Thursday, March 12, 2009

Farmington Libraries FY 2008-2009

Farmington Libraries FY 2008-2009
Budget Remarks
Farmington Town Council
March 10, 2009
by Jay Johnston, Executive Director

As we are reminded daily, these are difficult times. Surely there are no easy solutions to the problems presented by this complex economic downturn. All of us must be responsible for taking measures to operate efficiently and effectively in this distressed economy. To that end, I am here to tell you that your libraries are taking actions to help our citizens cope with the economic downturn and, with your help, we will continue to do so.

How do the libraries help? We provide essential services such as high speed internet access, high quality printing, and books on specialized topics like refresher skills on computer assisted drawing, CAD, for job interviews and vocational and testing guides. We have books and DVDs on colleges, SAT testing, medicine, and nutrition. The libraries offer FAX services, free notary, and national newspapers. In addition, the library is a place where more people now come for the day with their children, and where people looking for work spend long periods of time studying, searching for prospects, and preparing for job interviews. Other people just love the library as a place to be and use it regularly.

We are planning a new online service, “JobNow,” to provide resume review, interview practice, and cover letter assistance to job seekers. The libraries provide social networking opportunities for those who have lost their jobs, and they are a place to network with employers and others to develop new models in small groups.

As a result of these initiatives, our overall service delivery increased almost three times the town’s population in the six month period between July 1 and December 31, 2008. In order to respond to the economy, we focused on increasing the social, economic, and educational opportunities which the libraries can provide to our residents. We developed new programs by identifying current changes in technology, now incorporated into programs like using departmental blogs to communicate programming and events. Library staff teach software application classes through Computer-U, our newest service, and the library has a Job Center developed through a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. These programs have increased participation and added value to all of our service areas, as revealed in the statistics from July 1 to December 31, 2008. Lending is up 10% or 22,436 items; visits are up 13% or 16,297 more visitors; program attendance is up 5%, or 722 attendees; information requests are up 39% or 8,649 transactions; and computer use is up 26% or 3,665 sessions.

Farmington Libraries function as a community gathering place and learning center for pre-school children, adults, business people, professionals, teens, and all our residents. The libraries support the entire community in very personal, individual and special ways. They are the social and learning hub of the community and now face extraordinary challenges in meeting the new and expanding needs of our citizens brought on by the economy. We are committed to outstanding service to our citizen customers and look forward to being a part of the solution in these troubled times.