Chesterton Tribune

Westchester Library rates high on national scale

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Using a new performance index, Westchester Public Library ranks 13 out of all 238 public libraries in Indiana and 406 out of all 7,115 public libraries in the nation.

WPL director Phil Baugher told the Library Board on Thursday that the Library Journal, a primary publication in the profession, developed an index assigning a numerical value for per-capita statistics dealing with circulations, library visits, program attendance and public Internet computer use.

Using that formula Baugher said WPL’s final score ranked it second out of all 48 Hoosier public libraries in the $1 million to $4.9 million expenditure range.

WPL’s total operating expenditures are approximately $1.8 million. Only the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville scored higher in that expenditure category; northwest Indiana public libraries spending less than $5 million were ranked 17th or lower.

Baugher said the index measures not what goes into a library but what services come out of it. “It’s information to be proud of,” said Library Board president Vern Odom of the ranking.

WPL’s own activity statistics through April show visitor count is down but circulation of materials at Thomas is up 11 percent year-to-date; at Hageman, circulation is down by just over 25 percent.

System-wide 126,714 materials have been circulated and 295,714 occasions of service given to individual patrons including free Internet usage, web page visits, reference questions and program attendance.

Coping skills shared

Assistant library director Jane Walsh-Brown updated the board on a series of ongoing programs to help residents weather hard economic times. The series is co-sponsored by WPL, the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce and the Chesterton / Porter Rotary.

Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Library Service Center, How to Sell on e-Bay will be presented and will explore how to list, buy, sell and pay for eBay items.

June 1 a Business Feasibility Workshop will analyze and help determine the practicality of one’s business idea; pre-registration is required. June 25 Home-Based Business Opportunities will be discussed by a panel with experience in direct sales and networking businesses.

All three programs are free and more information can be obtained about any WPL event at 983-9715. Walsh-Brown said a recent Strategies for Re-Employment daylong workshop will be repeated in the fall.

Additional programs, all at 10 a.m., under the banner of Thrifty Times: Sharing Ideas for Saving Money continue with Thrifty Cooking, May 16; Shopping to Save, May 30; Family Fun on a Budget, June 20; Home Repair Basics, July 11; and Basic Car Repairs, July 25.

Walsh-Brown announced Be Creative@Your Library is the theme of the summer children’s reading programs.

Registration begins June 1 and the program extends June 8 through July 16. Each week a craft will be created; every week will have a Thursday Adventure presentation at Thomas in Chesterton, and young-adult games and crafts every Wednesday at Hageman in Porter.

The popular Storytime for children ages 3-6 continues this summer Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at Thomas, and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Hageman. Each week beginning June 9/10 a different theme will be featured.

Young adults Grades 6-9 have six afternoon programs planned at Thomas this summer.

June 17, June 24 and July 8 Gabe Underwood will teach how to make stop-motion films; pre-registration is required at the Reference desk. July 15 he will share how he makes foil creatures, and June 29 and July 27 the YA Cafe will be open to enjoy refreshments, hang with friends, create art and talk about books.

Adults are encouraged to read more this summer as well. Master the Art of Reading between June 15 and July 4 offers them the opportunity to read or listen to a book, then fill out a review card that is an entry to win a prize July 6 in one of three grand prizes at each library.

For more information about any program, check WPL’s website at

 or call the Reference Desk at 926-7696.

Closure policy expanding

Baugher gave the board a draft of an expanded emergency-closings policy to be discussed in detail June 11. He said the current one deals more with weather and heating/cooling problems and doesn’t address a possible chemical spill or health pandemic.

Coordinating with public health and safety agencies now would be addressed, as would in more detail how a WPL closure would affect library service, patrons and employees.

The Library Board accepted with regret the resignation of automation/serials manager Lynne McGowan, who is moving.

Baugher said he’s revising the job description for the post after the first job-search publication netted few applicants.

WPL recently received an $8,000 donation from the Friends of the Library, and a $5,254 refund check from AT&T as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement.

It was announced long-time member Rick Hokanson was re-appointed to the Library Board by the Porter County Council.

The board OK’d buying the $8,000 Simply Reports, a new reporting module for the library’s monthly statistics, and outsourcing WPL’s email services to ENA of Indianapolis at $60 per month to service 29 email accounts.

The latter will provide more protection from viruses and spam, said Baugher.

Board member Claire Jolie asked about having employee payroll direct deposited into their accounts. Baugher said doing so likely would delay payroll because of the additional work involved.


Posted 5/15/2009