What is a library without it’s community? From infants to teens to parents, middle-aged and senior citizens the library is built on the support, the interest and the ideals of its community. As much as we try to keep the library collection balanced with the wide variety of topics on the shelves, it is also shaped by the people who use it, so there are no two libraries anywhere that have exactly the same materials on its shelves.
The library director and the assistant director are tasked with the responsibility of keeping the collection balanced with topics and viewpoints in addition to fresh, relevant and up-to-date information. But we also base many of our decisions on those who use our library. We listen to requests, and then research the books that are recommended. We make purchases of those we feel others will enjoy, or those that fill a void in our collection. We try to purchase a wide spectrum of materials, often quite different from our personal tastes, in an effort to present good material from various perspectives. It’s a tough act to balance and takes a little talent to choose correctly.
It takes many different skills and talents to keep a library vibrant, but it is often the same gifts that keep a community vibrant. Some are able to enhance the beauty of their neighborhoods, while others give their time to community projects. Some are gifted in management and help keep the local economy in place. Others teach our young, guide our elders and support our churches and organizations in many ways. There are days when each of us ponders the impact we make on this world of ours, and while very miniscule on that scale, very important in a community such as Story City. We can’t always be in charge and we can’t always follow, but on a daily basis, working together we can make an important impact.
The library is just like that. We are a steadfast institution, one that will be here in some form long after the people working here today have left the profession. Each day that we are able to help another person in the library; locate websites, find books for school, help research an illness, reminds us of the role we play. It’s a place where people come to succeed, whether it’s by studying and doing well on a test, learning about new things, or finding the book they have been itching to read. Our patrons come to be entertained, educated and evolved.
Most of the people who work in libraries are a devoted sort, not working for the highest paycheck, but for the highest impact in their community. They are team players who share information easily, not worrying about competition between library locations. We have benefited so much from the sharing of ideas and materials from many different libraries, both in Story County and throughout the state of Iowa. When one library wins greater support and participation, we all win, we all cheer, we all benefit. Libraries are an important step in building a greater community, and the community benefits when it helps build a greater library.
As the month of May wraps up and we anticipate another summer ahead of reading programs and activities, we want to thank the many who continue to support us as we reach out for help in developing our summer activity schedule. A few weeks ago, I mentioned businesses who have added their dollars to support our programs at that point, and since then more have stepped forward to help us out. Among those are ISPT (Formerly Indoshell Precision Technology), American Packaging, MH Eby, Inc., McFarland Clinic, NuCara Pharmacy and Harlan Foods.
Our thanks to each and every business and individual who has contributed to the library in any way, as we make our way together to have a greater impact on the lives of those who live here in Story City and the areas surrounding us.