BCPL embraces change
by Amanda Gilmore, community relations coordinator
Sadly, this is my final opportunity to write about all the fantastic stuff your library brings to you, and does for you. It’s hard to wrap up 10 years of learning, and experiences and memories in one blog.
But, when it comes down to it, in my decade at BCPL (the greatest library in the state of Kentucky, and perhaps the world, by the way!), what has impressed me most is how the library and its staff keep looking toward the future, adding new services and technology so that the people of Boyd County can get the most up-to-date and useful library services – whenever and wherever they need them.
I’ll be starting a new job soon, which is scary. But it’s also exciting – as with all changes we go through in life. What is important is that we are open to change, and the opportunities it brings. And that is the philosophy at BCPL, embraced by everyone from the dedicated volunteer members of the Board of Trustees, to my boss (Director Debbie Cosper), to all the great staff at the public service desks and behind the scenes.
Libraries, like human beings, are constantly evolving. The library of my youth was very quiet, a place I visited a couple of times a month to checkout books, which I brought home and promptly listed on a piece of paper taped to the back of my door (my mom’s idea – to make sure I knew what to return and when). I went to an occasional children’s program on weekends or in the summer, but I certainly don’t remember any of them being of the caliber of great programming BCPL offers to children and adults nearly every day of the week. My own children have grown up in this library. I’ve been fortunate to be able to bring them with me to work on many occasions, and they have learned that libraries are fun and interesting places, and developed what I hope is a lifelong love of books and learning. For that I am so grateful.
In my high school and college years, the library was a necessary place – I had to visit there in order to do research for papers and homework. I was a student long before Google and the Internet took hold, so all the answers to my questions had to be physically found in the books on the library shelves. I continue to be amazed at the resources available to students who have a BCPL card through tutor.com and our many databases and other online resources. The library was also a refuge for me, especially in college. I could escape the often loud, wild going-on of my roommates or others in my dorm by escaping to a cubicle in the library to study. I only wish they’d had coffee shops in libraries back then.
With all that’s changed in our world, and continues to change at a frantic pace, some say that libraries will become obsolete. But I am here to tell you that is absolutely, positively not true.
My boss told me several years ago that libraries of today are all about format – it’s important to give people the content they seek in the format they want. The content of libraries is much the same as it was in my youth, but the format in which library users access that information has changed dramatically.
BCPL does an amazing job of keeping up with the format changes. A few years ago, it was books on iPods. Then it was books on Nooks. And now it’s books in a Cloud. We recently unveiled the new 3M Cloud Library Discovery Terminal at the Main Branch – a touch screen station that patrons can scan to select the ebook they want to be instantly downloaded to their computer, phone or other mobile device. I have already read a few 3M Cloud books myself, and it’s fantastic to be able to start reading a book on my tablet, then switch over to my phone or my computer, and back to the tablet – without ever losing my place.
The new BCPL Mobile app is another great format for library users. It puts all the features and services available on our website at your fingertips. You can search the library catalog, ask a question, download ebooks, audio books, magazines and music, find events and more.
At a recent staff meeting, we were discussing ideas and plans for the future. One thing I’m pretty sure you will see before long (sorry, BCPL – spoiler alert!) are digital library kiosks in more remote areas of the county – allowing library patrons to select, checkout and return books without having to step foot inside one of the branches.
One of the best parts of my job has been getting to announce and explain all of the library’s technological changes and additions to you, the residents of our community. Not just to people in Boyd County, but throughout the region and the state. It has been rewarding to be a part of such a creative and forward-thinking organization. I am really going to miss it. But I know I will be hearing great things. Keep up the good work, BCPL. You rock!