2/15/11

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.

2/2/11

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!

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 ...