Part 1 of this interview can be found here.
And now, without further ado…here is the second part of the staff interview with Charlene Churchill.
What is one of your favorite library memories?
I think this talks to the sense of community thing. I was the director in the library I grew up in from 2001 part way through 2006 when I was getting my Master’s degree. The town has 800 year round residents and then a bunch of “summer people” that have seasonal homes there. And one day, I was sitting at my desk, which happened to be right across the room from where all the DVDs were and I heard three people talking. It started out they were talking about a particular movie that was set in India. I finally got from the conversation that all three of them had been to India at various times. From the conversation I realized that probably they didn’t know each other, even in this community of 800 residents and all three of them were year round residents. So I said “Do you three know each other?” And it was kind of like “no, no, no, we don’t” so I introduced them to each other. I explained where each person lived (what road they lived on) and all of a sudden they’re talking away like they’ve been friends for life. And it ended up that the three of them went back to India, together on a trip.
Really? Oh, that’s great.
Yeah, it was really great. So, it’s an example of building community and how great it is when people can find other people with common interests through the library. I think an important thing that we do is connect people.
How do you think libraries will change in the next few years to accommodate the popularity of e-books?
That’s really hard to know because things change so fast. It’s kind of a e-book today, gone tomorrow kind of thing [laughs]. Some of the people who are writing and speaking about the library world of the future feel strongly that e-books are a stepping stone to something else, whatever that may end up being. So, I think libraries need to have e-books in their collection.
I think that being part of a statewide group is a good way to be involved in that resource without dumping all of our eggs into that basket. We’re still buying books on CD, we’re still buying print books. We have all those different formats available to people. I think we need to work on trying to make sure that everybody that uses the library knows we have e-books available. This can be a challenge because we’re not used to marketing ourselves, I think. But, that’s important.
For our budget year that we have coming up I actually took some of our book money and our audio/visual money and made a new line item that says “electronic resources” so we’d be using that to purchase e-books, and I’m not sure yet whether we’re going to do that on our own, or if we’re going to do it as part of the statewide group. I think that there are pluses and minuses to both things. I think one of the challenges with the statewide group is with popular things people have to wait quite a long time because there’s only a certain number of copies available and 15 copies of The Hunger Games, for instance, doesn’t go very far when the movie is coming out!
Right, and then you have to wait. You’re, like, 8th on the list, or something.
Right. And some people are patient and some people aren’t. I think libraries have to be open to new things, whatever that is. And I think that along with having e-books available are things like being able to help people with their e-reader, helping them understand how it works and how to download things, that’s a great service that we can offer to people.
We could also explore more about electronic resources in terms of programming that is oriented around things that are only available electronically. It’s really hard to know and it’s hard to keep up with because things are moving so quickly. We’ll see. But, I think we have to keep up with what people in our community are using because otherwise they won’t see any need for the library and that would be a real tragedy for any community.