I just returned from the annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA). It’s quite a gathering of librarians, trustees, authors, publishers, library school students, vendors and others who support or are associated with libraries of all types.
Of course I concentrate on sessions that deal primarily with public library issues and try to network with others from libraries similar to KPL. I came away from the conference with two strong feelings: “we are on the right track at KPL” and “it’s pretty darn good here.”
“We are on the right track” – strategic planning is the norm; most, like us, are using the ALA process. An emphasis on early childhood literacy is seen as the #1 priority for many, same for us. Digital downloads of content is increasingly available, likewise here. Use of computers is strong, circulation is up, traffic is steady – in summary “business” is good!
“It’s pretty darn good here,” especially as compared to public libraries which are part of city or county government. Those libraries have had significant reductions and have closed branches, reduced or eliminated many services, laid off staff. As an independent district library, we are fortunate to have a dedicated millage. Although we have dropped bookmobile service, reduced expenditures in most categories of the budget, and not filled many staff vacancies, our reductions are considerably less than most urban public libraries.
The saying holds true yet again... ...it’s good to go away, it’s good to be home.
Come visit soon.
American Library Association