by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
The Litchfield Public Library will be closed for inventory for three days at the beginning of November: November 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. It has been about ten years since our last inventory, and it desperately needs to be done. We have to close because no items can be checked in or out while the records are being updated. All the same, we know it will be very inconvenient to our customers for us to be closed.
I hope that you’ll be able to plan ahead for the things you’ll need on those days. We’ll be open on Monday, October 31st, and again on Friday, November 4th. The meetings scheduled for the large meeting room will still take place Tuesday through Thursday, because we can close the lobby gates and make just the meeting room accessible to the public. The rest of the library will be unavailable, including our computers. Wednesday morning’s toddler story time and Thursday evening’s family story time will be cancelled for November 2nd and 3rd, but we will have preschool story hour on Friday morning, November 4th.
You will still be able to return your books and other items in our outside book drop. When we open on Friday the 4th, the things that have been returned during the days we're closed will be checked in as though they were returned on Monday the 31st. This will actually give you a few extra days on your items that week. In fact, I plan to be liberal with due dates and movie check-out limits a few days ahead of inventory; the more that we have checked out and the fewer returns that are waiting in stacks for us to return to normal business that Friday, the better.
Other Pioneerland libraries will be open while we’re closed, so you could use the Grove City, Dassel, or Hutchinson libraries that week. If you plan to check out movies at those other libraries, return your Litchfield movies to them so that you don't go over your 6-movie limit. And of course, you can also use our e-books and downloadable audiobooks while our building is closed.
The library stayed open, obviously, and ran smoothly while I was away at the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) conference from October 12th to 14th. This was the first time I’ve attended this conference, and it was wonderful. Librarians from public, academic, and special libraries throughout the state came together in Duluth for professional development. I attended sessions on summer reading programs, teaching computer skills to older adults, e-books, customer-focused library design, MLA’s leadership development program, and great new books to recommend to patrons. I learned so much.
One keynote speaker spoke about the influence that children’s books have on people’s lives. Another talked about gaming at the library, which has inspired me to consider a series of gaming nights here; I also happened to get a request for such a thing from a patron the same week. Our closing keynote speaker was William Kent Krueger, one of our best Minnesota authors. In the midst of all of this, I got a bit of an orientation to the MLA organization, attended a meeting of rural librarians, met some Minnesota mystery authors, and listened to some potential Legacy performers. One of the best things about attending the conference was the opportunity to talk with librarians from all over the state and find out how they’re handling some of the same issues we face. When we share ideas, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to improve our services.
Because of the high level of unemployment in Meeker County, and because of their efforts in applying, one library staff member from Grove City and one from Dassel won scholarships to MLA from Project Compass. They both attended workshops on meeting the needs of our communities during this economic downturn, helping job seekers, and supporting small business development. They’ll be sharing this training with the rest of the library staff in Meeker County and probably with all of Pioneerland Library System. I’m hopeful that this will be beneficial to all of our communities.