“The Library is one of the things that ties our community together.”
Grateful! That word sums up the feeling many people have right now about the East Side Library staying open in 2011. To summarize recent news, the proposal to close the East Side Library due to a large budget shortfall has been eliminated because the Library’s employee groups have agreed to extremely conservative pay increases for 2011. These agreements allowed money that was set aside for compensation to be diverted to the East Side Library, permitting it to stay open with its current schedule in 2011.
This fall has been extremely difficult as we faced the potential closure of a branch. It left a strong impression on everyone involved – the community, the library staff and the library board members. The outpouring of support has been incredible, and it’s very clear that Spokane cares deeply about its libraries and values the role they play in the community. In the past three months, we received over 200 letters from community members, many from children who use the East Side Library.
The letters came from individuals all over the city. No matter which part of town they lived in, they all stressed how important the library is to their neighborhood. They said that it is an active and important part of their community: a safe place where they meet friends, learn, do homework, read, look for jobs, use the computers… the list goes on. A sixth grader at Sheridan shared that, “The library is one of the things that ties our community together. If you decide to close the library all of that will be lost, and I personally love the library and I love to read, it’s one of my favorite things to do.” This feeling of community really resonated, and the collective voice of these individuals made the strongest impression on everyone involved.
Above is one of the comments we received from a younger community member. Please click on it or click here to read more of the letters from students at Sheridan Elementary - they are awesome letters!
Meet Our Current Board of Trustees
Following the last few Board meetings we had many requests from customers to know more about our Board of Trustees--who they were and how to contact them. The print version of the January newsletter includes a page with photos of the current board and short bios for each of them. We've made this information a permanent part of our website so you can find out who these dedicated volunteers are. The Board of Trustees page also includes information about their meeting schedule as well as links to past minutes and the upcoming meeting's agenda. Visitors are always welcome at Board meetings. You can contact the Board or Library Director anytime if you have a question or comment about the library system.
Library Board of Trustees Seeks New Member
On March 31, 2011, a vacancy will open on the library’s Board of Trustees. Serving on the library’s Board offers a great opportunity to contribute to your community—not to mention a chance to learn about how your library works. We strongly encourage interested citizens to apply.
Five citizen volunteers, each appointed by the Mayor, comprise the Board of Trustees. The Board governs the library. It meets monthly to review and approve Library policies and expenditures. It makes final decisions about major aspects of library business. Volunteers serve a five-year term and can apply for a second five-year term if they wish.
Board members provide valuable service to both citizens and the library. The Board makes decisions that maintain and allocate library resources for public use. It also brings the perspectives of non-employee citizens to the library’s governance. In short, the Board connects the library to the citizens it serves. Its oversight creates a crucial bridge that allows the library to continue to meet citizens’ needs.
The library greatly appreciates the time dedicated by our Board members. They consistently impress us with their commitment to improving library services and offering citizens maximum value for their tax dollar.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the library’s Board, you can get an application at the Mayor’s office or from the City’s website (www.spokanecity.org/government/bcc/). For more information, please contact Catherine Gallaher at 625-6250.
Recommended Reading Lists Make You Smart
The print version of our newsletter always includes a list of recommended reads on some subject or another. This month's included a list of recommendations from our Facebook fans. There are some great discussions (books and otherwise) happening on our Facebook page -- make sure you "like" us so you can be part of the discussion.
The newsletter's recommended reads may not always suit you since we choose the subject matter. You can get a more customized recommended reading list by signing up for the NextReads email newsletters. Each newsletter contains recommendations on a particular subject: mystery, historical fiction, home and garden/DIY - there are 18 subjects to choose from. Even if you don't plan on reading all these books you can read the short reviews and SOUND really knowledgeable about books to your friends! Go for it; you can always hit delete if the pile of books on your bedside table becomes too precarious.
It Really All Adds Up!
At the end of the year, when our Library Foundation office counted up all the coins and crinkly ones and fives from the donation boxes at the check-out desks, it added up to $1202.82! That's nothing to sneeze at! These small donations are super-welcome. A donation does not have to be large (though we certainly welcome larger donations).
Here's something else to think about: On average, over 30,000 different people check out items from the library each month. If each of them dropped a dime in the donation box, that would be $3000. In one month! What this really means is that when you put all these donations together they add up to a whole lot of good for the library. That is what the Foundation does for us - it leverages the power of all donations to create the biggest impact.
The outpouring of support for the libraries this year has been amazing. It hasn't just been the letters from school children and people emailing to tell us to hang in there–many people have asked how they can directly support the libraries financially. We prefer that all monetary donations be directed through the Spokane Public Library Foundation. Recent donations that came in to support the East Side library are being used specifically for materials for that location.
Thank you for supporting your libraries!
All libraries are closed on January 17 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. All locations will be open on Tuesday, January 18 at their normal times.
Let your hair down, weave in a few daisies and join us for Hair on January 12 at 5:30 at the Downtown Library. Free, of course!
Save the date for the next Friends of the Library book sale - February 17 - 19 with a special pre-sale the evening of the 16th for Friends' members.
Be green and tote your books home in a navy blue, reusable canvas bag that supports the Friends of the Library. A bargain ($5), available at all library locations.
Did your ancestors travel here by land or sea? Stop by the Genealogy Department (Downtown) on Tuesdays and talk to one
of our excellent volunteers!
February's Heart of Spirituality book discussion will be about Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard - February 15, 6:30.