Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It is traditionally observed during the last week of September. This year, 2012, Banned Books Week marks its 30th anniversary. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community including librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those that some consider unpopular.
The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom assists libraries in making the public aware of challenges to library materials by tracking library materials that are removed from schools and libraries. Books that are featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools.
Many of the challenged books are classics and award winning novels that have stood the test of time such as: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beloved by Toni Morrison , The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger; Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Animal Farm by George Orwell and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
Censorship efforts were alive and well in 2011. The Office of Intellectual Freedom received 326 reports of attempts to remove or restrict access to materials in libraries. The teen series: ttyl, ttfn, l8r, and g8r written by Fort Collins resident Lauren Myracle tops the list of the ten most frequently challenged books of last year:
ttyl; ttfn; l8r; g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
The Color of the Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
My Mom's Having a Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
While books have been and continue to be censored in libraries and schools, the purpose of Banned Books Week is also to celebrate the fact that in a majority of cases, challenged books remain on library shelves due to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students and community members who each day value and honor an individual's right to read.
Poudre River Public Library District will celebrate the love of reading and intellectual freedom during the week of September 30 - October 6 with programming and special displays. Join us on Wednesday, October 3rd for the special program, Censoring the Life Out of Literature. Louann Reid, CSU professor, will share details about real court cases and book challenges. Also on October 3rd you might choose to hear and support first time novelist, Ayad Aktar, discuss American Dervish, a coming of age story set in America's heartland. Please check the Library District's websitewww.poudrelibraries.org for program details.
Here is an expanded description of each of the goals stated in the 2012-2014 strategic plan recently adopted by the Library District Board of Trustees as reviewed in the printed monthly newsletter of the Poudre River Public Library District.
It reads "Create an environment where innovation is encouraged." Both the Trustees and staff want our libraries to be places where new ideas are encouraged and creativity flourishes. Targeted programming, informal learning opportunities and personalized web services will be developed to reach the priority market cluster groups who comprise over half of all library use (54%): older students (college and grad school), families with preschool and school age children and individuals seeking personalized service and specific information. The library will increase information sharing among our customers through the use of social media, an interactive web catalog and other survey techniques to make sure that we are providing the services and resources needed in the 21st century.
The following strategies were developed by Board and staff to achieve an innovative environment for our customers.
As a successful learning organization, our libraries will facilitate learning and knowledge creation for and by the community. We will partner with educational and community organizations to provide group learning opportunities and encourage public dialogue on important community issues. Our staff will embrace an organizational culture of continuous learning. Staff training and performance competencies will align with customer learning and information needs.
"Provide services to meet the needs of a digital future" is the second goal of the recently adopted strategic plan for the Poudre River Public Library District. Libraries, like all other institutions, must adapt services and collections to meet the changing needs of the public. There has been tremendous change in libraries throughout the past decade as libraries have successfully incorporated new technologies including self-service check-out, wireless access, mobile services and social media. The most dramatic societal change to affect libraries is the digital revolution and many customers' increased preference for digitized information. In a recent Pew Research Center study (April 2012) it was found that 28% of Americans, age 18 or older, own at least one specialized device for e-book reading. The demand for e-content continues to grow while the demand for the printed book remains constant. The Poudre River Public Library District strives to balance the information needs of its customers.
The three strategies that will guide the library in providing relevant services for the digital age are:
Work will begin this year to develop a technology plan that will encompass the best ideas of the public and staff. Interested residents will provide input for future services in person or on-line. Look for opportunities to participate and share your thoughts this summer.
Technology is a tool and the District will explore new technologies to ensure that the services we provide for both internal and external customers are cost effective and efficient. A recent example is the new automated materials handler that was installed at Main Library as part of its remodel. The new machine, affectionately dubbed, "Rosie", frees staff from the time-consuming, routine task of checking in and sorting books while providing customers a convenient mechanism for 24/7 self-service check-in of materials.
Many of the Library District's customers use our services remotely and do not physically visit the library. Convenient access to our services through a computer or personal device is very important. Therefore, the display and content available on our website and in our catalog must be easy to use, up-to-date and relevant.
"Build organizational and individual awareness of the Library's role, obligations and resources" is the third goal of the 2012-2014 strategic plan for Poudre River Public Library District. The most recognizable brand of libraries and certainly our Library District is that of the books. However, books are just the beginning. Today's libraries provide many more services and resources as well as a place for our public to gather and learn. Today's libraries partner with other civic and area organizations to improve and enrich our communities. The vision of the Library District is to be dynamic, responsive and integral to the fabric of the community. To realize this vision, staff and trustees must build greater awareness of our Library District's many services and resources and how these services can benefit individuals and the community as a whole.
The three strategies that will be used to achieve organizational and individual awareness are:
In the coming months the Library District will focus on developing and enhancing partnerships and promoting our services and resources to three users groups: 1) students from Colorado State University and Front Range Community College, 2) young professionals, business organizations and entrepreneurs and 3) parents and students of Poudre School District, charter schools and the homeschool network. How can our collections, research databases, programming and facilities better assist these users to succeed both academically and professionally? Also, library services will continue to be promoted at community-wide events that provide optimal exposure to our services.
The expertise and interests of library staff will be leveraged to further the knowledge and awareness of all that the Library District can offer to residents. Poudre River Public Library District will be much more visible throughout our service area to encourage you, our public, to take full advantage of our services and resources.
The final goal of the 2012-2014 strategic plan reads "Ensure the Library's financial stability and environmental responsibility." As a good steward of both taxpayers' money and the public trust, the Library District has the responsibility to use both monetary and environmental resources wisely and to evaluate the efficiency of operations on a continuous basis.
Three strategies were adopted that will guide staff and trustees to realize a future in which library services are maintained at excellent levels and environmental practices and awareness are embedded in the organization's culture:
District formation in 2007 provided funding that allowed the Library to restore hours of service, increase programming, and rebuild the collections of books and other materials. The Library District has also been able to remodel and expand the Old Town Library from existing income without seeking additional money from our residents. In 2016 the Building on Basics revenue that the Library District received as part of this City of Fort Collins special tax initiative sunsets, decreasing total Library District income by almost 9%. To prepare for this loss of income, the Library must effectively forecast revenue streams and evaluate current operations for efficiency and cost effectiveness. The Library will investigate grants and outside funding that supports strategic goals, review current procedures and programs, contract services and staffing patterns. The Library District will remain mindful of its obligation to remain a good steward of the environment by creating a greater public awareness of a green lifestyle while embedding the same principles into day-to-day operations.
For a visual of the new Strategic Plan, go to: http://www.poudrelibraries.org/about/pdf/strategicplan2012-2014.pdf
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 Old Town (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 Old Town (Main) Library expansion and remodel project to be completed later this month will meet the demand for both old and new.
The Poudre River Public Library District Board of Trustees recently adopted a strategic plan for the years 2012 - 2014. This strategic plan provides library staff a blueprint for navigating the future and informs the community of the Library District's priorities for the next three years. The mission and vision statements and four goals of the plan are as follows:
The Poudre River Public Library District provides universal access to ideas and information to enrich our communities.
The Poudre River Public Library District is dynamic, responsive, and integral to the fabric of our community.
Create an environment where innovation is encouraged.
Provide services to meet the needs of a digital future.
Build organizational and individual awareness of the Library's role, obligations and resources.
Ensure the Library District's financial stability and environmental responsibility.
These goals and strategies help define the role of the 21st century library and how it is evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of society. Today's public libraries are community hubs and for many a "third place" where conversations and learning occur. Libraries are becoming centers for mediation, and consensus building about issues of critical importance to the community. The role of the 21st century librarian then is to help improve society by facilitating learning and knowledge creation for and by the community. The remodel and expansion of Old Town (Main) Library will provide new meeting and study room space to encourage such conversations.
No other civic institution is better suited for this mission than the public library. Its services are inclusive and available to everyone in the community. Equity of access to information is a basic library tenant. The public library is also perceived by the community as neutral ground where ideas can be safely and confidentially discovered and explored. The Poudre River Public Library District provides many opportunities for community discussion such as the Erasicm film series, and the Great Decisions discussion group. The District will be partnering in the fall with CSU's Center for Public Deliberation to offer a community issues series.
Of course in our mobile and high-tech society, one does not need to physically visit the library to participate in community discussions or take advantage of library services. Library users can conduct business electronically such as perusing the library catalog to reserve a book, downloading eBooks and other digital items and accessing research resources and databases from home or from a smartphone. More and more, librarians are working outside the library walls to create conversations and awareness of library services with schools, neighborhoods and community groups.
The 2012-2014 strategic plan embraces a 21st century role for the Library District and its employees. It rewards innovation and risk-taking, aligns library services with the digital revolution, encourages increased dialogue with stakeholders, promotes new partnerships with community agencies and outlines steps for the Library District's financial and environmental stability.
The plan, and new mission and vision statements affirm the role of the Poudre River Public Library District as an essential community institution dedicated to learning and knowledge for all residents. Please take a moment to read the strategic plan. It is posted on the Library District's website www.PoudreLibraries.org/about/plans.php
September is National Library Card Month and Poudre River Public Library District wants you to sign up for a library card!
Summer is ending and it is time to buy school supplies. Why not start with the best school supply of all, the library card? Not only is the library card an important tool for students going back to school, it is also free! The library card gives access to a world of information through not only books, but Internet research and databases, programs and events as well. Give your children the tools to succeed and kick start the school year by helping them get their own library card.
Your library is a hub for the local community and your library card is a passport. It permits its owner to travel to other places and times through the pages of a good book. The library has the resources you need to study, research, and prepare for the new semester. Meet new people while discovering the electronic tools available for you. Membership in the public library places thousands of resources at students' fingertips. Celebrate National Library Card Month with a trip to your local library or visit the virtual library at poudrelibraries.org to explore all the many resources available!
The Poudre River Public Library District chose the theme of Renew, Refresh, Read Local for 2010. The Board of Trustees and staff worked to "Renew" our connection with our customers by conducting research on how they use the library. The market analysis and customer survey told us that our customers still look to us as a primary resource for books and information in paper and electronic formats. Our customer segmentation has helped the Library District to identify opportunities to improve services to the community in preparation of a new strategic plan.
The Old Town (Main) Library "Refresh" project is well underway. We are excited about the possibilities that a remodel and modest expansion provide including a larger meeting room, group and individual study rooms, an enhanced children's area and even a cyber café. Staff also did some internal "refreshing" by changing the Library District's organizational structure and implementing a staff website. Even though these inside projects aren't readily visible to our customers, the new communications tool and efficiencies make our Library District better able to face the changing needs of the future and to serve you better.
The "Read Local" events showcased the wealth of authors we have in Colorado. The Autumn Authors series provided our customers the opportunity to meet some of their favorite authors. Many of the invited authors spoke about the importance of libraries and intellectual freedom in their lives. They are great advocates for libraries!
Despite the growth in digital information and the Intranet, people are seeking resources available at their local libraries more so than ever before. Use of the Poudre River Public Libraries continues to grow with significant increases in the number of items check-outs and attendance. I look forward to enriching the Library's relationship with our customers in 2011 and to building on the strengths of the library staff members who continue to provide excellent library service to the community.
Many well known people have been quoted about the importance of libraries in their lives. Author Toni Morrison had this to say: "Access to knowledge is superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this mission," and Barbara Kingsolver: "I'm of a fearsome mind to throw my arms around every living librarian who crosses my path, on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved." Comedian Paula Poundstone: "It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed," and rock star Keith Richards: "When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully -- the church which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a good equalizer."
Now it's your chance to tell your story about how libraries have changed your life. Whether you're someone just discovering the many possibilities your library holds or were lucky enough to have grown up with the library near by, we want to hear about it! The Library District is having an "I Love My Library" essay contest for library-lovers of all ages. Five winners will be picked, one from each category according to age - young child, youth, teen, adult, and senior. The winners will be awarded a prize, and an offer to participate in a special library event! Essays should be no more than 500 words and children ages 6 and under may draw a picture instead. Submissions should be sent to Main Library, Attn: Library Lovers at 301 Olive, Fort Collins, CO 80524 no later than February 28. Be sure to add your name, address, phone number and age. For more information contact the Library District at 221-6380.
Poudre River Public Library is seeking to place an issue on the April 2011 municipal ballot seeking voter approval to expand Main Library located in Library Park. An existing city ordinance limits the percentage of building and parking within the park area, including the footprint of the library's foot floor. The Library District is seeking citizen permission to expand by 6,000 square feet by filling in the areas underneath the second floor overhangs. The additional space will allow the library to add meeting room space, enlarge the children's area, provide areas for group and individual study and to create more room for comfortable seating, use of laptops and browsing the collection.
The expansion is part of the Library District's Master Facilities Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2009. The improvements will be paid for with a combination of existing library funds including capital project monies, unreserved funds and remaining capital expansion fee monies collected by the City on behalf of the library. More than 70 volunteers are circulating petitions as part of this citizen's initiative to obtain the necessary 2,517 signatures of Fort Collins residents who are also registered voters. The deadline to submit valid signatures to the City Clerk is January 18, 2011.
Community resident Sam Fox and Library Trustee Robin Gard are the citizen volunteers who have organized the petition drive. For more information about the ballot initiative and to learn how you can volunteer to help, check out the campaign's website at ExpandOurLibrary.org.
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