For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
September 18, 2008 - Budget Tips from an Average Joe
By Katie Klossner, Community Relations Manager
When people find out I work for Douglas County Libraries (DCL), I am often mistaken for a librarian. I can see the disappointment in their faces when I gently explain I am not able to help them with a reference or research question (or even remove any library fines they may have). I am honored folks think I am a librarian, as I have a great deal of respect for these incredibly bright, educated, and friendly resources that work the public areas of our library world.
I can usually be found working in a small administrative office within another area of the Philip S. Miller Library. Ironically, even though I work within a library, I have always been just an ‘average Joe’ library user. However, due to the challenging economy, my family and I have been using the library more and more within the past year or so. In fact, I made it a budget goal for my family to save money by using the library. Here are some of my easiest cost savings tips:
1. Don’t Buy Books (Approximate savings: $300/year; $25/month)
The most obvious and immediate cost savings was to stop buying books, and start putting them on hold at the library (for ease of a quick pick-up). With both teenagers and toddlers at home, that's a big savings.
2. Stop Magazine Subscriptions (Approximate savings: $144/year; $12/month)
While it was tough to stop receiving my favorite parenting/self-help magazines at home, and for my husband not to receive his NY Giants magazine, we canceled all magazine subscriptions. I found three free ways to access magazines at the library. I can read them online via DCL’s magazine database (using my library card number). I can relax onsite at the library in a comfy chair browsing through my favorites. Finally, depending on the magazine and library location, I just check out my favorite magazine to enjoy at home.
3. Canceled Netflix (Approximate savings: $216/year; $18/month)
I had originally thought using the Netflix (or other similar service) was the cheapest way to get movies. But, with the ease of browsing popular movie titles at DouglasCountyLibraries.org, I select the movie we want to see and put it on hold. Depending on the release date and/or the movie’s popularity, it may take 2 days, several weeks, or even months, before we get to watch it - but we save money!
4. No More Jazzercise (Approximate savings: $468/year; $39/month)
While I sincerely miss the camaraderie (or was it commiserating?) from a variety of exercise friends at my Jazzercise class, I canceled my membership. I did go through a period of laziness after this, but now I have a blast checking out various “10 Minute Solutions” dance/exercise DVDs from the library district.
5. Free Family Fun (Approximate savings: Priceless)
At least 1-2 times a year, my four and a half year old daughter, Ellie, and I would drive up to the Arvada Center to enjoy a professional children’s theatrical production. While the tickets were reasonable, the gas made the trip a lot more expensive. Now we seek out any/all free entertainment the library has to offer. I’ve even set up the online library calendar for them to email me upcoming events. This past summer we enjoyed the FREE professional children’s theatrical production the library offered through their Page to Stage Productions program. Ellie also enjoys the monthly pajama storytimes, more than any Broadway musical! How cool is it for a preschooler to dress up in her favorite pajamas and head to the library – where a roomful of kids in PJs enjoy a lively storytelling from their favorite children’s librarian?? Priceless.
Total savings, just in using these 5 tips: $1,128/year
Think of all the things you could do with an extra thousand dollars in a year! I may not be a librarian, but even an ‘average Joe’ user can figure out that a public library saves money for families.
Katie Klossner has been the Community Relations Manager for Douglas County Libraries since 2000, and an ‘average Joe’ library user at Douglas County Libraries since 1996.