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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The Library Levy - One Year Later

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, September 11, 2011

It has been a year since those white and blue “Save Our Libraries” signs popped up all over Jefferson County.


I would like to again thank everyone involved in our Library Levy Campaign last year, which led to the successful passage of the levy for our library system.


One sign remains today; it hangs in the corner of my office as a daily reminder of the support that the citizens of Jefferson County provided to their libraries.


Equally important is my responsibility to the citizens of the county, to keep you informed as to how the levy has impacted your libraries.


We are two-thirds of the way through 2011, and all levy proceeds have been received.  All of the hours reduced in 2009 when the State cut 31 percent of the Public Library Support Fund have been restored, and staff returned to work.


The library system’s Technical Services Department has returned to operations, and has processed nearly 6,000 new items for the library’s collections, as well as 1,500 items donated by the public.


The number of library cards continues to grow.  The Levy Campaign was the largest promotion that the library has ever done, and in addition to the passage of the levy, it did a great job promoting the county’s libraries.


“I didn’t know the library had that!” is a comment received often by the library as a result of the levy campaign.


Computer upgrades and replacement have been a major project of 2011 to date.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grant, combined with levy funds, have resulted in the replacement of computers and support equipment at many branch locations.


A $ 20,000 grant from the John C. Williams Trust of PNC Bank will result in the addition of laptop labs for the library system, and the replacement of desktop computers at the Main Library.


Much work has been done to the “hidden part” of the library’s computers, as data connections to the State Communications Network has resulted in greater bandwidth at most libraries, and increased wireless capacity in all of our library locations.


The Main Library, as well as the Schiappa and Toronto Branches have new capabilities relating to printing, scanning, faxing, and interconnections to load and send information by various media.


This will be extended to the branches in Brilliant, Tiltonsville, Dillonvale, and Adena as funds warrant.


In addition to new books for the collections, we have actively engaged in purchasing books on CD, DVDs, and e-books for public use. 


Our new bookmobile has been ordered, and will likely begin service in January 2012 to community stops, and preschools and senior facilities.


Lost in the shuffle of the levy campaign was the fact that our previous bookmobile “died” two weeks before the 2010 election, causing that program to be placed on hold.


Looking to 2012, we are looking forward to a major software upgrade to our share automation system.  In June, we will be moving to the new Scholar system, which will allow the access of new media formats over the current system.


Design work and planning are underway for roof replacements and exterior renovations to our Schiappa, Toronto, and Tiltonsville Branches.


The library system has seven buildings to maintain around the county, and the levy will allow us to continue that work.


Thanks again for your support of the levy.