To the editor:
In regards to your "thumbs down" on the Marshall-Lyon County Library (MLCL) in Friday's paper:
Because the MLCL policy was to keep new titles available only to MLCL taxpayers for three months (not six as erroneously reported elsewhere), the Plum Creek Library System (PCLS) stopped sharing any of their collection with MLCL as of July 2013. (Most libraries have certain collections that they never share, which have included reference/historical items, Cricut tools, Play-a-Away audios, and others ). Three months equals approximately three, 3-week checkouts, with time for the item to be on the shelf for the casual browser who does not use online hold requesting (approximately 10 percent of our patrons use online holding, 90 percent "browse").
Note that MLCL continued to share all non-new items as requested by other PCLS patrons until March 1, 2014, nine months after PCLS stopped sharing.
At 12:01 a.m. July 1, 2014, MLCL was no longer a part of PCLS.
Here's what happened when MLCL opened on July 1, and what has continued to happen since that date:
1. Cardholders from any library in the state were able to check out materials from MLCL.
2. All had access to public internet computers, (members of the MS Bike Tour, for example, appreciated this service).
3. Patrons continued to place holds on items belonging to the Marshall, Balaton, & Cottonwood libraries, and requests for materials not owned by those three are considered for purchase. Purchasing an item that will be checked out and enjoyed by many community members is often a much better use of public funds than shipping items back and forth among libraries. Plans are in place to extend borrowing from other large libraries to assist in fulfilling patron requests.
4. 50+ youth PER DAY participated in free children and teen activities, gaining science and literacy skills.
5. Several patrons took proctored exams after using the library as a study space.
6. Study rooms and the Community Room were used for meetings of several area organizations including the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Red Cross, Healthy Marshall, Breastfeeding Support, summer tutoring, and others.
7. Collaboration continued with United Way on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.
8. Two art exhibits were on display.
9. Award-winning author Candace Simar gave a well-received talk thanks to support from the Friends of the Library.
10. There were displays on having a healthy summer and STEAM-y (science, technology, engineering, art and math) reading program.
11. Planning progressed on a joint SMSU/MLCL community commemoration of WWI.
12. Special Saturday literacy & science programs were presented.
13. Patrons read area newspapers, worked on the community crossword puzzle, completed projects on their laptops with free Wi-Fi, accessed free Ancestry.com, Lynda.com and Mango Language Learning online programs, and were able to search nearly 150 years on microfilm of the Marshall Independent.
14. The library staff continues to provide friendly customer service, help with printing, copying, information on area resources, tours of the library, booking of the community and study rooms, and other assistance .
15. Construction continues on the addition of a new children's wing, thanks to the amazing donation of Bob & Phyllis Carr, and the ongoing contributions of many other community supporters.
So, what has happened since July 1? MLCL continues to supply all area library patrons, as we always have, with a wide range of materials, programs and services.
Please check out our website, MarshallLyonLibrary.org, to find out about all our programs; and use our catalog at catalog.marshalllyonlibrary.org to see the rich and varied collection of over 80,000 unique items we have to offer. (Dozens of new items are listed in the Independent every Saturday.)
Adult Services librarian
Marshall-Lyon County Library