Library director proposes community involved committee

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Putnam County Public Library Director Grier Carson proposed creating a library committee that will invite input from the community during the board of directors meeting Wednesday night.

Carson suggested the Library Board of Directors consider the creation of a committee consisting of board members, library staff and members of the community to help promote programs within the library, such as the Imagination Portal.

The idea for the committee stems from the creation of the Imagination Portal, which restructured the children's library and added interactive programs such as video gaming devices.

Carson said as the library moves forward with renovations and ideas, it is important to involve the people utilizing the services as well.

"I came in here and the library was already committed to the renovation of the children's space, and I inherited the blank check to do the children's space. The next question is, 'What else needs renovated in the library?'" Carson said following the board meeting.

He explained the committee would allow a voice for the public to express their needs from the library, and the input could keep the library from becoming obsolete as many other long-running services have experienced, such as the United States Post Office.

"If you don't get a get a good feel for what the community needs now, and more importantly what they'll need in 15, 20 or 30 years, then you're not going to be around," Carson said. "The model that libraries have used for providing access to content -- it's not as obsolete now as the post office -- but it will be a couple of generations down the road if they don't start putting things in place now to change it. That is the reason I am here at this library. Sometimes it's going to look radical, and sometimes it's going to look drop dead obvious."

Carson said as the committee is created, he hopes the group will continue to meet as the library moves forward and provide ongoing input about the future of the library.

"What I'd like it to be is an ongoing public and internal committee. It's something we would always have running. Even if we are done with one project or we are not sure where we are going next, we are still meeting to talk about ideas," Carson said.

The library director was unsure when the committee would be formed or how it would be managed, but he wanted to bring the idea before the board for their consideration.

In other business, the board voted to approve a resolution for a wage increase in the amount of $1.27 per hour for library staff member Jill Hawk. The staff member will also be working at the library circulation desk.

The board decided to return the "egg chairs" the library had planned to place in the Imagination Portal. Carson said the initial issue was the color of the chairs not matching the interior of the children's library. The chairs were ordered in yellow and blue, but came in white. After contacting the company, he learned the chairs only came in white. In addition, he learned the chairs cause a liability issue because children can easily pinch their fingers between the plastic pieces.

One of the chairs was supposed to be set outside the Imagination Portal, but Carson suggested delaying the tie in of the outdoor space because there could be plans of renovating the area in the future.

The library director asked board members if they would be interested in the Indiana State Library Board conducting a workshop to educate the board members about the policies to be set forth by the board.

Board member Lisa McCoy asked what types of presentations are available for the board, and Carson said he would send the members links to the state library board's suggested content.

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