I have now been at Keene Memorial Library for just over 3 years. I have spent these last 3 years trying to educate the community, on why the library is important to the community and why library staff have important roles in the community. Too often I hear, “well you just read books all day” or “you just check out books to people”. These statements could not be further from reality.
I can honestly say, that I do not usually even put a book in my hand at all during an 8-10 day. My day is spent in administrative details to manage the building, the staff, the patrons, the policies, the Library Board, the Friends partnership, community partnerships, and much, much, more. For me, my time is spent working on various activities all for one purpose, “providing access to information, education, resources, and training in support of life-long learning, personal growth, and community fellowship for all”. This is the mission we developed in our last Strategic Planning Session. Our vision is to “inspire, strengthen, and enrich the quality of life for our community”. These two statements are the guiding factor in each and every decision we make.
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The Mission and Vision statements are what connects the library to the community. All of the services we offer are available to community members. If you live in Fremont city limits, your library card is free. Outside the city limits only costs you $35 a year for a card. If you buy your books and movies, $35 is only about 2 movies and 5 books. So you can check out books, movies, CDs, audiobooks, and more all year round for that $35.
We also provide programming and classes available to kids, teens, and adults. You DO NOT have to have a library card to attend the programming. We have been focusing programming on Pre-Kindergarten literacy because reading to children before Kindergarten can increase their literacy abilities. It can also help to identify children with reading disabilities like dyslexia. As we learned in our dyslexia class, reaching children before 3rd grade to get them diagnosed with dyslexia and get them involved in learning to read with dyslexia is very important for their overall education.
We also have resources to assist small businesses in the community. We have online databases, print materials, and hold classes to assist with computers and technology. Currently, staff is working on developing a larger curriculum related to computer training and e-resource education. Lynda.com is a database to learn almost anything you might need in a business office. We also provide Mango Languages which allows you to learn any of 72+ languages. Checkout our e-resources on our website.
We even provide outreach to those that can’t come to us. We are here to assist the community any way we can and our hope is that more people realize what we have to offer everyone and everyone can use our facility, resources, and staff knowledge to assist with lifelong learning.
Tina Walker is Director of Keene Memorial Library in Fremont.