One year ago I wrote a letter for ShelfLife listing our library’s intentions for 2016. We had made ten promises to voters in passing our property tax levy in May 2015, and we planned to begin the work to keep those promises in 2016. As the following indicates, in our first year of additional funding we have completed eight of those promises (√ ), with a ninth in progress. The tenth will be pursued in 2017-18.
Branch Hours are now MTWTh: 10 am-8 pm,F: 12-6 pm, S: 10 am-5 pm. Main Library is once again open on Sundays from
1-5 pm all year.
Fifteen positions have been filled at branches, along with the long vacant Downtown Services Manager position.
The materials budget has been increased by over $500,000 in 2016, enabling purchase of more items in all formats, including more e-content through Overdrive and Hoopla. All are now available through the Library’s mobile app.
We completed a system-wide upgrade to WiFi capacity and speed in July, with additional capacity added to desktop computers throughout system.
We budgeted an increase of over $350,000 for building and site repair. Increases in groundskeeping, furniture, and equipment have enabled completion of many projects. These include HVAC repairs, meeting room carpet replacement in three branches, concrete sidewalk repairs, and lighting replacements, with more to follow.
Tutor.com became available in September to library cardholders.
Hoopla is now available with streaming movies and audio, plus more e-books for our customers.
Through a Knight Foundation grant, the Microbusiness Center at Main Library officially opened in April 2016. The accompanying maker space, the TechZone@Main, has also opened, incorporating the resources, equipment, and digital media training of the Akron Digital Media Center into this space. Lynda.com is also now available, offering a broad array of online training and learning experiences.
We have identified space in the Tri-County Plaza and hope to have a finalized lease in 2016. We are preparing for the new facility by creating a collection, obtaining shelving and furnishings, and identifying needed technology. As we get closer to opening, we will hire staff with a goal of opening for service in the spring of 2017. Progress Made.
With schools moving toward digital textbooks, making the devices students use in school available for their use in our buildings is key to avoiding a secondary digital divide. We plan to move forward on this commitment in 2017-18.
On behalf of the Library’s Board of Trustees, management, and staff, we again thank the residents of Akron and Summit County for their support. Hopefully you can see from our progress in 2016 that we have been vigilant about keeping those promises made to voters in 2015. The result of your support is a bright future for our organization’s ability to contribute to the quality of life in our community.