Archive for March, 2011

Licking County Library Expects 5% Cut.

Library books a thing of the past.

The Licking County Library in Newark, Ohio is now expecting a 5% decrease in funding from the State Of Ohio. That’s not good news, but considering the rumored 15% – 30% cuts, it’s better than expected. I think that there is much to learn from these cuts. The state is nearly broke, but yet libraries only received a 5% cut. There are many who will say that any cut at all is unacceptable and others who cannot understand why they were not cut more. It’s true, some operating costs are increasing, but libraries should be taking advantage of every technological advancement to lower their costs and prove their worth to the community.

How does a library prove their worth? In order to do this, it’s the public’s responsibility to remain informed. The library’s website informs well and they shouldn’t have to add additional costs from advertising. There are a few printing companies that enjoy their business and would like to persuade them to believe otherwise though. The vendors for the library need to realize that times are changing too.

The library’s role is changing to more of a center of education rather than just a place where knowledge is stored. The knowledge is now stored on computer networks all over the world. There’s less need for this. People need equipment to access it and instruction for the best uses of it. The Licking County Library has done a relatively good job, but they need to realize that the role of the library is changing.

I recently tried their e-book system. It was a confusing mess. The library’s name was not listed as a choice and the right answer happened to be a consortium they’re affiliated with. Once I finally found a book that I was interested in, there was a possible 2 month wait to read it! In today’s world, that’s not going to work. I found the book at Amazon for $10 and forgot about the troublesome library system.

I think that the library is going to play a larger role as a meeting place. There will always be books and periodicals, but not in the capacity that there once was. For example, I would never go to the library for a book on computer software. Once it reaches the library’s shelf, it’s out of date and worthless. The computer books they do buy are a waste of taxpayer dollars. There are other subjects that change just as fast. However, I would go to the library for a computer class or to listen to a speaker from the computer industry.

There will always be a need for a quiet place to study and the library can enhance this. Printers, copy machines, and other things that people may not have access too are great additions. There are many resources for job seekers that have proved to be a God send for those that desperately need them. It’s all about serving the community with a facility and staff that is trying to earn their keep.

I know, it’s sad to see the old ideal of what I library should be go, but I’d say that changing to stay relevant is much more important. Perhaps those wishing for a traditional library could form their own private library that emulates the days gone by.  For now, I think it would be wise for the library to either prove to the public that they need additional funding for the services they provide and prepare for continued cuts if they cannot maintain relevancy.

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