Working around chaos is not particularly my favorite thing to do, but there are many days at the library that this is exactly the way we operate. As I struggle at times with the challenges of accomplishing my to-do list, I am reminded that even my computers don’t work properly when we get too many inputs at once. So when I have too much happening, my brain does what a computer does….it malfunctions or shuts down!
I’m reminded of this as we upgrade out staff computers! We try hard to maintain our equipment and maximize the life of the computer systems, but there is a point when they just don’t work together. I’ve added to or upgraded the public computers several times over the last 7 years. Our card catalogs were the last computers running of those on site when I was hired. A few weeks ago I had to contact our library automation supplier, because I couldn’t get the reports I needed for year end to print out properly, and was advised the last update wouldn’t work the same because of changes they had made, and our computers were becoming too obsolete to run the system.
I’ve been proud of the way we are able to maintain our assets, donated by our community members or purchased with tax dollars, or through the foundation or trust. But we had to give up this year, and upgrade. I dislike doing this, as this eats up time and money very quickly. It seems like I just get things working well together and an update pushes us back into a different ideal. But we are grateful for the understanding nature of our users. We all live and groan with technology changes, and we have managed to have very little downtime compared to most library systems, so I am not going to complain too much. But I do feel it is important to advise our public what and why we are doing these things!
As summer draws to an end, we are starting to inventory items in the building. We were saddened to see a number of our new magazines for our teens have disappeared over the summer. We periodically update and upgrade the publications we have available for check-out or for reading while in the building, trying to anticipate our library users. We rarely see problems with items missing, so our young adult librarian was very disturbed this week, as this indicates a type of user we don’t normally have in the library. The saddest part to us is that this indicates we cannot continue purchasing these publications, and if only one person is abusing the library, it hurts many others.
So if you are finding 2013 copies of Teen Vogue or Seventeen magazines with the address label ripped off, please check with us, and help us stop this activity. We don’t really want to cancel the subscriptions, but this isn’t a good use of public funds.
On a much happier note, we are thrilled to see so many coming into the library with their summer reading logs completed, or very close. We still have the Iowa Cubs tickets, which are for the game this Sunday, August 11 in addition to Blank Park Zoo tickets and hope they are claimed by ambitious readers! As everyone has until the end of the week to complete their logs, we encourage everyone participating to continue reading and logging in for final prizes, or to register for the drawings we will hold when the KOOL kids reassemble after school starts. We had 200 children participate with reading logs in Story City this summer in addition to 30 babies and toddlers working on their special programs and 30 teens and tweens challenged our young adult librarian, Denise. Over 150 youth also participated in our Gilbert branch, and both locations had record numbers attending all our programs offered this summer.
So for any down side, we have many bright moments, and we are hoping that with the start of school, our youth are prepared and anxious to learn! Bless our teachers and administrators as they prepare for the first days back in the classroom, and we will be blessing them as we wrap up our summer and prepare for our fall schedules!