03 October 2011

What do you know about your local library?

Do you have a thriving local library? We do.

Our library is in real need of funding right now though. Generally, I do not support most tax increases. The tax burden for the typical American family is becoming burdensome and I see no end in sight. I am in support of a referendum for our library though. A referendum will not be placed on ballots until November 2012 at the earliest. The library board has seen too many referendums denied and is being proactive to get their ducks all in a row before making another request. I feel that a referendum should be passed. Local statistics support it.

A change of the interior of the building provided a doubling of computers available for public use in 2004. Changing technological needs of the community changes what a library needs to to provide for patrons.  Today's Plainfield library users are in greater desire of downloadable ebooks and audiobooks, some of the newest offerings of any library. Downloadable material is checked out by our library's patrons more than from libraries serving much larger populations. To increase holdings of digital material our library has set aside funds that may be used to purchase as many as two ebooks per patron when a request is presented. 

The use of our library has actually increased in these days of technological advancement. I think some people expect that isn't the case. Our library's usage is up by 10% in the past year. Our library's board continues to seek ways to creatively use the space that we have. The director of another area library, Shorewood's Jennie Mills was quoted in THE ENTERPRISE as saying "A good rule of thumb for a library building is 2-3 square feet per person served." Our building is 27,160 square feet. According to her statement our library could easily be as big as 81,480 sqaure feet. Fountaindale Library in Bolingbrook just expanded to 96,000 square feet. That library even has a drive-up window for easy pick-up of materials that are ordered by phone or online! Isn't that great for convenience? Community forums are held in Plainfield so that feedback directly from users is heard and taken into account, hoping that the next referendum will have support and that proposed changes will be those that will be most relevant to our community. 

What is a library if it isn't meeting the needs of those it serves? Who knew ten or twenty years ago that libraries would be looked to for the lending of films? While the ebook was invented in 1971, could anyone have predicted that today our libraries would be expected to loan books in that format?

Truthfully, our family doesn't use our library as much as you'd likely expect. We've had times of greater usage though. In the earlier days of our homeschooling we used it more frequently. Eventually, the burden of keeping track of so many library books was more than I could accept. That's when I began buying most of the books that we needed or wanted. These days I still am inclined to buy books. It's a reasonable indulgence, to my way of thinking. We do get sucked in once in a while though. Most of our library use currently is my borrowing of ebooks through our library's ebook lending service, www.mymediamall.net.

Do you use our local library? Do you support it? 
Facts for this post were garnered from THE ENTERPRISE Sept 15, 2011

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