Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

The State of America’s Libraries

The annual report, The State of America’s Libraries, was released last week, National Library Week, by the American Library Association.

Its findings and conclusions confirm what KPL and most public libraries are experiencing and discussing at our conferences, on email lists, and wherever library staff gather: Americans are turning to their libraries in ever increasing numbers for all types of resources but at the same time funding from all sources is decreasing.

The report addresses public, school and academic libraries; technology; construction and renovation; social networking; legislation; outreach; copyright.

The many statistics confirm that overall use of public libraries is up 23% at over 16,600 locations across the country. Libraries are being turned to in increasing numbers for access to employment resources, continuing education, government services, and the more traditional ones of free access to books, magazines, CDs, DVDs.

The report refers to a “perfect storm of growing demand and shrinking resources”. Half of the states have reduced funding to libraries; a majority of states report a decrease of 5 – 10% in local funding to public libraries. Not surprisingly, many have reduced staff, hours, services.

KPL is not immune; we also expect a decrease in local revenues for next year. As reported previously on our blogs and in LINK, we have made a variety of reductions and are in the midst of strategic planning to determine our priorities and the goals to support those priorities for the next several years. We’ll continue to share the outcomes of that process on our website and in our publications over the coming months.

Book

State Of America's Libraries Report 2010
state-of-americas-libraries-160
http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/index.cfm
AnnR

Comments

One of the reasons libarary visits are up, is that during these times of crises many people are canceling their home Internet access and taking advantage of the free Internet service offered at the local public library which could save a family several hundred dollars a year. Hopefully cuts in fundings will not affect this public service.
I have taken this opportunity to take a closer look at your strategic planning, "Charting KPL's Future," and I am compelled to comment. The sources from whom you are seeking input are ridiculously limited with enormous potential for extreme bias (in my experience, people in power tend to have limited views; and it’s not as if the community chose “their” representatives. The library did.) Has it occurred to you that the clearest picture of community needs might be found by standing at the door for a few hours and asking those that come through? I use the library 4+ times a week. I may not have a "deep understanding" of the certain segments of society you're looking for, but I have a pretty deep understanding of what I, as a tax-paying library user, need from my public library. Try asking those who use the library most what they need most from the library! Another point of contention-Just how much are you paying this Sandra Nelson? I think that money could have been used elsewhere (How much longer could Bookmobile have continued to serve our community with those funds?). Haven’t you thought of using the FREE resources in front of you---your patrons? You’re a PUBLIC library. Ask the PUBLIC.
The comment left by Mrs. Sandra Gonzales is very interesting and right to the point. It finally gave more of a written voice to what many of us have been talking about. As a member of the public, I would love to be consulted as to what is needed. I doubt that I will ever be asked, and that makes me quite offended. What exactly is needed to be a community representative? As a tax-payer, I feel that when I vote to allow more money to go to the public library, that it should be people like me who get to place input as to what happens with the library. I would also agree with Mrs. Gonzales, and would like to know, just how much are you really paying Sandra Nelson? I hope that the "real" details will be publicly available for everyone to see, not just the "community representatives".
The library, like most governmental units and public services, is experiencing declining revenues. We cannot continue all services. As you write, we have eliminated bookmobile service, reduced staff, and made other reductions. We are now undertaking a strategic planning process to set priorities for the next several years. We will then reallocate resources to meet those priorities. We are using a model used in public libraries throughout the country. It involves asking community leaders to talk about the vision for our community and the role the library might play in achieving that vision. Staff and board have also had input and the outcome is five priorities: early childhood literacy; reading, viewing and listening for pleasure for all ages; access to the online world; support for non-profits; and local history and genealogy. We will gather input from those who attend our programs and through some of our services. I will keep patrons informed through LINK and this blog and always welcome comments. The decision to undertake strategic planning using this approach was made by our board in December and the cost, about $19,000, was reported in tke KALAMAZOO GAZETTE at that time. We've been proud of all the services we've been able to offer over the years. Unfortunately, current resources just can't support them all any longer and we need to focus on the highest priorities. We will continue some services in other areas, but not as many as previously. Thanks for writing.
Wow! Exactly what I'm looking for. Be happy to find it here. Bookmarked and I will share it. Thanks a lot!
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