Library customers -- by long tradition called "patrons" -- fall into one of several camps.
Self-helpers. At the library, whether they stop by for their own pleasure, or for research, they are happiest when they can find what they want themselves.
The Douglas Public Library District was formed in 1990. Since then, the Board of Trustees has worked through two five year plans -- we added hours, built and renovated buildings, grew our collection, and grew our staff hours and expertise. In the process we have become one of the busiest libraries in the state of Colorado.
As we enter the first true year of the new millennium, it's time for another plan.
There are several ways to go about planning. One way is to look at the numbers.
For the past several years, I've been reprinting what I've come to think of as "my Christmas column" -- a tradition. I hope you enjoy it.
What we really need is an all-purpose gift that will satisfy everybody. It should be suitable for all ages. It should require no assembly. It shouldn't need batteries. You shouldn't have to feed it. It should last forever. It should be constantly entertaining. The more the recipient uses it, the more he or she should like it.
And of course, it should be free.
At a recent Library Board retreat (nothing fancy -- just a Saturday meeting in Castle Rock) we talked about two perennial concerns: containing costs, and growing new services.
One of the costs involves keeping in touch with our patrons. Our circulation -- the number of items we check out -- continues to grow by double digits. So we have to let people know when their holds have come in. We have to let them know when their items are overdue.