Mar 292012
 

GUEST COMMENTARY from the March 7, 2012 News-Ledger:

By Patty Wong
Yolo County Librarian

When I came to Yolo County Library as the County Librarian, I got to know people from grass-roots community groups that have supported the Library for over one hundred years.   Each branch of the Yolo County Library has local residents who contribute their time and energy to support their local library.  All of us at the Yolo County Library want to ensure this on-going community involvement in public libraries.  To reach this goal, we’ve begun our first-ever strategic planning process.

I’d like to invite all residents to participate in a survey that will help shape the future of Yolo County Public Libraries.  The survey is part of a strategic planning process that includes research, public comment, interviews and discussion sessions with community leaders and library staff.  Some of the questions I’d like folks to think about are:  What makes Yolo County a unique community?  Why is Yolo County a great place to live, work and raise a family?  Through your comments, we’ll learn about our community’s needs and vision for the future.  We’ll use this information to build a stronger public library.

In many ways the public library is an integral part of the quality of life in Yolo County.  It serves the information needs of all residents, including recreational reading, research, online computer access, ready for kindergarten and adult literacy programs, volunteer opportunities and much more.  Small business owners use the public library to work and read up on new management publications.  Parents bring their children to the library for free events, homework help and a constant source of new books to read.  Programs for older adults help answer their questions about financial issues and health care.

  In recent years, we’ve implemented new conveniences such as downloadable e-books and held classes for community members to learn how to use this new technology.  A new mobile website allows residents to check their library account on their smart device to see if their requested book, movie or CD is waiting for them.

Our communities have changed too, and library services are needed more than ever in our rural areas such as Knights Landing and Yolo.  These small libraries help close the digital divide in rural areas where information is harder to access because of distance, scarcity of community gathering places and the lack of high speed cable.  These libraries also provide access to resources for rural residents to live happy and productive lives in a complex and ever-changing world.

I invite you to participate in the Yolo County Library planning process by completing the survey or by contacting Elizabeth Gray, Assistant County Librarian (530) 666-8084 or elizabeth.gray@yolocounty.org, with your input.

The survey will be available soon online at www.yolocountylibrary.org and will be available in hard copy format in all Yolo County branch libraries.  Those who complete the survey may choose to be entered in a raffle to win a book or tote bag.

The Yolo County Library needs your help in shaping the future direction of our public libraries. Please join us in the endeavor.

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke