A recurring theme
in the Westchester Public Library Board’s extended discussion Thursday was
how to attract age groups that don’t typically use WPL’s facilities and
concern are young adults who more readily click Google for information than
Teacher and Library
Board member Mike Livovich suggested cooperative efforts with teachers, such
as providing a link to WPL resources for a homework assignment, since many
teachers now have their own school websites.
Kathryn Cochran said WPL could expand its programming to offer ones on
producing multi-media, short films, or how to make bound journals, and with
the popularity of gardening try seed banking or even a tool-sharing project.
“It’s one thing to know things but another to do things with what you know.”
She said partners
in the community could be asked to help present the classes, and WPL could
prepare bibliographies for individualized interests like home improvement.
Phil Baugher said live programming is not always as successful as it used to
be. Circulation also was concerning at a 14 percent drop for April and 8.8
The discussion came
about by doing a SWOT exercise to review the library’s strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Outreach to youth was seen as both a
current weakness and an opportunity.
Wightman suggested live performance opportunities for youth poetry and
acoustic music, and reaching out to senior citizens through
already-organized clubs and groups to promote homebound services WPL now
suggested by president Michele Corazzo were expanding books on wheels to
smaller Duneland towns, and free books to ER rooms, the State Park
campgrounds, and nursing homes.
A coffee lounge
area for laptops in Thomas Library also might be welcome, said Corazzo, but
Baugher said such amenities haven’t always worked well in other libraries.
He emphasized that
no matter what new program or initiative WPL undertakes, it must be weighed
against loss of space for an existing use or program and how it will impact
the bottom line. State tax caps cut $120,173 from the library’s 2014 budget.
WPL’s public computer classes are popular so he’s currently trying to find
space for a permanent room where the equipment can be left ready for use,
but space is at a premium.
Board member Nick
Tilden said a clear threat to WPL is loss of valued personnel, especially
Baugher’s planned retirement in late 2015. Cochran said mapping a long-range
plan now is even more important to give guidance to the new director.
At WPL attorney
Terry Hiestand’s suggestion, the library will survey patrons and non-patrons
asking how their lives have been improved by using library resources and
what new resources they’d like to see available. It may be that patrons want
WPL to be more of a technology hub, Hiestand speculated.
Baugher said the
staff has been given great ideas to explore to incorporate with its own so
WPL can continue to be a strong library that meets the needs of pre-schoolers
In other business,
the board voted 5-0 with members Drew Rhed and Abbe Trent absent to expand
the position of the assistant IT manager from part-time to full-time with a
starting salary of approximately $25,000. Baugher said future needs will
require more technical assistance for library staff and patrons.
May 24 at 2 p.m.
the WPL-operated Westchester Township History Museum will reopen after a
renovation of its public exhibit space at the Brown Mansion. State and local
officials will be invited to view the improvements and see the library’s
commitment to preserving local history.
proofs of WPL’s new library cards have been approved with a patron signature
line on the back, and cameras for the circulation workstations will be
installed soon. May 15 staff will begin taking patron photos to speed
circulation although patrons may opt out. Library cards will be replaced as
the current card expires.
was new WPL children’s librarian Heather Chaddock. Baugher said she’s busy
organizing the summer reading programs.
copies of the book Here’s Your Indiana Government and said he was
disappointed to find only one line of text about libraries in the volume.