree these enhancements will make us better. You may have others to suggest. If so, please contact me. I am always open to new ideas. Especially as regards making our libraries the best they can be.


2010 Revisited

Last year was a great year @ your library. In fact, 2010 was Pueblo City-County Library District’s best year ever. There were several landmark accomplishments. In 2010, we checked out 1,680,484 books and other library materials to members of our community. This is a new all-time record for checkouts, representing a healthy 16.5 percent increase compared with the year before, and nearly doubling the number from not too many years ago. The total number of library visitors in 2010 was 1,096,484. This is the first time we have had more than one million visitors to our libraries, and, of course, it is another record number. Attendance at library programs and events was 97,604 in 2010. This is yet another all time best, representing a huge 28.3 percent increase compared with the prior year. The numbers clearly show people are engaged with the library and 2010 was special. Last year was important for other reasons.
• We continued to venture further into digital formats by adding language learning on USB drives and video games to our collections.
• The library participated in a statewide advocacy campaign for libraries. The year-long effort concluded in September with a presentation at the Rawlings Library by Dr. Camila Alire, immediate past president of the American Library Association. This program was presented in collaboration with El Pueblo Adolescent Community.
• The Adult Literacy Program pilot was successful, and is now a regular part of library services. This program is a partnership between PCCLD, Project Literacy and AmeriCorps.
• The Friends of the Library announced they will endow an annual children’s author program for our community. The first annual celebration of children’s literature, Read OUT LOUD! featured Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston, who visited Pueblo in February and touched the lives of 2,913children in our community.
• Pueblo West Library was awarded a Gold LEED certification in 2010 by the U.S. Green Building Council for its environmentally friendly design and operation.
• A collaboration with the Senior Resource Development Agency resulted in a database of services for 2-1-1 for Southeast Colorado.
• In July, the first Voices of the Valley Chautauqua Festival was held in collaboration with CSU-Pueblo and Colorado Humanities.
• The Pueblo West History Collection at the Pueblo West Library was established in collaboration with the Pueblo West History Association.
• In April, the library celebrated the opening of a new branch on the YMCA campus on the west side of Pueblo. The new Library @the Y branch is a partnership between the Pueblo City-County Library District and the YMCA of Pueblo.
• Our Hispanic Resources Center leveraged a grant from Colorado Humanities to sponsor the writing of a 102-page monograph entitled History of Hispanics in Pueblo County, Colorado by Dr. David Sandoval. This is a landmark history of the influence and key role Hispanics have played in our community. The history is set to published for sale to the public in 2011.
• The library was nominated as a finalist forthe El Pomar's Awards for Excellence, and received a $7,500 award as a result.
• Our Summer Reading Program continued to be a hit, with a record number of 17,015 young people impacted.
• All Pueblo Reads continued its record-breaking ways with 28,337 participants who celebrated Sherman Alexie’s book, TheAbsolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The highlight of the month-long series of programs and events was the Booklovers’ Blacktie Ball, featuring special public presentations by Alexie.
This only touches on some of the library's services and programs available in 2010. The list is long, and also includes the InfoZone News Museum, Western History and Special Collections, Doris D. Kester/Southern Colorado Community Foundation Nonprofit Resource Center, Books a la Cart, Books in the Park, Homebound Delivery, Nuestra Biblioteca: The Hispanic Resource Center, the R.M. Watts Business and Vocation Center, and more. Last year was an exceptional year for your library. Our best year ever!


The library is a learning institution.  First and foremost, the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) exists to ensure members of our...