Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More from Members Council

Another thing I wanted to note from Monday's Members Council sessions: I attended an afternoon meeting of the discussion group for public and school libraries. George was there too.

The convenor, Donna Nicely, the Director of Nashville Public Library had asked Cathy De Rosa to speak briefly about the Perceptions report which she did. Donna then asked what did people think about the data and the implications of the data. And, as so many minutes of meetings record, "a lively discussion followed".

But a lively discussion happening at these dicussion group meetings (there are also groups for academic libraries, government and special libraries and consortia) is not unusual--in fact, it's completely usual. What struck me about this particular meeting was the stories. And don't we all love stories?

In response to Donna's question--what do we do with the information given to us in the Perceptions report?--many of the meetings attendees told a story about what things were being done in their libraries already to meet the needs of the people in their communities. What struck me was that these librarians were describing changes that did address the perceptions of libraries as expressed by the respondents to the OCLC report. Already. Now. Big changes.

And even better was that these changes sounded like there were positive ramifications both internally for the library organization, and most definitely externally, for people using the library.

One of the most inspiring stories was recounted by George Bishop, Director of the Information Center of the Ovid-Elsie Schools in Michigan. Now, George and Lynn McKinney (Head Librarian, Billings Senior High School Library, Montana) are the only school librarians who are current delegates to Members Council (I think they may be our first, as well) and we treasure them because OCLC needs to hear from K-12 librarians.

George's library has gone from an annual budget of $4000 to one over $100,000 in a region that is not wealthy by any stretch, and his library is well used by kids, even on Fridays after school is finished. So, his library is valued and the proof is in his funding and in use.

Well, the OCLC staff attending (lurking, sort of) the meeting loved these stories--positive, upbeat, successful--and we want to share them. So, I think we'll see a space created on the OCLC Community discussion pages here for librarians to share good stories about changes they're making at their libraries. But I'm going to email the people who were in that meeting and ask them to send me stories as well, and I am going to post them here. Because we especially love happy stories.

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