Trustee

Summer 2014

The Trustee communicates issues affecting libraries and library services. Once a library and systems join LTA, all their trustees automatically receive this quarterly publication published by LTA. To learn more about membership in LTA, Click Here.

From the Editor's Desk

Summer 2014 issue of Trustee

How do you define a library? The website Dictionary.com give us definitions:

li·brar·y

 [lahy-brer-ee, -bruh-ree, -bree]

noun, plural li·brar·ies.

1.    a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed.

2.    a public body organizing and maintaining such an establishment.

It is interesting to note that, in the first definition, no parameters are given for size or topic or location. I think that is important to keep in mind. Could an individual’s home library consist of one or two books and perhaps 5 cd’s and 5 dvd’s? Is it kept in a box, on a shelf or in a room? Size and type of materials is determined by the user.

For public libraries, size and type of materials are also determined by the user to a great extent. You see a picture here of a collection of baking pans at a library. An unusual category to be sure, but it illustrates a “topic” that was important to that community’s library patrons. What a wonderful way to share resources! You also see a photo of a library set up for use by the troops during WW2. I would never have dreamt that a library would be available in that circumstance. Yet, the photo illustrates that libraries were recognized as important to those soldiers. Regardless of what our life situation presents to us, mankind wants and uses a variety of media to study, learn, escape from day to day challenges, and entertain itself.

What is my point? My point, or recommendation, is that we, as trustees, must try respond to the needs and interests of our library patrons. We do that by taking guidance from our library directors and staff on what they see as trends and important topics. We also do that by honing our skills as trustees so that we are skilled handling budgets, community outreach, understanding the basic rules that govern us and by keeping up with the times.

The library I went to as a child is not the same today. My public library won’t be the same as yours. They must be different. LTA is here to help trustees develop skills as a trustee to meet the needs of YOUR library as defined by size, type and the needs of your patrons.

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