In the coming year, we will begin work on a building project that will help us be even more responsive to our residents’ needs. Many of the changes will revolve around helping residents use the technology that is becoming increasingly essential in school, business, and at home.
“Every day, we’re helping residents with their phones, eBook readers, and social media,” said Ming Heraty, Welcome Desk Manager. According to the Pew Research Center 35% of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone as of July 2011, up from 21% just 18 months earlier. Circulation of eBooks at the library has increased 157% in the past year, while circulation of print books has decreased 4%. The need for technology assistance is not limited to leisure activities. “I often hear from our local business owners who need help using technology and social media to help market and run their businesses,” said Shannon Scanlon, Business Librarian.
The reallocation of space within the building will allow us to meet the essential technology requirements of our residents as well as a number of other longstanding needs. Some of the new features:
- A digital studio where residents can work on projects like creating and editing video or scanning and organizing digital photos. It will feature equipment and software that is not practical for an individual to purchase.
- Additional space dedicated to working with residents specifically on their technology needs.
- Additional small group/conference rooms that will more than triple the existing rooms that are in constant use.
- Additional space for library programs, including an expanded room for adult and teen programs. Last year, attendance at adult programs increased 62% over the previous year.
- An expanded area for teens that includes space for group projects, computers and books.
None of these service enhancements will come at the expense of our existing services and collections. “We will continue to have one of the largest and best collections of print books in the state,” said Paula Moore, Library Director. “In fact, we will be providing more space to highlight the collection, making it more accessible and appealing to our customers.”
The renovations will get underway this fall and should be completed in four to five months. The entire $2.6 million cost of the project will be taken from our fund balance and will not require any increase in taxes. “We have saved specifically for this project since defining our next generation of services,” said Moore. “Just as we have not increased our levy three of the past four years, we remain committed to making sure the library is a good value for our residents.”