FRCC Course Reserves
This soapbox was published 5/3/2012 in the Fort Collins Coloradoan. It was submitted by Michael Liggett, President, PRPLD Board of Trustees and Holly Carroll, Executive Director, PRPLD and was written in response to author Laura Prichett's concerns expressed on 4/29/2012 in the same newpaper.
Our library system has changed a lot since voters approved a library district in 2006. We appreciate our patrons' feedback and are always disappointed when someone has a bad experience at the library. A soapbox author recently took us to task for having reduced our collection size and questioned our use of the term "expansion" to describe the current construction project.
We are adding 9,000 square feet of public space to the Main Library, 6,000 of that is new construction. Changes are occurring daily, and by the time our project is completed, we will have added space to the community room, children's section, the computer center, and all book display areas. These are real physical changes: the old floor space was crowded, there were handicap accessibility problems, and we had many shelves of books that were not reachable by the average patron.
We timed the weeding of our collection to coincide with the construction project to minimize the labor involved in moving duplicate or unused books. Withdrawal of out-of-date, superseded or worn books and multiple copies of former best sellers must be done on a continuous basis to make room for new materials. Withdrawn items are donated to the Friends of the Library who sell and recycle the items. The Friends return the proceeds for good services at the library.
Weeding is a fact of life in libraries. Weeding or de-selection is based on statistical information, nationally accepted guidelines and library policy. Classics, local and regional history and seminal works are and always will be a permanent part of the collection. The trick is to balance the permanent collection with the items of current and popular interest.
Most people still come to the library to check out books and other materials. We add 50,000 new items each year to our collection. But today's libraries must be much more than warehouses for books, a metric that many used in previous decades to judge the quality of libraries. The Library District will continue to build relevant collections to meet the varied needs of our community.
Libraries cannot opt out of the new world of technology and we have incorporated technology in our remodel. We are obliged to try and meet all patron needs, whether in traditional book form or by online resources. Collections for which demand is growing most dramatically are digital. In addition, providing free access is a core part of our library mission. Many people rely on the library to connect them to the online world.
Public libraries face a tough challenge of balancing traditional services such as reference assistance, story times and book stacks with a growing demand for electronic content and adequate space for community gathering and public computing. The Poudre River Public Library District strives to bring value to the greatest number of people possible. The Main Library expansion and remodel project to be completed later this month will meet the demand for both old and new.