12/23/14

PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN THE 21ST CENTURY: NO WIRES ATTACHED by Jon Walker

The Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) recently opened three additional new branches.  Planning for these libraries stretches back several years.  They each now represent expanded opportunities for residents to more conveniently access great modern public library services.  This includes plenty of books and other materials, computers and online services, as well as comfortable places to read, listen, view, study, learn and exchange ideas.   One thing that sets these new branches apart from earlier libraries is public-use computing is nearly fully and completely wireless. 
Public libraries for many years now have provided computers and other digital resources as a fundamental part of their service.  This should be no surprise.  Libraries are first and foremost information centers.  Computers and the Internet are vital to modern information delivery. 
Most libraries today experience extremely heavy use of information technology resources.  Computers now can often overshadow books and other print materials as the primary tools in the library.  In a landmark move, the Pueblo City-County Library District’s three new branches are providing this popular and important online access almost exclusively via wireless laptops and tablets.  There are only a handful of hardwired computers in these new libraries, but literally dozens of wireless computers are available to use.
Improvements in WiFi technology has allowed PCCLD to adopt this model in its new libraries.  WiFi networks and wireless devices have improved a great deal recently.  The widespread consumer use of smart phones, tablets, and laptops has accelerated the pace of change from a wired to a wireless world.  PCCLD has taken a logical step in focusing computer services on WiFi in its new libraries.  Pueblo’s new branches may possibly be the very first WiFi-only public libraries in the country, even the world. 
Most libraries around the country have been providing WiFi to the public for a number of years.  The new PCCLD libraries take this to a whole new level.   Here the wireless device is the primary online information appliance instead of serving as an adjunct to the wired computer. 
Too often the space in contemporary libraries commonly has become a crowded room of computer screens and hardwired computers lined up on utilitarian tables with hard plastic chairs for seating.  In PCCLD’s new libraries the experience is intentionally different with greater attention to elegance and comfort.  A patron borrows a laptop or tablet from a shelf of such devices, and finds a suitable seat in the library.  Perhaps it is a comfy chair by a fireplace or a café table with nearby coffee and snacks.  Maybe it is a special nook in the library with an outdoor view from a semi-private study.  Customers can even check out a laptop or tablet to use outside the library at home, office or school. 
The advantage in aesthetics and flexibility becomes evident as soon as you step inside PCCLD’s new libraries.   Rather than row upon row of rather unvarying computer screens, the view is instantly and endurably more fluid and pleasing. Something more akin to a cozy private den.   This combines the best from earlier libraries of yore with the strengths of modern technology.
You are invited to visit any of our new libraries and experience it for yourself.  The Greenhorn Valley Library is located at 4801 Cibola Drive in Colorado City in southern Pueblo County.  The Giodone Library's address is 24655 US Hwy 50E on the St. Charles Mesa.  The Lucero Library is at 1315 E. 7th Street in the heart of Pueblo's East Side neighborhood.

11/25/14

THE FICTION PROBLEM by Jon Walker

During the early twentieth century there was debate in this country about what was then known as The Fiction Problem.  Popular fiction was frowned upon in the library world in favor of “more improving books.”  This was the perspective of one librarian who wrote in 1906: “It is certainly not the function of the public library to foster the mind-weakening habit of novel-reading among the very classes—the uneducated, busy or idle—whom it is the duty of the public library to lift to a higher plane of thinking.”
Times change.  By the 1970s, popular fiction was a mainstay in public libraries.  Libraries in the latter part of the twentieth century commonly centered on a philosophy known by librarians at the time as Give ‘Em What They Want.  This movement was characterized by libraries focusing attention on providing materials people desired rather than materials librarians thought people needed. One result of this change is popular fiction collections in public libraries grew to previously unseen volumes in both size and use. 
Now in the early 21st century libraries are evolving once again as information becomes increasingly digital and online.  Today’s traditionalists now, as in 1906, are concerned about the change.   Some are troubled about the loss of “real books” or even view this transition as an “insult” to “book readers.”  The rhetoric has occasionally reached a higher pitch with absurd accusations of librarians “burning books.”
What is striking to me about these complaints is this.  Public libraries in our community today have never been busier or more engaged.  More people are using our libraries than ever before.  We will check out more than two million items this year alone.  We have never circulated this many books and other materials in any single year ever in the history of the library district.  Record numbers of individuals are attending library educational and cultural programs and events.  And, of course, more people are using library digital services, too—including computers, the Internet, e-books, and more. 
In many respects this seems to be a golden age for public libraries.  Nevertheless, it is important to balance the new with the old.  After all, the library has an obligation to ensure free and open access to information for everyone.   This principle is fundamental to the role of the public library in America.  It was so in the time of Jefferson and Franklin in the eighteenth century.   It continued to be true through the nineteenth century when Carnegie gave generously to help establish the system of public libraries we still revere today.  It remains accurate now as philanthropists like Bill Gates assist libraries in meeting the need for access in the digital age. 
I assure you that library professionals at the Pueblo City-County Library District are dedicated to this task.  Most librarians first entered this profession due to their passion for the bound monograph, or what some now refer to as the paper book.  When you ask most people to describe a library today, they probably first mention the book.  Yet libraries have not always been about books.  They are not currently all about books.  They are not likely to be all about books in the future.
Libraries predated books.  The first libraries, 4,000 years ago, consisted of rooms full of clay tablets in cuneiform script and papyrus scrolls with hieroglyphics.  Change has been occurring in libraries for literally thousands of years.  In fact, it is reasonable to argue that so long as libraries are willing to adapt, their future is better guaranteed.  It is only when libraries refuse or are unable to change that their future will become less certain.
Of course, the paper book does play a key role in today’s libraries.  But modern libraries are more than this.  Books are important to libraries, and will continue to be important for years to come.  Yet libraries make information available in a variety of formats in addition to books.  Libraries also are community and cultural centers with busy study areas, reading and viewing spaces, rooms for larger public gatherings, and the offer of spirited cultural and educational programs and events that are free and open to everyone.
This aspect of the modern public library is important for communities, both today and in the future.  Libraries should be beautiful and peaceful, yet vibrant public spaces where people freely gather together to read, listen, view, learn, create, and exchange ideas.  This is a big reason people are flocking to our libraries today.  They seek that common public space devoted to lifelong learning.  Yes, the library is more than simply a warehouse of books. 
Not only do libraries furnish the venerable book, but also information in a variety of formats—CDs, DVDs, public-access computers, online reference databases, streaming video, e-books, e-audiobooks, and more.  Today, we check out video games, language learning on USB drives, and audiobooks preloaded on MP3 players.  We circulate laptops, tablets, and WiFi hotspots.  We provide access to software and hardware that individuals might not afford in the home, such as 3D scanning and printing, audio and video recording production, and graphic design, video editing, photography and web development capacity.  But it is not all about high-tech.  We also provide seed libraries (yes, seeds you plant and grow), bicycle locks, etc.  These new and alternative formats are definitely impacting how the library looks and how it is used.  This trend will persist into the future for the successful public library.
We will continue to work diligently to give our users what they desire in paper, in online and digital formats, and, undoubtedly, in formats yet to come.  The mission of the public library is to engage all members of our community with free and open access to information, lifelong learning, and literacy—excluding no one.  As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A democratic society depends upon an informed and educated citizenry.”  The free public library is integral to this proposition.  This is the promise that I am proudly committed faithfully to keep.      

  

11/8/14

TIME TO CELEBRATE THREE NEW LIBRARIES! by Jon Walker

Please join the upcoming festivities at each of our three new libraries when they open to the public.  The Greenhorn Valley Library, located at 4801 Cibola Drive in Colorado City, will celebrate its public grand opening all day on Saturday, November 22.  This will be followed with the commemoration of completion of the new Giodone Library, located at 24655 US Hwy 50E, all day on Saturday, November 18.  The third event will take place all day on Saturday, December 13, with a party to mark the establishment of the new Lucero Library at 1315 E. 7th Street in Pueblo.
This is a unique time in our community with three brand new public libraries opening for business within a one month period.  It is fair to say that this may never happen again.  Be a part of history!  Support reading, literacy, and the value of free and open access to information for all!  Join the fun!  Let’s party at the library!
It is important to recognize and thank everyone who have donated $1,000 or more to help make these new libraries possible:
GREENHORN VALLEY LIBRARY: R.J. Black Schultz, Boettcher Foundation, Arnie & Jane Carlsen, Chamberlain Foundation, E.M. Christmas Foundation, Mark, Reiko & Midori Clark, Midori Clark, Colorado City Metropolitan District, Thomas & Nancy Corlett, Peggy Fogel, Friends of the Library, Catherine, Lauren & Morgan Gallegos, Gates Family Foundation, H.W. Houston Construction Co., Barb & Jane Hadley, Bob & Doris Johnston Foundation, In memory of Jerry King, Olimpia & Augustus Koehler Cox, Keith & Lorraine Kohrs, Frank I. Lamb Foundation, David & Renee Montano, Larry & Sue Phillips, Pueblo County, Linda Reifschneider & Wallace Rice, Marvin & Linda Schutz, Paul & Nancy Shaw, Southern Colorado Community Foundation, Lynn & Norma Street, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, In memor of Angelo Vitale, Jr., P. Michael & Marianne Voute, the Wachob Family, Stacy & Jon Walker.
PATRICK A. LUCERO LIBRARY:  Tom Autobee, Jeanette Autobee & Sharon Autobee Urrutia, Blackhills Energy, Boettcher Foundation, Chamberlain Foundation, Jeff & Paula Chostner, E.M. Christmas Foundation, Mark, Reiko & Midori Clark, Midori Clark, the Kent Couch Family, Neta & Eddie DeRose, Isaac C. & Maureen Duran, El Pomar Foundation, El Pomar Foundation Southeast Regional Council, Peggy Fogel, Friends of the Library, Neva, Alma & Raquel Fuentes, Gates Family Foundation, Sam & Connie Guerrero, H.W. Houston Construction Co., Health Access Pueblo, Inc., Alice Hill, Dr. Donna and Dustin Hodge, Bob & Doris Johnston Foundation, the Junior League of Pueblo, Frank I. Lamb Foundation, Land Title Guarantee Company, Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Lane & Family, Jim Lewis & Bill Bailey, Diann Logie, William & Janie Lucero, In memory of Dan Miltner, Anthony & Clara Nuñez, Park View Elementary School, Charles & Caroline Parsley, PeaceTrees Vietnam, City of Pueblo, Pueblo Community Health Center, Julie C. Rodriguez, Southern Colorado Community Foundation, Frank & Cheryl Spinuzzi, Dr. Alan & Sue Takaki, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, Mahlon Thatcher White Foundation, P. Michael & Marianne Voute, Louise Wagner Endowment Fund, Stacy & Jon Walker, Waterfront on the Riverwalk, Wells Fargo Foundation, Mr. & Mrs. Mark & Jennifer Welte, the Whitney Family.
TOM L. AND ANNA MARIE GIODONNE LIBRARY:  the Barnett Family, Boettcher Foundation, Pat & Donni Bottini, Marlene & William Bregar, Marianne & David Cardinal, JoAnn Carlo-Cummings, Jean Carlo-Erickson & Jan Carlo-Pullin, Frank & Mayme Carlo, Chamberlain Foundation, Mark & Jennelle Chorak, E.M. Christmas Foundation, Mark, Reido & Midori Clark, Fred & Evelyn Fitzsimmons, Peggy Fogel, Friends of the Library, Gates Family Foundation, Tom L. & Anna Marie Giodone, H.W. Houston Construction Co., Greg & Kathy Hahn, Bert & Joan Hartman, Bod & Doris Johnston Foundation, Frank I. Lamb Foundation, Anthony & Clara Nuñez, Drs. Gary & Pamela Parks, Pueblo Board of Water Works, Amber Sawvell Pepin & Alexandra, David & Betty Shepard, Southern Colorado Community Foundation, St. Charles Mesa Water District, Jim & Paulette Stuart, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, P. Michael & Marianne Voute, Stacy & Jon Walker.

10/9/14

ALL PUEBLO READS CELEBRATES TEN YEARS: THE PARIS WIFE BY PAULA MCLAIN by Jon Walker

This month marks the tenth consecutive year of All Pueblo Reads.  The Pueblo City-County Library District sponsors this month-long literary project annually to promote reading and literacy in our community by focusing attention on a single great work of literature.  I am pleased with the growth and success of the project.  Each year, a series of programs and events takes place throughout our community during the month of October designed to encourage conversation about the themes from an individual wonderful book.  These activities include lectures, films, readings, discussions, classes, musical and theatrical performances, art shows and more.  All Pueblo Reads in 2013 attracted an all-time record participation of 37,460 people.
I am excited about the 2014 All Pueblo Reads book selection The Paris Wife.  This novel by author Paula McClain is a critically acclaimed New York Times Bestseller.  It depicts a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway's marriage to Hadley Richardson, the first of the acclaimed writer's four wives.  The book allows the reader to rub shoulders with celebrated literary types of 1920s Paris, including such noted personalities as Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, among others.
I invite you to join us for this year’s community read.  The Paris Wife is an elegant, imaginative, and pleasing book.  Plenty of copies are available for checkout from your library.  There will be dozens of programs and events throughout the community in October exploring themes from the novel.  Best of all, on October 25 and 26, you have the opportunity to personally meet the book’s noted author, Paula McClain, when she makes scheduled appearances and presentations at the Rawlings Library in Pueblo.
Indeed, it’s a wonderful time of year.  It’s All Pueblo Reads time!

8/7/14

A NEW LIBRARY FOR PANIMACHAVAC by Jon Walker

PCCLD currently is taking final steps constructing three new libraries in underserved areas of our county.  As we count down the days until these new libraries open to the public, I recently had a unique opportunity to see this effort in a different light. 

In July, I worked onsite in a remote village in Guatemala with a group helping build a new community library.  I learned many things there, including what we take for granted here in our community can be a luxury somewhere else.

Guatemala is located in a historically rich region, where the indigenous Maya civilization dates back more than two-thousand years with a written language, beautiful works of art, sophisticated practices in mathematics and astronomy, advanced architectural and construction techniques and more.  Today, however, Guatemala is a poor country where individual families possess only about five percent of the earning power compared with the typical household in the USA.  The people of Guatemala were long subjugated by the Spanish and more recently the area was torn by civil war for nearly forty years from 1960 until the late 1990s.  The country’s economy today principally is tied to agriculture and textiles, but it lacks some basic modern infrastructure such as reliable electricity, available machinery and potable water.  When peace finally came to Guatemala, many citizens for the first time were guaranteed certain basic rights that we accept as a given in the USA, such as access to public education that only recently has become available to most citizens there through sixth grade. 

Today, with peace in their nation, there are significant efforts underway to modernize Guatemala.  This includes work to establish schools and libraries.  My recent time there—along with members of the Pueblo Rotary Club and others—was part of a much bigger effort to provide the citizens of the area with improved access to education, information and literacy.

We worked mainly on preliminary construction of a library in Panimachivac, a community located in the distant highlands of the country, but we also visited the site of a recently completed community library that was a year in the making in the village of La Loma.  Almost all work there is done by hand with very little machinery and only basic tools.  Our USA team worked on the library during the day, and we were joined by villagers in the late afternoon as they returned from their daily toil in neighboring agricultural fields.  Our effort was coordinated by PAVA, an in-country non-profit organization dedicated to helping the people of Guatemala.

I could not help but compare my daily life in Pueblo with the locals I worked alongside in Panimachivac and met in La Loma.  Many of the things that we accept as given here are luxuries there, such as indoor plumbing, motorized transportation, professional healthcare, and so on. 

Even our relatively modest contribution to enable greater access to information and literacy is important.  One story can help illustrate this.  Only the younger generation there commonly enjoys access to education.  This means older people are often illiterate.  So, it is meaningful now when a young girl in the village of La Loma can take out a book from the new library there on a topic like astronomy.  She had learned to read in school and took the book home to read to her father, who is illiterate.  He told her that although he had seen the stars, moon and sun, he never knew until that moment beyond what he saw in the sky.       


My visit to Guatemala provided me with a fresh view of the rich life and opportunities afforded us here in the USA, which are what dreams are made of in places like Panimachivac and La Loma.  It reinforced for me the universal value of free and open access to information, the joy of reading, and the importance of libraries, not only here in Pueblo but also around the world.   

6/25/14

THE IDEA FACTORY by Jon Walker

I invite you to visit the Rawlings Library to see our latest addition there. The Idea Factory, located on the 2nd floor, was recently unveiled to the public for the first time. We consider The Idea Factory as a special new space--a makerspace. Making is about getting hands-on using the latest and greatest technologies and tools to do real and meaningful work.
The Idea Factory represents a modern expression of public library service. It includes digital information equipment organized in a work area designed to enhance both individual use and collaboration. It includes the latest in wireless tablets and tablet applications, 3D printing, large screen video displays, cutting-edge kinetic and virtual reality technology, and up-to-date graphic design, video editing and web development software and hardware. All of this is for your use and enjoyment with courteous library staff nearby to help you get started.

The Idea Factory also features laptops and iPads for you to use, computers equipped with widescreen displays and running the latest Windows software, and a full array of printing and copying productivity equipment.

The Idea Factory aims to provide the widest possible audience within our community with access to the latest in hardware and software tools for digital creating and learning. We are providing this infrastructure so more kids and adults have the opportunity to spend meaningful time experiencing and using digital tools that were even not available until only recently.

Please come check it out!



5/24/14

READ TO SUCCEED THIS SUMMER by Jon Walker

I am very excited about this summer’s reading fun for young people that is available at the library. The Pueblo City-County Library District is sponsoring activities this summer designed to encourage literacy and celebrate the joy of reading. Everything kicks off in June and continues into August.

Our goal is simple. We aim to keep kids reading all summer long. We don’t focus on assigned reading or reading for study. Instead, we emphasize reading for fun.

Read comics, read Manga, read graphic novels, read fun magazines, read whatever is entertaining. Just read.

Why is it important for young people to read for fun during the summer? The short answer is the simple act of exercising reading skills during the summer helps keep them sharp for the next school year. The more you read, the better you read. Studies show that participation in library summer reading programs can make a positive difference in a young person’s long-term reading and academic achievement, and overall quality of life.

The library’s summer reading program has continued to increase in popularity and participation. In 2013, more people were part of the reading program than ever before. 2014 should be another top-notch summer of reading. Look for announcements elsewhere in this newsletter for dates and times of special activities and events designed to make reading all the rage this summer. Information also is available at your local library, on the library’s website (www.pueblolibrary.org), and in the local media.

I hope the young people in your life are reading this summer. The library’s summer reading program can help, and it’s free, it’s fun, and it’s important. It can help establish a positive foundation for young people to last a lifetime.

3/31/14

A HEALTHY LIBRARY by Jon Walker

We take pride at the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) in working to ensure our positive engagement with the community we serve.  We monitor our effectiveness in achieving this in a number of ways.  These include making note and responding to the many, regular anecdotal comments from users and others plus periodic systematic surveys we conduct with local citizens about how the library is doing in meeting needs.  We also study how our services correlate with state, regional and national library standards. Importantly, we watch for trends in the library industry and compare our key results to other libraries similarly situated in other communities. 

Regarding key results, the Library Research Service (www.lrs.org) recently published annual data from 2013 for Colorado libraries.  It is interesting to review this information to see how PCCLD stacks up. 

There are thirteen public library organizations in Colorado serving populations of 100,000 or more.  These are the Arapahoe Library District south of Denver, the Aurora Public Library east of Denver, the Boulder Public Library, the Denver Public Library, Douglas County Libraries on the far southern edge of the Denver metropolitan area, the High Plains Library District in Weld County, the Jefferson County Public Library west of Denver, the Mesa County Public Library on the Western Slope, the Pikes Peak Library District encompassing the Colorado Springs area, the Poudre River Public Library including Fort Collins and the surrounding region, the Rangeview Library District in Adams County, the Westminster Public Library north of Denver, and, of course, our very own PCCLD.

The Library Research Service tracks three of our key results for each of these thirteen libraries.  These are (1) the number of visits annually per capita, (2) the number of items checked out annually per capita, and (3) the number of individuals per 1,000 served attending library programs and events. 


The table below lists each of these libraries and their respective statistics for each of the three key results for 2013 and the previous four years.  The recorded outcomes are well worth considering.

Library
Library Visits per Capita

Circulation per Capita

Program Attendance per 1,000 Served

2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
Arapahoe Library District
8.27
9.02
9.35
10.84
10.62
17.45
18.89
19.39
23.9
24.2
513.77
520.8
492.3
500.8
491.28
Aurora Public Library
2.77
2.62
2.28
2.44
4.01
3.04
2.84
2.33
2.47
3.67
181.63
113.7
30.3
10.64
105.06
Boulder Public Library
8.83



9.87
14.38



13.5
513.98



610.93
Denver Public Library
6.89
6.16
5.76
6.33
6.57
15.46
15.38
14.72
15.5
15.8
551.98
482.6
472.1
331.6
325.42
Douglas County Libraries
6.5
7.02
7.19
7.46
6.86
25.28
27.23
28.36
29
27.9
0
684.5
751.3
770.8
703.64
High Plains Library District
5.79
5.49
6.66
7.35
6.3
11.71
11.4
11.66
11.8
11.4
354.09
248.1
300.7
334.9
357.5
Jefferson County Public Library
4.65
4.8
4.89
5.54
5.3
13.88
13.59
13.52
14
13.1
301.5
276
270.1
257.1
251.28
Mesa County Public Library
4.93
4.92
5.44
4.91
4.75
9.44
9.2
9.5
8.66
7.85
249.81
226
260.4
264.6
251.72
Pikes Peak Library District
6.03
6.24
6.36
6.57
7.02
14.72
15.11
15.12
14.8
15.1
606.1
599.9
505.4
677.5
446.15
Poudre River Public Library
6.25
6.48
6.31
6.25
5.82
17.12
17.81
18.48
18.7
17.2
331.82
323.1
379.8
386.5
387.92
Pueblo City-County Library
7.86
6.65
6.52
6.89
6.07
10.32
11.28
10.71
10.6
9.44
737.47
701
587.9
613.9
483.25
Rangeview Library District
3.68
3.92
4.06
3.32
2.94
6.34
6.56
6.65
5.08
3.5
160
124.2
103.8
116.4
132.97
Westminster Public Library
4.42
4.41
4.38
5.32
5.27
9.54
10.39
11.12
13.2
14
307.74
298
284.6
283.7
287.68
















Average
5.91
5.64
5.77
6.1
6.26
12.98
13.31
13.46
14
13.6
369.99
383.1
369.9
379
371.91

PCCLD ranked third of thirteen libraries in Colorado in visits per capita in 2013.  This represents a noticeable improvement over the five-year period as PCCLD moved up to third from seventh in 2009.  We are pleased that people in our community increasingly love to visit their library.  PCCLD’s position in circulation per capita is not as impressive.  We were tenth of thirteen libraries in 2009, rising to ninth in 2013.  There is clear room for improvement here, and I am confident we have plans in place now to continue do better in this area beginning this year in 2014 and moving forward.  PCCLD’s record on program attendance is magnificent.  We ranked first among the thirteen libraries for this key measure in each of the last two years.   The modern public library certainly plays a vital role in the community in offering cultural and educational programming to the local citizenry.  Without doubt, PCCLD is top-notch in this area of service.

PCCLD seeks to ensure free and open access to information, promote the joy of reading, and encourage literacy.  There is little doubt we are on track to guarantee these are well served in our community.  The key results help show it.  

3/12/14

IMAGINING THE MODERN LIBRARY by Jon Walker

Libraries have the reputation for being changeless institutions. But this is not really the case, at least not now. Our libraries in Pueblo are among many hundreds across the country that are reimagining themselves.
Technology is a driving force behind this. E-books, streaming video, and more have caused libraries to consider how best to further engage with members of the community. The mission of our public libraries is to ensure free and open access to information, lifelong learning, and the joy of reading and the value of literacy. How to best deliver on these principles in an ever-more-digital world is the question libraries are striving to answer.
This notion is pushing today’s public libraries to reconsider how to best meet the needs of their clientele. Many libraries around the nation—including our libraries in Pueblo—are now offering not only books, magazines and newspapers, audiobooks, and films but also are places to use wireless tablets and laptops, 3D printers, and more.
Along with this, libraries are rethinking how they present themselves. This includes more open, comfy seating, technology and space designed to encourage collaboration as well as solitary work, and the opportunity for food and drink. The goal is to create environments to boost people’s ability to learn, work together, and create information.
It is this spirit, for instance, that teen centers have become prevalent in our libraries. These are places encouraging teens to “hang out,” “mess around,” and “geek out” (“homago”), including a newer focus on gaming, digital labs, and software and equipment to record and create.
The evolution toward this modern library actually is not new. It began at least as early as the late twentieth century as the Internet became ubiquitous. In the ‘70s, patrons went to the reference desk, asked a question, which the librarian would help them research and answer using standard tools of the day, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, gazetteers, and so on. Today people turn instead to librarians to help them sift through the overwhelming amount of information they discover on the Internet. Librarians now are more like navigators.
Despite these changes, our libraries will continue to spotlight books and other printed information. Although there are examples of all-digital libraries—such as the one in San Antonio, Texas, that opened to some fanfare last year—print remains vital in most cases. While the digital movement is dramatically (and forever) impacting public libraries, customers still want print, too. In 2012, for example, 28 percent of adults nationally read an e-book, while 69 percent read a print book. According to the Pew Research Center, still only four percent of readers are “e-book only.” Nevertheless, about ninety percent of public libraries in the United States by 2013 were offering e-books for their customers, and a recent survey by the Library Journal shows that circulation of e-books in public libraries nationally continues to increase quickly.
What are we to conclude? The clear answer is that while print remains essential, so now, too, is digital. This means a balance between the two is important. The successful modern public library must represent both. So, we have libraries featuring open areas still with plenty of books and casual seating, but also with high-tech digital services and devices, too.
If we get it right, I am confident the result is a community center of information discovery and exchange. A popular and thriving destination for reading, viewing, listening, creating, and learning.

2/13/14

KEY RESULTS by Jon Walker

The Pueblo City-County Library District enjoys a proud tradition of providing outstanding library service for our community. Our goal is simple. We want to ensure our citizens enjoy free and open access to information and extensive possibilities for lifelong learning. We firmly believe this is vital in assuring everyone has the opportunity to be informed, which is important to the success of our democracy.
We recently began focusing on four key results to help measure our success in meeting our goal. The four key results are (1) circulation—the number of books and other library materials checked out to library users, (2) digital use—the number of times customers log-on library computers or access other library-hosted electronic information resources, (3) program attendance—the number of individuals attending any of the variety of cultural and educational events regularly sponsored by the library district, and (4) visits—the number of people who come into our libraries to read, study, learn and exchange ideas.
We measure on an ongoing basis our organization’s success with these key results. We also compare our key result outcomes with those of peer institutions in other communities. What we find is the Pueblo City-County Library District is near the top of the list in some areas. For example, more people attend library-sponsored cultural and educational events in our community than nearly any of our peers. It is similar for visits to the library. In 2013, for instance, people visited our libraries at a rate that is 25 percent higher than our peer average. In terms of circulation of materials, we continue to work to improve, but still lag our peer average by some twenty percent or so. The use of library digital resources keeps improving year-after-year. In 2013 this use jumped dramatically some 23 percent above the year before.
We believe that delivering on these key results will sustain the library district’s strength, viability, and growth. We strive to serve the public in the best manner possible, and focusing on library key results helps guarantee we are engaged successfully with our community.

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 ...