This past Monday was the three-month anniversary of my first day at East Central Regional Library. The last three months have been good ones and how quickly they have flown by!
One of my initial goals was to go to a meeting of the the County Board of Commissioners in each of our six counties. Of course, at the outset, this was a pretty daunting undertaking, but I've enjoyed it, and it's gone well. As of today, I've got five down and one to go. I'll be traveling to Aitkin County on January 8th for the sixth county board visit.
This morning I visited Isanti County and this afternoon I was in Pine County. Two questions have come up (in various forms) repeatedly. Both of them are excellent questions, and I've pondered both of them for a long time. I wish I had a crystal ball. The questions as they were asked today are: (1)How do I see library services changing? and (2)Do I see library funding requests continuing with percentages of increase in double digits?
My initial response is that in my experience, our customers want all the services they traditionally have received and more. They especially want information access anywhere at any time delivered through technology. And they expect library staff members to be expert information guides for any and all formats.
As we review the ECRL strategic plan, I will be seeking help in answering these questions. The answer to #1 will drive #2. What do our customers expect of us? What needs in our communities do libraries answer?
Thanks to ECRL Board Members for accompanying me to meetings today -- Ron Drude this morning in Isanti County and Bayliss and wife Margery Swanson this afternoon in Pine County.
The Swansons took the opportunity to visit the Sandstone Library while they were in town for the Board meeting. Left to right: Margery, Sandstone Librarian Jeanne Coffey, and Bayliss.
Barbara Misselt, ECRL Director