Bertha Bartlett Public Library news

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

—by Kolleen Taylor

With the students back in school, the library staff is now looking closely at our “space”, as we try to review, revise and analyze what we have done over the summer, what we have used up, and what we need to replace. Hundreds and hundreds of youth were involved with the many programs we offered over the summer, and with that came projects and creations, made with recyclable materials and craft supplies.

So we are re-organizing! We are striving for efficiency and economy of space and time, as our usable areas continue to feel smaller and smaller. You will note some of the changes from behind the glass, as we move processing materials into our work area, away from our storage area as we try to develop more usable space. We have a collection of books we don’t want to lose, but also don’t see much circulation. Those may be historically valuable to Story City and Iowa, they may be in questionable condition, needing to be re-bound or restored, or just look a bit worn. Those will remain in our collection, but will be identified as backroom or closed stacks so that we can have enough space available for books that will see more use and make browsing easier for our customers. Those books will still be available to check out, you will just need to ask for them.

One of our “space” challenges is the small room we use for individuals or small groups to meet and study, in addition to proctoring tests. The room is lined with bookshelves with books for sale that are sorted and shelved by volunteers. Multi-functional space we call it, as we line the walls with books that are donated or withdrawn from our library. The Bertha Bartlett Public Library Foundation coordinates this room and proceeds from the sale of donated materials goes in support of the library through the Foundation. Once or twice a year we take the materials out of that area and conduct a community booksale where we slash our prices….a book that normally costs $2 may sell for $1, etc. This room generates anywhere from $25 to $50 a month in addition to the larger sale, and it helps keep books out of landfills, and into the hands of people who love bargains!

As I was reviewing the cost of new books again this year, I can see our book budget dollars disappearing like a magic trick. We have received donations of some truly excellent materials that we are excited to add to our collection, sharing them with the entire community. Some of the older editions replace well-worn copies that continue to have a reading audience. Staff members review the donated materials, and do a quick assessment of what might be helpful to add to our library collection either here or in Gilbert, following our collection development policies.

So we love the donations to our library, but we need to remind everyone that not all books should come to the library. We would encourage everyone to refrain from storing books in a musty basement or attic as they may have drawn too much moisture to be used. Encyclopedia sets usually don’t find new homes unless they are less than 10 years old. And books that have lost their spines and pages are missing, really need to go to a paper recycling location.

As donations come to us, we try to find homes for the many books that belong on a bookshelf, and appreciate the generosity and thoughtfulness of our community. They help us stretch our annual budget, and help us find new authors. They remind us that there are many ways to support the library, and for that we are truly grateful!