What do regional libraries do? What kinds of libraries should they serve? How can we define their role and justify state funding for an institution that some librarians publicly say has outlived its usefulness? These are questions that a group of us struggled with last week as we wrote talking points to accompany the multitype library regions’ request for funding for the 2007 Minnesota Legislature. Writing talking points is particularly painful in a group that belabors the twist of every word and makes liberal use of a thesaurus to wordsmith the document. While I highly respect my colleagues and value their friendship — personally, after I have participated in the annual-writing-of-the-talking-points, I never look at them again. When I talk to local elected representatives, I talk about what I and our region accomplish with libraries to serve citizens.
As I think about what I did this week, I feel pretty good about what a region that is positioned to provide service to all types of libraries can accomplish. Here’s a week in the life of a multitype librarian:
A week ago today — I was at the media centers’ annual state conference, experiencing and planning with my colleagues in schools how we can bring back what we learned to improve student literacy.
Monday — I trained members of our regional staff how to use the State Library sponsored Minnesota Library Directory and keep it updated, so that everyone in the state has a directory to all libraries.
Tuesday – along with our cataloging librarians, I spent several hours at a small college, planning for their integration into the regional library network. Inclusion in the regional catalog will give their students greater access as well as giving the rest of the region (and the statewide network) access to the college’s unique collection.
Wednesday — My Director and I met with an enthusiastic library planning committee, which is working to start a new public library in their community.
Thursday – I assisted 3 public libraries in starting library blogs. Then I met with the representative committee that advises development and use of the integrated library system for over 80 libraries of all types.
Today/Friday – A public librarian and I met with the director of the historical society in her town, inviting them to join the library network, which will extend the environment for potential cooperation and collaboration.
Wow! It’s been a good week of service for our region – and (I hope) one well worthy of continued funding.