January 2013, Volume 5, Issue 1
Check Your Calendars!!
SDLA Legislative Day
ALA Midwinter Meeting
Digital Learning Day
Read Across America Day
Teen Tech Week
PLA Virtual Spring Symposium
School Library Month
National Library Week
World Book Night
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Find Your "A-ha!" Moment
What's a public library all about, anyway?
By Daria Bossman, Interim State Librarian
There is a lot of talk about public libraries and their value or purpose these days. This is understandable with constricted local budgets and uncertain economic times. Most librarians and informed library boards such as you would be quick to reply that shared resources are truly a value to any community. Public libraries in the U.S. are often taken for granted—big time! We forget that other countries and cultures do not have such an institution or even the concept of shared resources and unlimited individual rights to information… and "the free exercise thereof," as our U.S. Constitution so eloquently expresses.
And as I have shared previously, in this digital age, community public libraries can have a huge impact in preserving a small community and sustaining it economically. Up-to-date medical and health resources, news and genealogy resources, to name a few, are at the disposal of the smallest of libraries in a state such as SD where we have statewide access to nearly 40 subject-specific databases. What library in the past could have afforded a new World Book encyclopedia set each year, let alone dozens of reference resources refreshed with current information, articles, maps, charts, photos, data, research… monthly… even daily? And some of these database resources have audio capabilities!
As you know, each spring we request that each library submit their library's statistics from the previous year. That data is submitted to our federal agency, IMLS, which in turn creates information for Congress, legislators, library researchers and potential contributors. This federal agency also creates templates and graphs for us to use and encourages us to make sense of our own statistics for use on the local level. Here is one example of good use of the data: plinternetsurvey.org.
Annually, in our state, we produce the South Dakota Public Library Data Digest. The 2012 digest just went to print! It is 16 pages of colorful photos of SD libraries and interesting charts by which to compare yourself to your neighbor and with the state “average.” We hope you like it. Here is where you can locate the past data digests: library.sd.gov.
Our 2012 edition (highlighting 2011 statistics) will be mailed to each library and city or county office. Your legislators will each receive one in January. We encourage you to spend time looking at it and discussing together what you discover. Look for it in the mail.
Here is a sneak preview of one page specifically designed for advocacy and support.
"Top Ten Reasons to Support Libraries"
- Libraries serve everyone.
- Libraries are places of economic opportunity.
- Libraries are great places for kids and teens.
- Libraries connect us to the world.
- Libraries support democracy.
- Libraries promote literacy.
- Libraries are essential to education.
- Libraries are partners for vibrant and educated communities.
- Libraries have librarians!
- Libraries are a great value!
The #1 reason brings me back to my first thoughts—public libraries have always been valuable and a good value in communities. This has never been a truer statement.
Jan. 10 is "Library Legislative Day." We invite you to come to Pierre. At 3:00 pm, in the beautiful Capitol Rotunda, there will be a ceremony for the seven libraries receiving Public Library Accreditation. Then we will celebrate 100 years of the State Library serving state government and supporting SD libraries! We hope you will join us for some cake. Later that evening there will be a legislative reception in the Rawlins Public Library and more refreshments. You are also welcome to drop by for a tour of the newly remodeled State Library on the first floor of the McKay Building, next to the SD Cultural Heritage Center. In the meantime check us out on the web at library.sd.gov.