Libraries are more than books and banks of computers
Librarians know the value of our community services, and library patrons appreciate their importance as well. But in an increasingly digital world, the role of libraries as community and cultural centers at times seem undervalued, and occasionally under fire. When shrinking municipal budgets combine with the nonstop technological revolution, public library services that focus on building community face-to-face, inspiring and educating patrons about art, literature, and music, and helping patrons engage in civil discourse can seem quaint. But it is precisely those shrinking budgets and the onslaught of technologically mediated life that make public libraries’ cultural and community offerings more important than ever.
“We’re not just about books. Service to the community has always been the focus of the library,” says Librarian Linda Roiger. Libraries are many things to many people. They work with elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large to discover and address the needs of their communities. Whether through offering e-books and technology classes, programs for job seekers or offering a safe haven in times of crisis, libraries and librarians listen to the community they serve, and they respond.
Libraries aren’t only a place of quiet study, but are creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate, attend fun and educational programs, or just relax. The library offers access to a variety of print and digital resources, including online homework help, e-books, databases that can be accessed in person or online.
Young mothers connect at children’s story times; elderly people come to read newspapers and magazines, to borrow books and attend events; teenagers meet up in libraries after school; and readers discuss current events in the periodicals room. In libraries, community-building connections are happening all the time.
Springfield Public Library has 29,578 items in its collection — excluding downloadable books / magazines which are owned and shared throughout the region. The collection includes Fiction and Non-Fiction Books for adults, juniors, and young adults; picture book, DVD/VHS, and music.
A world of information is at your fingertips from the Traverse des Sioux Library System. Springfield Public Library is part of the Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative (TdS), one of 12 regional public library systems created in 1975 by the Minnesota State Legislature to provide support services to public libraries. TdS provides services to 38 public libraries and branches. The Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative promotes cooperation,
provides support services, and coordinates shared access
to needed resources, programs, and technologies for member libraries. “Part of our local book budget goes to TdS,” said Roiger.
“The amount of books in and out of the library is remarkable,” said Bartz. “They can be ordered from the entire United States.” Library patrons can search for books, periodicals, DVDs, videos, CDs and much more from any workstation in the local library or from their own computer anywhere with an Internet connection.
A total of 37,070 people visited the Springfield Public Library during 2015.
Library Board members are Dotty deLambert, president; Dan Meyer, vice-president and CD manager; Teresa Lang, secretary; Mary Glaeseman, treasurer; and trustees Shawna Jacobs, Rita O’Callaghan, Jeanette Pidde, Mike Wellner, Doug Wenisch, and Council Representative Theresa Beckman.
Library staff members are Linda Roiger, who is head librarian, and assistants who work part-time are Rebecca Bartz, Sharon Trapp, Jerrine Kettner and Sandy Honl. Sara Haugo, Springfield High School senior, is a volunteer who is participating in work-based learning at the library, and is a summer volunteer.
The City of Springfield budgeted $145,669 for the library in 2015, and library expenses were $139,632.
Several improvement projects were completed at the library during the past year. In February the Traverse des Sioux Consortium migrated over to a new software system. The roof project was completed in April. New railings were installed at the front entrance in October. The Altermatt Gallery was redecorated in December with a gift from the family of Trig and Doris Helleloid in their memory. A new telephone system was installed in March. A defibrillator was recently gifted to the library by John Watson Post 257 American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, and Monsanto. Changing tables were also installed in the restrooms. For the complete story see this week's Springfield Advance-Press.