At a library that has over 3,000 events a year, what would stand out as the best of 2012? Julianne Hancock, the Manager of Communications and Library Innovation at the Salt Lake City Public Library and several librarians weigh in on this year in review.
Outstanding in the nation
Julianne Hancock has been with the library for 18 months and has seen amazing innovations in the library that have moved it more in the direction of recognizing the community needs and meeting them with creativity, precision and intelligence.
Valuable community resource
In a time when the recession has seen the closure of libraries across America and major cuts in library budgets, the Salt Lake City Public Library system is a nationwide stand-out in using it’s resources to become ever more valuable to the community.
With circulation nosediving but foot traffic way up, the proof of how correct the evolutionary steps the library has taken from becoming a repository of knowledge to focusing on being a place where the community comes to learn and work together is being proven as right with each passing month.
Communities are finding that this is the place to come together to solve issues in their neighborhoods and pursue interests dear to their hearts.
The library is becoming more streamlined and will take even more impressive steps in the future to better specifically meet the needs of Salt Lake City. With innovative approaches to where best use their manpower and using technology to better free it up, it will be able to open two new branches, one in Glendale and one in Marmalade, in the coming years at a time when many libraries hope to just stay open.
In Salt Lake City, patrons are becoming more interested in Wifi than using the computers at the libraries. Since Christmas, more people have e-readers, tablets and other devices and are interested in the thousands of e-books, digital magazines, freegal music, streaming music and movies to download that the library offers.
The library strives for equitable services to reach the entire community. They have a mobil lab for teaching computer competency and have community and partner motivated services that create services especially for young adults 12 – 18 years old including labs for filmmaking.
The book will never die and the library is creating collections to more specifically target the needs of the individual communities through floating collections, giving away 6,000 books to kids every year and rotating collections specifically picked out for various senior communities.
Another way the library is staying viable in these tough economic times is by taking advantage of available government funding. By complying with the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Erate, and implementing system-wide filtering in January the library will save a quarter of a million dollars.
The Main Library has a theater that is a modern and spartan version of the Capitol Theater. Not a bad seat in the house. Excellent speakers are brought in and free movies are shown. Sundance screens films here and is upgrading some of the equipment for an even better movie experience.