Public Library Board may get some help from Chesterton High School students
this year in envisioning what a library will look like ten to twenty years
The board over the
last few months has discussed the prospect of doing a community survey to
plan ways to deliver services in the future, taking into account advances in
At Thursday’s Board
meeting, Gerald Pannekoek spoke to the board about the Future of Chesterton
Foundation which he helped launch nearly a decade ago with Eric Kroeger for
economic students, to impede the “brain drain” in the Duneland area. He said
it was possible the survey could become a project for the Foundation in the
next school year.
works each year with the high school to do projects for businesses in the
community and sometimes Chesterton Town Government. The classes, made up of
mostly juniors and seniors, compete with each other on the projects. In
eight to ten weeks, they conduct research, speak with similar organizations
elsewhere to learn what they have done and make suggestions from the
information they collect.
“Our interest is we
want to create value for all stakeholders in this and particularly the
youth. You’ll be surprised with the results they come up with,” Pannekoek
Past projects have
included writing ordinances for the Town of Chesterton and hiring a Town
Manager, Pannekoek said. The Foundation, which is administrated through the
Porter County Community Foundation, provides $500 scholarships to students
who become leaders in the classes and opportunities for internships.
If the Library
survey is selected as a project, the students would design the plan based on
the problem or question the Library is facing, Pannekoek said. The time to
submit the query would be by April, he said, so the Foundation can
coordinate the class with the high school.
Michelle Corazzo, who suggested last month the board look into the
possibility of working with the Foundation, said the board is still deciding
what specific question it wants to address, since the focus is the future.
Terry Hiestand said it’s a question of what needs the library will have
decades into the future rather than now.
“What we are trying
to wrestle with is design of a delivery vehicle that will be able to provide
information 20 years from now that we don’t even know exists. The challenge
is to see the information but how is that going to make demands on our
facilities,” Hiestand said, adding that the Westchester Public Library
System has been able to keep up with new technology.
“I’ve been here for
45 years and the changes are just remarkable. (WPL) has been at the
forefront but you keep having to reinvent yourself because the information
technology changes so fast,” Hiestand said.
asking about technology can be incorporated into the assignment. He said
school-age students are probably the best group to envision where technology
and communication are heading since they use it the most in their everyday
Michael Livovich said the board should have more conversation on this to get
something in place by April. He, Corazzo, Board President Kathryn Cochran
and WPL Director Leea Yelich will form a committee to work on the matter.
Yelich said she
thinks the students will enjoy being involved in the project. “When they are
adults, they might come here and say, ‘I helped create this.’ I think that
would be really interesting.”
Cochran said she
sees this being “a great synergy” between the schools and the library.
Board member Rondi
Wightman asked Pannekoek if homeschooled students would have the chance to
work on this project since many of them use the Library. Pannekoek said he
thinks it is something that can be arranged.
Meeting Room policy
In other business
Thursday, the board voted unanimously on approving revisions to the
Library’s meeting room policy.
Groups wishing to
meet during hours that libraries are not open must pay for a library staff
member to open and close the building and supervise the meeting. Keys will
no longer be checked out for meeting rooms, according to the policy.
The board approved
changes to the salary schedule. Pages and cleaners will be paid the same
structure, starting at $9.31 per hour and $9.50 after six months. Pay for
pages and cleaners will be capped at $12.50 per hour.
Also, the board
adopted an internal control policy for Library employees. The State has
recently mandated that government implement these policies for management
and accountability and each employee handling public tax money must receive
In her Librarian’s
Report, Yelich said that Jessica Deiotte has accepted the position of being
the WPL’s full-time graphics and public relations manager.
The Indiana State
Park Pass checkout program will be continued this year, Yelich said. One
pass for Thomas Library was received in the mail and Yelich said she plans
to purchase one for the Hageman branch. The pass allows free admission to
any state park in Indiana.
The theme for this
year’s six-week Summer Reading Program will be “Camp WPL,” which starts June
Yelich also said
reupholstery is currently underway for chairs looking “tired” and the
maintenance department is in the process of cleaning up the chair frames.