This past week our new Marshall Lyon County Library opened its doors to the residents of the city of Marshall and Lyon County. This building and its staff will be able to continue the mission of providing the optimal library cultural environment to enhance the abilities of its patrons of all ages,
During the past several years, many concerned citizens of our area have worked to bring this building to fruition. Several of these "library leaders" were present and recognized at the recent grand opening ceremony at the library.
Some of the former directors of the library were here to celebrate the new facility, the latest in the 120 year history of the library. This third building to house the library replaces the Carnegie building on Lyon Street built in 1903 and its successor built in 1967.
Especially in this age of technology, one might think a new library building unnecessary since "all the information can be obtained from the Internet." Indeed, the Internet provides both an exponential increase in the amount and accessibility of certain knowledge. However, no computer, e-device, book, pamphlet, video, etc., is a library. A library is an environment in which professionals in media specialties facilitate the optimal use of all available aspects of recorded information. They do so in a comfortable, safe, encouraging and appealing environment where learning and exploration is encouraged. They are catalysts for utilizing and enjoying the library. Talking is permitted in our new librarybut in specialized rooms for that purpose!
When describing the goals of the libraries in general and the MLCL specifically, library director Holly Martin Hoffman related to me that libraries reflect the needs of the populations they serve. Regarding the question of technology and its impact on library materials, she informed me that our library has more than 71,000 items available to users, and these residents used these items in a "circulation" of nearly 200,000 transactions in 2010. However, even in 2011, the libraries in metropolitan and smaller areas still have less that 1 percent of their items as electronic offerings!
Fourteen staff members are the most important part of our new library. Some of their activities are very visible to all while other aspects are less well known. Notably, the new library has a dedicated children's librarian and department which features appropriately sized books, equipment, and computers. Specific programs throughout the year are offered to these library neophytes to begin their adventures in library experiences. A "teen" area has its own librarian, materials, space, and a "vocal" room to maintain the calm atmosphere of the library. A relaxing "living room" area is centered around a fireplace visible while exploring the library and its offerings.
Inreach and outreach activities of the library include home school meetings in the library to utilize the facilities and materials, special lectures and activities held in the Community Meeting Room, book and materials deliveries to residential facilities in the Marshall areas on a regular basis to serve the needs of that population, and the operations of the library's branch offices in Cottonwood and Tracy.
I am impressed by the goals and concepts of the staff and the facilities of our new library. You, too, will feel the renewed excitement of this environment of learning. Take advantage of this new facility and its opportunities as often as possible. Undoubtedly, you will have a similar response to that of the young girl who, upon entering the new library for her first visit, expressed her opinion of the sight in one word: "Wow!"