From the Director's Desk - January 2014

January 2014

Like many of you, I have had time away over the past month.  I have been reflecting on the role of the public library  in the abstract, and considering the role of community libraries serving smaller towns, and of course the New Canaan library specifically.

In libraries of all types and sizes, change is our constant.  As it ever was, our purpose is to provide access to information and to facilitate the exchange of ideas in a community focused non-commercial space. Over time the way we achieve each part of this mission has changed. 

The ways in which we provide access have expanded tremendously.  Globalised, digitized information sources mean we can now provide digital news from around the globe in any language, as well as our local and regional papers in print. We have digitized our own special heritage materials, including papers and video content so that it can now be viewed by a larger, wider, indeed global audience.

The way we facilitate the exchange of ideas is changing too. The range and complexity of digital sources has made finding the information like drinking from a fire hydrant.   The skills of our library staff to provide pathways to sources one needs, as well as helping to navigate that path.  Librarians are needed now more than ever to find the right information.  

To provide the level of expert help needed, within the realities of our finite resources, means we are changing the way customer services staff are organized so we can serve our community better than ever. We are a center of lifelong learning, providing a growing breadth of classes and programs.

Change is coming to our library; small changes that you will see when you visit the library and larger changes that will happen over time.

 In response to the clearly expressed needs of our community, we are installing more seating for library users who wish to make use of library spaces for work.  Many of our regular library users work from different spaces during the week, an office in NY, at home, at the library.  Our new work space makes working at the library a better option than ever, with our excellent free wifi and friendly staff available to help you with all your information needs.

At the same time our news and media room (Salant room)  will have quieter, comfortable seating for reading newspapers and magazines

There will be a large new bulletin board just to the right of our main doors where everyone in town can post notices for events, groups, help wanted, where babysitters and dog walkers can advertise their services.

In the weeks ahead, we will be making some more positive changes to the way we serve you, with our new one stop customer service point.  At this new desk (fully funded by a very generous benefactor)  we will look after all your library needs: information / reference; help with choosing or finding  a great new book,  help to access our extensive and growing digital collections through your device ( iphone, android tablet, kindle etc) including our latest digital service: streaming video.

We are also about to undertake a feasibility study to understand the level of support for a new library building that exists in the New Canaan community.  When completed, this spring, the results of this study will provide us with guidance on next steps toward a new facility.  Meanwhile, we will work to provide the best possible services, spaces, collections, programs, and classes to all New Canaanites.