Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Library Board, Staff Meet with Consultant

The Mancos Public Library has lots of heart - in a small and overtaxed body.

That's one way of summarizing the extensive data the library's board, staff and some supporters received during a session with library consultant Abbie Zeltzer on Wednesday, April 12.
Using the data developed during a morning meeting with the library staff, Zeltzer shared the Mancos library's current strengths, current weaknesses, future opportunities and future threats during an open workshop in the afternoon at the visitor center. Each of those aspects was considered with respect to the local library's commons mission (community meeting space), current topics and titles, general history and genealogy.

Among the current strengths listed are the "ease the public feels", children's programming, high circulation and turnover rates [of materials], "knowledgeable staff", public access computers, wireless avbility, ready reference materials at circulation desk, staff knowledge of their community, commitment to the arts, collection balance, the Southwest collection and "program variety and support of outside library community programs".

"Space" is a weakness in almost every respect - space for programs, space for collections and spae for displays. There's also not enough space available to separate activities that can interfere with each other, like children's programs and public access computers.

Future opportunities also emphasize space - space for people and space for things. The spaces for people (multi-use, young adult, children's programs and browsing lounge) carry with them threats - the budget impact of staff to schedule and monitor use, as well as cleaning, repairs and utilities.

More space is also needed for books, periodicals, prints, "technology hardware" and exhibits
When Zeltzer compared the Mancos library with the state standards, she explained that the state rates library resources as essential (25th percentile), enhanced (50th percentile), comprehensive (75th percentile), and 95th percentile.

The Mancos library has a service population of about 4,000, and it expends $4.38 per capita, which puts is almost at the comprehensive level ($4.57 per capita). Our library also has a repectable circulation (7.14 titles per capita; the state figures the enhanced level is 6.54 and comprehensive is 8.12). The turnover rate (average circulation per item owned) is also good: 1.44, which is exactly the comprehensive rate.

The needs are primarily in the areas of periodicals, non-print and audio-visual materials, volumes - and space!


(Caption: Library Consultant Abbie Zeltzer walks the board of the Mancos Public Library and other library fans through a comparison of the Mancos Library's facilities, holdings and services with comparative data from other libraries in Colorado and the 2005 Colorado Library Standards. The workshop on Wednesday will help the staff and board use the comparative data to pinpoint the capacity and features that need to be designed into the new library to be built in Empire Park.)

From the Mancos Times