See tour photos at www.flickr.com/photos/icflphotos/sets/72157646940178723/.
The Idaho Board of Library Commissioners visited seven libraries in southwest Idaho in October. The Board tours libraries annually, choosing a different area of the state each year. This year’s tour included Desert Sage Elementary School; Ada Community Library, Lake Hazel Branch; College of Western Idaho library; Caldwell Public Library; Meridian Library District, main branch; and Garden City Public Library on October 9; with a tour and a regularly scheduled board meeting at Mountain Home Public Library on October 10.
At the Desert Sage Elementary School library, librarian Karen Stahlecker, Principal Lisa Hahle, and 2nd grade teacher Jean Boyer described how they worked on Idaho Commission for Libraries’ (ICfL) Summer Slide Pilot Program with our VISTA volunteer and Ada Community Library staff. Kids loved the book choices the program offered; being able to choose was a powerful experience for them. Next year they will add more presentations from community members, as well as a toddler component because entire families came in during the summer program.
At Ada Community Library, after a welcome from director Mary DeWalt, Anna Langrill and Alex Hartman gave the tour. They explained how they use the Glades system, a blend of bookstore and Dewey decimal; described how their “Dog tale” stories get kids reading out loud; and demonstrated their maker area and resources, with 3D printers, squishy circuits, snap circuits, and soldering irons. The library is also in the second of five years of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.
College of Western Idaho’s Kim Leeder described how starting a new library is both a challenge and an opportunity with freedom to try new things. Since 2009, the college has gone from 0 to 19,000 students. The library supports a variety of technical programs and staff is slowly building a collection for the many different degrees and certifications, many times purchasing books on demand. The library serves the community as well as the students, allowing use of Wi-Fi and computers and making every effort to give back to the community.
Caldwell Public Library was getting ready for the October 23 Grand Reopening of their children’s and community/programs areas. Director Lacey Welt and board chair Larry Blackburn explained that the sturdy 1970s architecture of the building is able to handle the remodel and they gave the Commissioners a sneak preview. The colorful murals in children’s room are interchangeable and the entrance that kids can crawl through is sure to be a hit. The remodeled community room has a demonstration area for programs like cooking. The library is also building a self-checkout and a “book store” area, revitalizing itself to better serve the community.
At Meridian Library District, director Gretchen Caserotti and librarian Cheri Rendler described the massive changes and growth in the district, which is still a blend of urban and rural. The library is well supported and well used by the community, with an annual circulation of 1 million. Using an RFID automated sorter and a self-checkout makes staff more available for reader services. Meridian tries to make the library as welcoming as possible. They posted signage that tells people what they can do rather than what they can’t do, enclosed the teen area to allow for reasonable noise without disturbing other patrons, and built a 24-hour holds section in the lobby. They are participating in ICfL’s Make It at the Library project and developed Make It–Take It maker kits for check out.
Garden City Public Library was preparing for the October 23 Grand Opening of their Legacy Courtyard, which was funded by their Library Foundation. Director Lindsey Pettyjohn and trustees Jim Owens and Carolyne Pietz were happy to give the Commissioners a peek. Garden City has a wide range of income levels and they are currently researching demographics on cardholders. The library is open 54 hours per week and sees about 600 people per day, 40-50% of whom use computers. 67% of residents are card holders but staff is trying to take the library to people in lower-income neighborhoods who can’t make it in to the library. Their Bells for Books bookmobile already distributes books and snacks, along with mittens and hats in the winter.
On Friday, at Mountain Home Public Library, director Luise House, Mayor Tom Rist, two trustees, and the entire staff greeted the Commissioners. Trustee Kelly Everitt led the tour and explained that the architect designed the building for 2nd story expansion. The library entrance is a spacious commons area, with a café and beverages, frequently used for community presentations and a place to do homework. The library is committed to serving Spanish speakers and also works closely with area schools. Their Tech Center is well-used; a patron working at a computer realized that the Commissioners were on a tour and she took the time to tell them how much she appreciated public access at the library because she needed to create a presentation and didn’t have the software at home.
The annual fall tour of libraries is a highlight for the Commissioners. They enjoy getting into libraries; meeting the librarians; and seeing first-hand the range of services, facilities, and challenges in Idaho.
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In 2015, district libraries will have, at a minimum, two trustee positions open.
Remember that if you have a trustee resign (or there is a vacancy for any reason), the person who is appointed to that position will have to stand for election in the May election. If elected, they will serve out the term of the trustee whose place they took. (33-2716)
If you are planning a “special question” election (i.e., bond, temporary or permanent levy override or plant facilities levy), this is the time to let the county clerk know and save yourself additional notification.
Questions? Contact your regional field consultant, your county clerk, or the Secretary of State.
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