For Immediate Release: July 12, 2006
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith, South Dakota Department of Education, (605) 773-7228, firstname.lastname@example.org
State Library Board accepts consultant's report
PIERRE, S.D. - At its July 10 meeting, the South Dakota State Library Board accepted a report that calls for a major strategic shift in the library's role and function. Prepared by Dr. Mary Bushing, the report recommends that the State Library focus its resources on becoming a “library to libraries” in South Dakota.
“As our consultant pointed out, the people of South Dakota really expect us to spend our dollars in ways that provide the most benefit to everyone in the state,” said State Librarian Dorothy Liegl. “We feel like we can best do that by supporting all of the state's public libraries.”
In accepting the report, the board asked library staff to address several concerns that were raised during the month-long public comment period. One of the concerns suggested that remote rural residents may have trouble gaining access to library services. In response, the board directed library staff to work with major libraries throughout the state to create a network of libraries willing to provide services to these patrons if they purchase nonresident cards.
“In many areas of the state where county residents do not have library services, they already have the option to buy a nonresident card at the city library,” Liegl said. “This would simply be an extension of that program. We would help get the word out and help train local libraries.”
The board also called for an evaluation of the new strategic plan at the end of two years. That evaluation must assess the operation of the interlibrary loan program and its impact on local libraries.
“Instead of holding large numbers of books in our collection here in Pierre, we plan to distribute a significant percentage of our books to local libraries,” Liegl said. “Library patrons will then be able to access these books through the Interlibrary Loan system, rather than by borrowing them directly from us.” Savings from the new program will enable the State Library to purchase access to online information sources that will benefit all South Dakotans.
During the comment period on the report, several Pierre residents expressed concern about losing access to computer terminals and other public library services at the State Library. Liegl said that the State Library will work with the Rawlins Municipal Library in Pierre to address these concerns and provide for a smooth transition.
In the next few months, the State Library, in conjunction with the Department of Education, will develop a new strategic plan and implementation schedule based on Bushing's report. The transition will be phased in over two years.
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