By Beth Cronk, head librarian
We’ve had a few small changes at the library recently that I’d like to share with you. The first is temporary, but it will be obvious: we’ve got road construction. Marshall Avenue in front of the library is being blocked off as I write. Most likely it will be a beautiful stretch of street again by mid-summer, and in the meantime you can reach the library by Third Street and get into our parking lot. It’s Minnesota; road construction doesn’t surprise us.
Another change is online. We have a new blog. You can find it at http://litchlibrary.blogspot.com. When you go there, you’ll see a beautiful photo of the library that we’re using through a Creative Commons license. You’ll see a list of our hours. And you’ll find the library columns that we publish in the newspaper. If you ever read one that you want to share, there are built-in options to email an article, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or choose another option to share our blog posts with others.
In the bar on the right side of our blog, you’ll find links to the Pioneerland library catalog, to our Litchfield Public Library Facebook page and Twitter account, and to MnKnows, the Minnesota digital library I mentioned in my last article. I hope that having these links handy on the top of our blog will make it a one-stop shop you can go to for library information, the way our former website was. Below those links, you can participate in an American Library Association/public radio survey on your use of the library, subscribe to our blog posts, search the site, and find basic information about the library: our address, phone number and email address. It will all need some tweaking to improve the layout, but Google makes it so easy to create a blog that we were up and running within an hour.
If you go to our former address, http://litch.com/library, you’ll be re-directed to http://litch.com/living-in-litchfield/library. This is our Chamber of Commerce page, where you can still find our contact information and a link to the Pioneerland catalog. Whether you go from the Chamber’s page or our Litchlibrary blog, you can get to the catalog to search or to sign into your account.
Here’s another small change, this one a physical change inside the library: we’re in the process of separating our DVDs from our VHS tapes and our CDs from our cassettes. The largest sections, the movies and audio books on the adult side, are done. The rest will shift as we have time. We’re preparing for an inventory later this year which will require the formats to be separated. I think it’s a positive change that I plan to keep permanently. We’ve had requests in the past to separate the audio books this way so that patrons can look for just the format they can use. I hope that this will help you if you only have a DVD player or a VCR and not the other, so that you can browse the format you’re using.
We’ve also started adding “new” stickers to the newest movies and audio books on the adult side so that you can spot new releases, or at least new additions to our collection. I’ve added some classics, and we’ve gotten many wonderful donations recently, so some of those will be tagged as new items, as well.
One last change that I hope you’ll enjoy is the addition of a few popular music CDs to our mostly-classical CD collection. I’ve started working from lists of core music collections for small public libraries, adding just one a month. You’ll find two significant Beatles albums on our shelf now – without the CDs themselves, which are stored behind the desk like DVDs. Recently someone donated a Jonas Brothers CD, so that’s been added for a little bit of recent music.
I would be thrilled to accept donations of music CDs that you no longer want. We can’t accept cassettes or vinyl records, and we can never promise to add donations to our collection until we’ve had a chance to review them. But I would love to grow our music collection faster than our budget will allow, and your music donations could be great assets to the library. Please keep in mind that if you’ve copied a CD onto your MP3 player, you should keep the original instead of giving it to us. Copyright law forbids copying music that belongs to someone else, and if the library owns the CD, it’s illegal to make a copy of it for yourself. But if you don’t listen to it anymore or you’ve gone to all iTunes, all the time, we’ll be glad to receive it.
With a new manager, there are always some changes, and other changes are driven by outside forces. My goal is to keep our library running as smoothly as ever and to adjust things to serve the public better whenever I can find a way. I hope the small tweaks in how we’re doing things will help you find what you’re looking for at the library.