PCPL to replace material delivery vehicle

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Putnam County Public Library Board of Trustees voted to approve the purchase of a vehicle to replace the recently decommissioned Bookmobile.

The resolution was approved unanimously at Wednesday's board meeting to purchase a 2015 Chevrolet City Express LS from York Automotive in the amount of $22,140.25.

Library Director Grier Carson said with the approval of the resolution, a loan can be pursued to finance the vehicle. He expects the vehicle to be on the road within a couple weeks, pending loan approval and receipt of paperwork for the vehicle.

Carson noted Jill Hawk, who will serve as the delivery driver, had a chance to look at the vehicle and is happy she will be able to drive the vehicle much more easily.

"There will be a schedule of stops, so places where we bring materials on a regular basis. Maybe they want a bag of large print items or specific titles they want to check out," Carson explained. "The only real difference is that there is no large bus they can get on and browse whatever we stick on it for the week."

Carson said the new vehicle is much smaller than the former Bookmobile, it is safer, more agile and will be much more cost efficient. The change in service is expected to focus on patrons visiting the library's website to browse and designate titles for delivery or call the library to request titles.

Those who are interested in having materials delivered can do so online through www.pcpl21.org or by calling the library at 653-2755.

This delivery vehicle is replacing the Bookmobile services that ran through the county for decades. The bus was decommissioned in March, based on the cost to keep the bus going and efficiency of the program.

The library board had initially planned for the delivery program to see a short hiatus, but Hawk was insistent on maintaining the delivery schedule to the point she began doing so in her personal vehicle.

More details about how to advertise the new delivery system and how the former Bookmobile will be disposed of will be of the charges put on a newly forming Library Improvement Committee.

The board voted Wednesday night to approve a resolution creating the new committee, which will consist of library board members, library staff members and people from the community.

Those interested in being a part of the committee should contact the library and provide name, contact information and where they live. Carson said he will also be contacting organizations throughout the county to see if they have anyone interested in being on the committee in order to represent the county as a whole.

"We hope to get a good demographic," board president Nancy Zennie stressed.

Carson said 2014 was a transformative year for the library with the many projects and changes in the library. Those changes combined with the issues the library faced after the transition from the Bookmobile were the driving force for starting an improvement committee that will allow feedback from several bodies involved in library use.

"I've got ideas, Mike (Acsbok) has got ideas and Nancy (Zennie) has got ideas about what we should do next, and maybe they are right, but maybe they're not. Maybe we should look at some other things," Carson stressed.

"The only way we can get that (feedback) is to invite people in formally to have an ongoing conversation."

The library hopes to start calling interested parties in late May to create the committee with the first meeting to be hosted in June. Carson said once the committee is formed, they would probably meet every couple of months as to not be a heavy obligation.

"The key to this is -- as we've said -- we did a lot of expensive, transformative work in 2014, and 2015 is a time to take a step back, decide where we want to go and plan," Carson said.

Technology Integrator Mike Acsbok said the technology classes and help desk continue to receive positive feedback. He has hosted eight technology classes so far, and each has had several people sign up, some to the point he is hosting a second round of the classes.

The eight technology classes include basic computer skills, a focus on utilizing the Internet and using productivity tools such as word processing and spreadsheets.

Acsbok noted the programs are feeding into the help desk and vice versa. For example, if someone has a specific question or needs more information, he requests they visit the library during the help desk hours. Also, people will come to the help desk with questions and he will inform the patron that he will soon be hosting a class focusing on that topic.

He plans the classes about a month in advance, which can be viewed online at www.pcpl21.org or by calling the library to sign up.

Tech Help Desk hours are Monday from 2 to 4 p.m., Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday from 10 am. to 1 p.m. and Friday from 2 to 4 p.m.

In other business, Carson informed the board:

* The library now has permission slips to allow people to utilize another patron's card to check out materials.

* The library will begin getting out the bicycles to be checked out in May.

* Laura Tremble will be staying on the library staff as part-time.

* The after hours teen program has continued to thrive, especially on Saturdays.

* The Kiwanis Club has contacted the library about being their active repository for storing information.

* A discussion has been started about the library's "quiet time". He is looking for patron feedback about when would be the best time.

The home school students who utilize the library have requested an extended quiet time, but Carson is concerned this will conflict with the library's goals of bringing in local youth after school, encouraging interaction and leaving behind the traditional library scene of constant quiet. The board agreed there should be more discussion.

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  • That is a wonderful testimony of commitment and service for Ms. Hawk to use her personal vehicle to maintain delivery during the interim period. I have never used the bookmobile service, but I applaud Ms. Hawk's dedication. :)

    -- Posted by Lindy62 on Thu, Apr 23, 2015, at 6:40 AM
  • "The only real difference is that there is no large bus they can get on and browse whatever we stick on it for the week."

    Really? This is the only difference?

    The bookmobile held 4,000 items--books, DVDs, magazines, etc. These were selected by Jane Glier who was the bookmobile librarian. Over the years she learned who the patrons were and what they liked to read. The bookmobile collection also included bestsellers, award-winners in both children's and adult books, and a variety in all genres.

    Jane took requests for specific items that patrons wanted to read. She also put together collections of materials for use in the classroom, based on the curriculum described by the teacher.

    It was not a matter to simply "...browse whatever we stick on it for the week." Stocking the bookmobile was a well thought out, professional process to provide materials for patrons, schools, preschools, nursing homes,and communities throughout the county.

    Children, students, parents, adults, and teachers could also physically browse the collection. This will no longer be an option.

    Some people do not have a computer or access to the Internet. How do you know what your choices are if there is no way to browse a collection of books either physically or online?

    Certainly a new van will be easier to drive, particularly in inclement weather, and more cost efficient to maintain.

    But, please do not compare efficiency of delivery to quality of choice. Especially for those who have no way to even make a choice.

    -- Posted by mrp55 on Thu, Apr 23, 2015, at 1:32 PM
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