Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Little Breathing Room

The light at the end of the tunnel is bright. We are finally nearing the end of our renovation project that included both entrances to the library, bathrooms, reading spaces, the Friend's Book Store, and the Children's Story Time Room.

I have to say that I am excited, but at the same time a little bit sad because I do love a project.

For the time being though, I think I'll sit down, take a little rest, and enjoy the view...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Interesting NYT article

This article about public libraries illustrates the resilience of our type of library and our type of librarian.

The article is focused on libraries in and around New York City, but it could easily be describing public libraries across the country. Public libraries have shifted their focus from being warehouses and custodians of things to being places that focus on the users and their goals.

The flexibility and innovation shown by public libraries may surprise people, but we've been doing this for decades - adapting to the times. It doesn't always happen all at once, nor does it happen in equal measures everywhere across the country, but it happens. Most importantly, a good public library adapts and changes for the betterment of its community!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The "Plan" is coming together

We have been working through almost 3 months of construction, but we are beginning to see the light - literally - signaling the end of this phase. Here's a pretty good idea of what the Main Street entrance will be like when it reopens in a few weeks:

Those little cleats above the new windows will hold a metal sunshade. There's only a very little that needs finishing on the exterior besides the shade. A little bit of paint work and we're set.

Here's what it looks like from the inside on the second floor - no carpet yet, but the ceiling grid is going in today and you can get a general idea of what the view will be like sitting in what will be a nice new reading area.

Here's another view from inside looking basically straight east.

Downstairs, the Friend's Book Store is getting a remodel. Here's what it looks like at the moment. The new enlarged foyer is visible beyond. The new foyer area will help us keep a more stable temperature in the front area of the library.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It's happening!

Robots will be replacing us in libraries! Sure, this article says the intention is to relieve librarians of "menial" tasks but that's only to get their foot in the door. We all know that our robot overlords are just biding their time, gradually insinuating themselves into our everyday lives. Before you know it, we'll all be scurrying around like rats in the rubble of our meat-bag civilization as the robots take over.

OK, maybe I'm getting a bit carried away. This is actually a really interesting technology. The robot could search the stacks at night, and help us humans find mis-shelved and lost items in our stacks. The Hutchinson Public Library has well over 250,000 physical items. It takes a considerable amount of time to keep the shelves in order. It is also very time consuming to look for items that didn't get checked in properly.

I'm looking forward to this step towards Skynet myself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Construction update!

The remodeling of the Main Street entrance is coming along roughly on schedule. As is the case with any remodel (versus a new build) there are almost certainly going to be some of those "Hmm...that's not on the drawings" moments. So far, we've really only had one major stumper as the flooring was peeled up across the seam between the northern-most addition and the older part of the building. That problem has been resolved, thankfully.

If you drive by now, you can see a glimpse of what the exterior will look like when it's done. The window frames are in both upstairs and down. Right now they are working on the un-glamorous but VERY necessary changes to the HVAC in that area.
Dust barrier inside the Main Street entrance - it worked great!

North facing wall pre-window frames

Sidewalk view pre-window frame

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Library Closures hit Canada

An article from CTV News states that nearly half of all the public libraries in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador will be closed. The provincial budget included a million dollars less for public libraries than in the previous year resulting in mass closures of branches.

So I will leave you with these two quotes to be used alternately:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.” 
― Joan Bauer

...unless you live in Newfoundland unfortunately.


“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” 
― Walter Cronkite

And that is the real danger.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You think data caps won't affect you?

Think again. This article from the website Techspot drives home the real issue with out current FCC / cable industry / Internet provider dynamic.

The data caps are punishing the group of people (of which I am one) called "cord cutters". These are folks who have left their cable TV subscriptions behind for a variety of reasons. There are two major reasons our family cancelled cable TV - cost and lack of use. By lack of use, I mean that we watched a handful of the channels to which we were subscribed and rarely viewed bundled-in channels on the various tiers we had to carry in order to see the few we wanted. That was tied directly to the cost factor. We could not justify $100 per month for the 4 or 5 channels we wanted.

So, we went our merry way with a data plan and Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. We could watch what we wanted when we wanted, so long as we could wait for our shows to appear on the service.

If you are streaming a lot of video though, you can easily hit lower-tier data package caps. I am convinced, as the article above states, that this is intentional with the aim to drive people back to cable TV packages.

What is needed is competition, cafeteria-style cable channel selection, and some governmental and regulatory backbone to make those things happen (in my humble opinion, of course).