From the Director:
John D. Richmond
THOUGHTS, CHEERFUL AND SOBERING
Since December, the library has received two matching gifts from Caterpillar employees. That is to say: A patron who works for Cat sends us a check and, having made arrangements through the Caterpillar Foundation, Caterpillar matches the patron’s gift to us. This is nothing new. Except that it is new for APL. With “usual and customary” revenues down, gifts can be crucial for helping us thrive. Is your employer a community supporter, with a matching gift program? Consider your favorite (that would be APL) library when giving charitably. Thanks.
Switching gears, many folks know that libraries are no longer museums for anything. Though there are times when we long for a quiet reading room. But being alive and lively is a good thing, and we’re grateful for that. In the Dept. of Unusual Services, this winter we have served as a prime bird-watching location. I am not kidding. A steady supply of birdseed in the butterfly garden on the west side of the library has attracted a steady supply of birds, bringing looks and comments of delight from customers. Especially when the birds provide color against a snowy, woodsy background. “Alpha Park Public Library & Aviary”—the name probably won’t stick, but what the heck.
Sober gear-changing now: By the time you read this, we will have received a report on the state of our roofs, exterior walls, and mechanical-electrical-plumbing systems. We know that a new roof for the older part of the library could cost as much as $80,000. Its 30-year life span is about up. Also, when the outside walls were last re-done, no allowance for expansion joints was made in the exterior cladding. No expansion joints leads to cracking. We wait with interest to learn what wall repairs may be needed, and what they may cost. There are statutory limits to how district libraries can put aside funds for special projects. State grant money in the next fiscal year may be available. Just like owning a house, this trying to maintain a library, don’t you know.
Then again—happy notes—do read the story about the Friends of the Library and the book sale in June. If you can help, please note the contact information. The Friends raised over $12,000 for us in November. It will be Friends money that provides a new reference desk, to be delivered and installed in May or June. The Friends do good work. See earlier references to thanks and gratitude in this column. And if you can assist with the book sale…oh, but I already mentioned that.
Finally, nothing would be complete without a word about technology. (Would it? In 2013?) Use of DVDs is dropping in some libraries, and other libraries are finding ways to deliver streaming video via Netflix and (I love this name) Hulu. Are we there yet? No. Simply a reminder that libraries, including APL, are evolving at ever-accelerating rates. Stay tuned for the future. And thanks for your support.