Klamath Falls, Ore. – Thursday, May 11th was the Library Boards Summit, held at the South Suburban Branch on Summers Lane.
Library Director Christy Davis kicked things off by explaining what the Advisory Board, led by Chuck Wells actually does. They are the eyes and ears of the community, they find out what’s needed, what’s going on in each branch. Each year they get a few tasks to do. In the last 2 years this is some of the things they’ve done: Rewritten the behavior policy and had it approved by the Board; gone through the Oreon Public Library standards – rated themselves and will again soon as the standards keep changing; and retooled the program area policy. Still to come, in the next few months tackling a revision of the collection development policy since it hasn’t been changed for a decade. There are items mentioned in the policy such as “borrowing LPs and Cassettes” that they no longer collect and then they can add some newer tech items that patrons do borrow.
Commissioner Derrick DeGroot, who sits on the Board and is the Liaison Commissioner, said that he’s had such a pleasure working with Ms. Davis and her whole crew. He added that “it’s never hard searching for accolades for Christy and her staff… so thank you very much, again, for making my life just that little bit easier.”
As far as things he’s working on, Commissioner DeGroot said one of his biggest priorities is making a strategic plan for the County, a 5 year one. That way they can refer back to it “to make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction, always.”
Another priority is workforce development issues. There’s a trade shortage in the County, and the focus is now on needing to get young people more involved in work. DeGroot refererred to a phrase that Mike Rowe (from the tv show ‘Dirty Jobs’) uses, “to try to make work cool again.”
“We are working on a program right now…there is a company in town that builds houses and panels indoors and they just kind of got restarted again. So we’re working with them, we’re gonna try to work with KCC, the high schools… we’re working on funding right now where we can put students in their building, building a house every year, and then placing it, and then using the sale of that first one to fund that program perpetually. So we can get young people working and getting trained up as plumbers, electricians, HVAC, carpenters, you name it… drywall. All those skills need to be learned so that’s something I’m working on right now and hopefully I’ll have that going by the beginning of the school year.”
One of the members asked about the recent budget process for the library. Commissioner DeGroot said that the budget process for the library was pretty straightforward, very balanced and easy to work with. It was quick and simple which is good in the budget review process.
Nancie Carlson then gave an update from the Friends of the Library. The Friends group has been a non-profit organization since it was founded in 1984. Their primary goal is to support library programs for adults and children. Carlson said “it’s all about money right? So we run that little bookie store in the garage and as Christy mentioned it goes from 10 cents to maybe a dollar (for books) and for the big coffee table books it might be $3 or $4. And so that’s where our funding comes in.”
So far this year they’ve gotten three new board members. Bob, Sue and Gail joined the board and they all bring special talents to the board. The money the Friends collect they then give quarterly, a set amount, to the library programs so they can go out and buy whatever they need for the children or adult programs. They also respond to special requests. For example they just transferred $18-hundred dollars for the Children’s Program. Last year they gave $15-hundred dollars to Klamath Promise scholarships, they’ll do two $5oo dollar scholarships this year.
The hours the library volunteers work are pretty astounding. By the time their fiscal year ends this June, their volunteers will have put in about 1,231 hours (405 hours from Max alone!). They have been interviewing volunteers and are always looking for more. Especially now since they’re moving to the former Smart Reading Program area. Once they move, they’ll be open 4 days a week instead of 2, which means 16 new volunteers a month. They have interviewed 12-15 people over the last several months for volunteer positions.
This past year the Friends of the Library became a Blue Zones supporting civic organization. Up until then they had been doing everything themselves, such as putting on a health and wellness fair at the library and hosting a Purpose Workshop. Coming up they’ll have a vegetarian cooking demonstration with the Wellness Center for the next quarterly meeting.
The biggest project coming up is the move. They’re moving from literally the garage on one side of the library to the other side of the library. Coordinating the move is a huge undertaking, let alone thinking about moving all those books and other items. The construction isn’t completely finished yet but getting closer.