Why Libraries Rock
August 31, 2009 2 Comments
So why are libraries awesome or rock or kick butt? All libraries rock because they allow free access to all information (be it print, audio, visual or world wide webable). We do a lot more than that but since each library focuses on different aspects of their community I thought I’d blog about why MY library rocks!
My library rocks starting at the top and it works it’s way down through every staff member.
- Our Library Board is very supportive of what we do and sees that our mission & vision stays current and provides our customer base with what they expect.
- Our Executive Director and CEO has seen that we are not only aligned with but synonymous with education. Education is the corner stone of what we do. We educate all the time – whether it is a story time class, book promotion, or customer service staff helping a customer log into their account. Each interaction is based in educating, in training. This is just one of the many initiatives she has implemented since coming to Howard County.
- Our Public Relations department that produces an outstanding newsletter every quarter that highlights our classes, events, and seminars. They have created the Howard County Library brand and oversee everything from our flyers, to our signs, to our social web presence making sure we are consistently presenting the correct image and wording.
- Our Information Technology department which not only supports over 300 computers (and more coming) for our public to use (using a Linux operating system which allows us to save our tax payers money while providing a stable, secure environment on which to work) but also the staff desktops (in Linux, Mac and Windows). We also maintain the web site, catalogs, and databases so our customers may self-direct their education.
- Our Children’s & Teen Curriculum – what can I say about all the wonderful classes our children’s services provide? I’ve been privy to many (taking photos or just walking by) – the amount of energy, time, thought and fun (while learning) that goes into these classes is second to none. These instructors really have a calling and put our youngest customers on the path to lifelong learning. The teen events are no less spectacular. Making purses from old jeans, “Hogwarts Summer School” to celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, Duct Tape flip-flops and gaming nights give our teens a safe environment to socialize, learn and interact.
- Our Events and Seminars – the learning and fun isn’t just for our children and teens. Author visits, book club discussions, classes on technology, health, finances or travel and recreation are just some of the great offerings our adult customers can enjoy.
- Our Passport facility. Our East Columbia Branch is now an official Passport Acceptance Facility. Another great service for our customers. They can use all the wonders of the library while applying for their passports.
- Community Education and Partnerships. No library is an island, we are very much a part of the community. Our partnerships – Howard County Public School system, Howard Community College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Leadership Howard County, Choose Civility, Horizon Foundation, Howard County Autism Society, Lazarus Foundation – (PCs4Kids), HC DrugFree, Inc., Girl Scouts, Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team – are just some of the ways we are out in the community interacting, engaging, and educating our customers.
- Our Collection. It’s not just the outstanding materials our selectors purchase but the hard working individuals that catalog, process and circulate these materials so that our customers can get what they want when they want it (whether it’s an in house visit or via our web site and catalogs).
- Our Customer Service. We pride ourselves on not only meeting but exceeding our customer’s ideas of what good customer service looks like. This comes in all shapes and forms – from helping someone at our Information or Customer Services desks, to recommended a book/dvd/cd/or event via our blog Highly Recommended, to answering a customer’s concern via email, to talking to a teen who just needs someone to listen – we believe in going that extra step, that extra degree.
There are many more aspects and departments that I didn’t mention. They too help to give our customers what they want or support our staff so they can give our customer what they need. We need ALL the parts of this well oiled machine to make our library rock and to rank first in the nation among great public libraries according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2008.