Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our "Patrons"

Here at the Pacific Grove Public Library, the staff refers to the people who use the Library as our "patrons." It's an old-fashioned word. Many libraries have replaced it with customer, member, visitor or some other synonym. But "patron" still works best for PGPL.

Why? Because it captures the spirit of support that exists between the Library and its visitors. The Library supports the community - with its collection of books, magazines, music, and DVDs; storytime programs; lectures; assistance in finding information; public access computers; a quiet place to study.

And the community supports the Library. Many of our visitors offer something in return. Some make donations - of money, gently used books, services-in-kind. Others volunteer; they come in every week and do whatever is needed. Several speak up at City Council meetings. A few present programs. A handful mastermind terrific fundraising events. Students from our local schools do community service at the Library.

That's what patrons do. They "support with money, efforts, or endorsements." They "sponsor social functions." They "use their wealth or influence to help an institution or a cause."

This reciprocal relationship of support benefits everyone. It builds and sustains community. It enhances the quality of our lives. It offers us all the opportunity to give back or "pay it forward." It helps make a city - a home town.

For 101 years, PGPL had been serving its "patrons." Let's keep it going for another century or two.....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Advisory Board Chair Resigns

Susan Steele has resigned from the Library Advisory Board, effective June 1, 2009.

It is a great loss for the Library. As Chair of the Advisory Board, Ms. Steele has been consistently proactive in her efforts to get the Library back on firm footing. She has worked collaboratively with the Senior Librarian, the President of the Friends of the Library, and her colleauges on the Advisory Board. She orchestrated hiring an independent consulting firm to study the Library and submit a strategic plan. And she has attended a multitude of meetings: with the City Manager, the Director of Management and Budget, the State Librarian, and a tax initiative consultant, as well as monthly Board meetings and City Council meetings.

As noted in her resignation letter:
"I have attempted during my tenure as Chair of the Board to bring to the City Council our best advice regarding the Pacific Grove Library, including a strategic plan for the Library's future. As fas as I can determine, the City Council has either ignored our advice or dismissed it out of hand."

We are grateful for Susan's dedication to the Library's well-being. We intend to build upon the plan she was instrumental in obtaining. And we look forward to seeing Susan in the Library.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last Call - Dionne Quintuplets Exhibit

This exhibit has elicited more comments, reference questions and interlibrary loans than any other exhibit. So if you haven't seen it, come in now before it leaves on Tuesday, June 2nd.

On May 28, 1934, five identical girls were born in rural Ontario, Canada. Worldwide frenzy ensued. The Ontario government took custody of the girls, who became known as the Dionne Quins or Quints. They spent their first nine years at Quintland, behind a one-way screen, and tourists came from around the world to watch. This exhibit showcases some of the Depression-era memorabilia that was incredibly popular at the time. It was collected by local artist Snick Farkas.

FYI, Annette and Cecile are the only quints alive today. Happy Birthday Annette! Happy Birthday Cecile!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Council Approves Budget Cuts

Last Wednesday evening, the City Council approved the Recommended Budget for FY 2009/2010. What did they approve for the Library?
  • Hours cut to 20-24 hours per week.
  • Days open per week cut to 4.
  • One full-time position cut.
  • Part-time Librarian position cut.
  • Part-time Staffing cut.
  • 1-2 Storytime programs per week cut.
  • Book budget cut.
  • Magazine subscriptions cut.
  • Databases cut.
  • Supply budget cut.
  • Overdue fines increased.
  • ILL fee increased.

This is the best case scenario... The worst case scenario is to simply close the Library, if the State "borrows" money from cities (as anticipated).

If you're unhappy about the proposed cuts, NOW is the time to speak up. Write, email, (or forward this blog post with your comments attached), to individual City Council members. And/or attend the next City Council meeting on June 3rd. After that, it will be fait accompli.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Fantastic." "Wonderful." "Inspiring."

Last night more than seventy people gathered in the Library to listen to Michael Katakis read excerpts from his recent book, Traveller: Observations from an American in Exile.

Katakis surprised us by beginning his talk with a heart-felt tribute to a librarian and libraries. "It is an honor to be here in this library," he began. "I consider libraries hallowed ground." He continued, "If you lose your library, I believe you lose your town. This is a lovely town. I hope you don't lose it."

Katakis' reading highlighted his visits to Istanbul, Sierra Leone, Paris, China, and the United States. He then answered questions about writing, photography, and being a traveller. "A traveller is one who travels alone or with one other person...and who always allows serendipity in."

Mr. Katakis graciously let us into his life and travels. And the response was unanimous.
"Fantastic," "Splendid," "Fascinating," "Inspiring" were the parting words of attendees.

It was a wonderful evening in the Library. And it was made possible by the wonderful Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Sign for the Times

Sign in the Pacific Grove Public Library.

Quote attributed to Anne Herbert,
The Whole Earth Catalog, 1980.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Library Surveys - Let Us Know What You Think

Due to proposed budget cuts, the Library will be reducing hours and services beginning July 2009. To help us plan for the future, the Library is currently conducting two surveys. We would greatly appreciate your input on the following two issues:

1) Library Hours. Hours will be reduced from 31 hours to 20 or 24 hours per week. Currently the Library is open Tuesday through Saturday. If hours are reduced, the Library will be open only four days a week. When do you use the Library? When would you like to use the Library?

2) Interlibrary Loan (ILL). This service allows our cardholders to borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that we do not own, from other libraries. Currently, for a $1 fee, a cardholder may request an item at the Reference Desk. Our staff identifes owners of the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the cardholder, and arranges for its return. Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, we have also made ILL requests for audio recordings, sheet music, and microforms.

Survey forms may be picked up at the Library. Or go to our website and download the Surveys. Or just click here: InterLibrary Loan SurveyLibrary Hours Survey. (Please note: Surveys must be printed, filled out, and returned to the Library. At this time, they cannot be completed online.)

Thank you for helping us plan for the future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Library Budget Cut - Again

Pacific Grove's Recommended Budget for FY 2009-2010 has been released. For the third consecutive year, the Library's budget has been substantially reduced.

As summarized on page 89 of the Recommended Budget:
  • FY 2006/07 $1,080,361
  • FY 2007/08 $ 994,976 (Staffing: FTE 15.25)
  • FY 2008/09 $ 696,810 (Staffing: FTE 7.50)
  • FY 2009/10 $ 610,389 (Staffing: FTE 6.50)

Reductions in Library services, caused by these cuts, will include:

  • Operating hours reduced from 31 hours to 20-24 hours per week. (A 22-35 percent reduction.)
  • Library open only four days per week.
  • Elimination of one full-time position.
  • Reduction in part-time staffing, including the elimination of the recently approved Librarian I position.
  • Increased fines for overdue books.
  • Increased fees for Interlibrary Loan.
  • Elimination of one or two storytimes per week.
  • Reduced coverage at the Children's and Adult Reference Desks.
  • Reduced funds for books, magazines, DVDs and CDs. (The Friends of the Library donation will be used for operating costs rather than for new books and materials.)
  • Fewer online databases. (The online World Book Encyclopedia, Oxford English Dictionary, and Litfinder database have already been cut for next year.)
  • Inability to implement objectives outlined in the Library Services Study, (commonly referred to as "The Strategic Plan").

On Wednesday, May 20th, the City Council will hold a public hearing, as well as introduce and hold a first reading of an ordinance to approve the recommended budget for FY 2009/10. This is an opportunity to share your comments, requests, needs, ideas, and insight with your elected representatives. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. We encourage you to be there to support YOUR Library.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Meet the Author: Michael Katakis

Michael Katakis, acclaimed photographer, author, and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, will be speaking at the Pacific Grove Public Library Thursday, May 21st, at 7 p.m.

It promises to be a fascinating evening, as Mr. Katakis shares excerpts from his most recent publication: Traveller: Observations from an American in Exile.

For more than thirty years, Katakis has been traveling around the world, writing about and photographing a wide range of countries and cultures. As a photographer he is noted as one "who gets right to the soul of his subjects." And as an author, "in both his letters and in his journal, Michael has the infectious ability to sense the essence of a place and transmit it to the reader." The entries in Traveller are much more than travel guides. "They are personal, like letters from the most desirable sort of friend. "

Please join us for the third lecture of our Meet the Author series, sponsored by the Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library. Mr. Katakis will read excerpts from Traveller, answer questions, and sign books. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Informing, Educating, and Enriching the Community Since 1886"

Go to the City's website, click on Library, and this is what you read: "Informing, Educating, and Enriching the Community Since 1886."

The City and the Library share an amazing legacy. For 123 years, the citizens of Pacific Grove have had a commitment to enrich the community through its Library.

This commitment remains strong. Recent surveys and elections have confirmed that the public is in favor of dedicating funding to operate the Library.

In response, the Library's Advisory Board, Staff, and Friends have demonstrated their dedication to Pacific Grove through maintaining programs and services, investing in strategic planning, and sponsoring special events.

A 123 year commitment is something to be honored. Together we can get through these challenging times. With your continued support, the Library will continue to inform, educate, and enrich the Community. Because that's what libraries do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A New Face at the Reference Desk

There's someone new sitting behind the Reference Desk. Her name is Ashlee Wright, and she is ready, willing and able to assist you.

Although Ashlee is a new to the Reference Department, she is not new to PGPL. She began working here two years ago, first as a Shelver, and then as a Library Assistant. She recently received her Masters Degree in Library & Information Science from the University of Washington.

Ashlee is filling the position approved in February, by the City Council. This position will allow us to staff the Reference Desk whenever the library is open, as well as increase staffing in the Children’s Department on Saturdays.

We're delighted to welcome Ashlee to the Reference staff. Please stop by and introduce yourself. And if you have any reference questions, be sure to ask!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Read-a-thon Raises $13,000!

Everyone who entered the Library on May 2nd noticed something magical was happening. Children were nestled in chairs, sprawled on the floor, leaning against book shelves, quietly and intently reading.

It was the 2nd Annual Read-a-thon. From noon until midnight, kids read books of their own choosing to raise money for children's books and programs.

Over 140 children signed up to take turns reading in the 14 chairs that were sponsored by local businesses, families and friends. And every minute a chair was occupied, they earned a dollar for the Library.

One child read 11 hours. A few young girls read 600 minutes each. And several readers logged in over 300 minutes before the gong sounded at midnight.

In only two years, the Read-a-thon has established itself as the event at the Library. It's enormously popular, by readers of all ages, and exemplifies what we can do when we all work together.

The Read-a-thon was conceived and orchestrated by Linda Bailey and her daughter, Mei. Pledges were made by more than 100 individuals and businesses. Additional donations were received throughout the day from PG patrons. Local teachers and performers stopped by to tell stories, sing songs, and dazzle the children with decorative face-painting. And Library Staff kept readers fueled with books, more books, snacks, and water.

It was definitely a night to remember. And some children are already asking, "When can we do it again?"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Library Blog Resumes

It has been almost a year since the last post in the Library's Blog . The lack of activity has not been due to a lack of noteworthy news and events. It was a direct result of the reduction in Library hours and staffing that began last July.

It has been a challenging year. Even though we've been open fewer hours, the Library has welcomed as many visitors as the previous year. Almost as many books have been checked out. And more questions have been asked at our public service desks.

As noted repeatedly in national news, during an economic downturn, people turn to their local libraries. They come for information, a recommended book, DVDs, storytime.... They come to write a resume, to read the latest issue of their favorite magazine, to logon to the Internet. Sometimes they come to meet a friend, or to study in quiet surroundings. Othertimes they come because it's a safe place with a friendly helpful staff. They come because they can find what they want, and get what they need. Whether we open at 10 am or noon, people are lined up outside, every day, waiting to get into the Library. It's happening on the East Coast. It's happening in the Midwest. It's happening in Pacific Grove.

Business is booming at the Library. But for the third consecutive year, the Library is facing major budget cuts.

Iimportant decisions will be made during the next few weeks that affect every library patron. We thought you would like to know since it is YOUR Library. And so the Library Blog resumes......