The Case for Expanding Our Library

 

History & Growth of YPL

Before we became the Yorktown Public Library, we existed in the 1990’s as the Wright Memorial Library, a community library supported solely by donations and volunteers. At that time, Yorktown had a population of about 4,800 and the tiny library filled a community void. However, it wasn’t long before we had outgrown the small Wright Memorial Building.

wright mem
The Wright Memorial Building in downtown Yorktown.

In 2000, the Yorktown Public Library officially opened its doors in a larger building, formerly Bonnet Drugs, where it still stands today.

o
Our current building

Now, with Yorktown’s population approaching 12,000, we are outgrowing ourselves once again.

Since 2002:

  • Our staff has increased by 260%
  • The number of public computers has increased by 380%
  • The number of materials in the library has increased by 365%
  • The number of patrons has increased by 417%
  • The circulation of materials has increased by 380%
  • Our building size has increased by 0%

growth infographic

As you can see from the infographic above, we have grown a lot in the last 15 years! The problem is, our building hasn’t grown with us. If you have visited the library during after-school hours, you can attest to our lack of space.

Along with our expansive material collection, our 24 public computers are a draw to teenagers and adults alike, which creates a competition for space when school lets out each day. One of our main goals for this expansion project is to create distinct and separate spaces for children, teens, and adults. We want everyone to feel welcome at the library anytime they visit.

As a newcomer to Yorktown who plans to raise two kids here… I LOVE the idea of a library expansion!

-Patron petition message

The Plan

We will be working with an experienced architect from a small company called Stair Associates to expand and renovate the library.

The renovation and expansion will include:

  • A 3,000 square foot addition
  • More public bathrooms (we currently have one)
  • Separate children, teen, and adult areas
  • Relocation and enlargement of conference room to create a more usable meeting room for the community
  • A local business touchscreen kiosk in the lobby that would advertise Yorktown businesses for free

The addition will also create an opportunity for a new main entry, with a new circulation desk front and center. It will also give us an opportunity to create an attractive gateway into downtown Yorktown. Parking will be moved to what is now the back lot of the building.

While it’s too early for an exact blueprint, the architect has made some visual preliminary plans.

Our Library is used by all age groups. The special sessions held there, the summer reading program for children (and their parents), and the shear number/volumes of books, DVDs and periodicals is bulging at the seams. A new attractive Library would be a great addition to Yorktown. We need some of the old buildings in town renovated and this would be a good start.

-Patron petition message

Tax Impact

The total cost of this project will be $1.8 million. The library will contribute $400,000, bringing the amount we need to $1.4 million. This is the amount we are requesting the Yorktown Town Council to approve the library to issue in bonds.

We understand that the community’s biggest concern surrounding our proposed expansion is increasing property taxes. We’ve broken down the projected cost for households, business, and farmers in a few examples below.

Households

Copy of Tax impact for homeowners

Businesses

business tax impact

Farmers

Tax impact for farmers

A town image is enhanced by the presence of a good library. The current staff provides wonderful service to patrons. The proposed expansion will allow them to provide even better service, thereby making Yorktown a more attractive community.

-Patron petition message

Economic Impact

From the information above, you can see that expanding the library will require a property tax increase. However, money spent on public libraries yields a return on that investment.

I save loads of money every year by utilizing my library’s fine collections. I love seeing it crowded with children and adults, nearly any time I’m there.

-Patron petition message

Local Businesses

On average, every $1.00 Indiana communities spend on their public library yields $2.38 in direct benefits. This figure comes from a 2005 report by the Indiana Business Research Center and is, by many estimates, conservative. Direct benefits increase depending on services that libraries are able to offer, especially to local businesses.

Because the study by the IBRC is over a decade old, modern library services aren’t taken into consideration. We are able to provide a variety of beneficial services at no cost:

  • High speed Internet access
  • Prolific and comprehensive databases 
    • legal forms, automotive manuals, marketing tools, ancestry.com library edition, resume builder, foreign language education, and so much more!
  • Meeting/conference room
  • One-on-one computer classes

 

wayfinding-2
Example of touchscreen kiosk with map directory

The services listed above help local businesses. By expanding the library, we would be able to expand these services as well. An enlarged conference room, for example, will enable local businesses and groups to have a free meeting space that fits their needs.

A local business touchscreen kiosk in the lobby would advertise businesses in the area for free.

In addition, by separating the adult space from the teen and children spaces, you’ll have access to a quiet work space no matter the time of day.

Patrons

Many benefits for local businesses also directly benefit patrons. High speed Internet access, comprehensive databases, a meeting room, and computer classes can all be taken advantage of by patrons.

A library should be a gathering place for the community. The Yorktown library is not attractive and does not have the space for very many activities.

-Patron petition message

By expanding the library, we’ll be able to offer our patrons additional services to those listed above:

  • More materials
    • More square footage will mean more room for shelving units
  • More programs and services
    • More space will allow us to host more events at the library, including classes and guest speakers/authors
    • We’ve discussed using some of the extra room to create a maker’s space. Maker’s spaces typically have things like sewing machines, 3D printers, and more.
  • Self-checkout
      • Many of you have asked us about self-checkout stations. With more room for these stations, that will be a viable option.
        Self_checkout_in_library
        Example of a self-checkout station.

         

     

Conclusion

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to sign our petition to the Yorktown Town Council, we hope the information presented here has helped. We are asking the Council to approve $1.4 million in bonds for this project. You can review the potential cost for your household, business, or farm in the examples above, under Tax Impact.

I would love to see are [sic] library grow with growth in knowledge would mean a stronger community and with a stronger community backed with knowledge what wrong would we be doing?

-Patron petition message

It is the mission of the Yorktown Public Library to provide a variety of current materials and services to meet the educational, informational, and recreational needs of the community. As our community has grown to a population of nearly 12,000, we must also grow to meet their needs. It is a pleasure to serve this community, and we want to do so to the best of our ability.

You can sign our petition online or in person at the library. If you would like to volunteer to take the petition around your neighborhood, or if you would like information regarding our letter writing campaign, contact Liz Rozelle at lizrozelle@yorktownlib.org.

We cannot do this project without your support!

Please approve this! What a wonderful idea and would add value to our community!

-Patron petition message

One More Thing…

Untitled design (3)
Patron receipt with amount saved in 2017

On the bottom of every checkout receipt you receive from the library, you can see how much you’ve saved year-to-date by using the library instead of purchasing materials from retailers.

We ran a report to see how much all of our patrons have saved so far in 2017.

That amount?

$1.4 million

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Apollo Biblionix. “Member Amount Saved Report.” Indiana, 19 Oct. 2017.

http://www.ibrc.indiana.edu/studies/EconomicImpactOfLibraries_2007.pdf

http://www.incontext.indiana.edu/2007/december/6.asp

http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/yorktown/2015/02/05/yorktown-public-library-loses-two-key-board-members/22917885/

 

 

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Celebrating Banned Books Week!

This week (September 24-30) marks the beginning of Banned Books Week! During this week, libraries, teachers, and bookstores all around the country encourage you to use your First Amendment rights and read banned and challenged books. 

Why do we celebrate Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 by librarian activist, Judith Krug. Krug, in partnership with the American Library Association, wanted to draw attention to the issue of censorship after the group Moral Majority, led by televangelist Jerry Falwell, began challenging books in public and school libraries. Censorship incidents jumped from 300 in 1980 to nearly 1,000 in 1982. Banned Books Week was founded as a response to this quest for censorship and has been quite successful. In 2016, 323 challenges were reported to the American Library Association.

Book challenges (3)_0

Challenges do not always equal a ban. A challenge is the attempt to remove a book from an institution (i.e. schools and libraries), while a ban is the actual removal of that title. This distinction is important to consider. Challenging a book may, in fact, lead to an open discussion about that book’s themes and engage a community. However, if a challenge leads to a ban (it is the first step of a ban, after all), that discussion is cut off.

An argument may be presented that “banning” a book from a library doesn’t totally restrict access to that book. After all, Amazon exists, as well as a host of other retailers. But that’s the problem. Banning a book from a library restricts the FREE access of that book. Libraries exist to serve the entire community, including those who need free access to information. Judith Krug illustrated this point in 2002:

“Some users find materials in their local library collection to be untrue, offensive, harmful or even dangerous. But libraries serve the information needs of all of the people in the community—not just the loudest, not just the most powerful, not even just the majority. Libraries serve everyone.”

It is precisely because libraries serve everyone that one group cannot be allowed to decide what is offensive to everyone. Literature is an art form, and as such, it is subjective. It is our job as librarians to ensure that every member of our community has equal access to that art. As the old saying goes: “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.”

BBW.17.IF

How do I celebrate Banned Books Week?

By reading a banned book, of course! Many books have been banned over the course of history, including classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, and Beloved. You can find a full list of banned books that helped shape America here.

As discussed above, before books are banned, they are first challenged. The top ten challenged books of 2016 are listed below. Titles with links will take you directly to our catalog, where you can see if the book is available or place a hold!

Top10_0

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language

Go forth and celebrate your First Amendment rights!

You may want to read many of the banned/challenged books in these lists, or none at all. Celebrating Banned Books Week is as much about reading what you desire as it is about not infringing on the rights of others to do the same.

Let us know what banned or challenged book you’re reading in the comments below!

 

Sources: 

A. (2017, April). The State of America’s Libraries 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.ala.org/news/sites/ala.org.news/files/content/State-of-Americas-Libraries-Report-2017.pdf

About. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/about

Crum, M. (2015, September 28). This Is Why You Should Celebrate Banned Books Week. Retrieved September 19, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/celebrate-banned-books-week_us_56096a1ae4b0768126fe4cca

Jerry Falwell, Judith Krug, and the Origins of ‘Banned Books Week’. (2015, October 02). Retrieved September 19, 2017, from https://longreads.com/2015/10/02/jerry-falwell-judith-krug-and-the-origins-of-banned-books-week/

 

Falling Back Into The Library

September is here! We know many of you are excited for the cooler weather, hot beverages, football, and pumpkin spice flavored everything, and we are too! Not only are we excited for Fall here at the library; we’re excited for the return of another season of great family programming!

The Summer Reading Program was super this year, and now it’s time to return to Story Time, Teen Scene, Toddler Exploration, Family Bingo, and two new raffles!

 

Children’s Programming

Beginning September 9, Story Times are back in session. We offer two different story times, each suited to different age groups. Tiny Tots is a story time for our youngest patrons and a caregiver. Enjoy stories, songs, fingerplays, and bubbles! Tiny Tots lasts about as long as their attention span–20-30 minutes, every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.. We encourage you to stay and play afterwards!

tiny tots
Kids enjoy dancing in the bubbles at Tiny Tots!

Our second story time, Bookworms, is designed for pre-K children ages 3-5 and their caregiver. Sing songs, listen to stories, play games, improve early literacy skills, and participate in art activities! Bookworms lasts a bit longer than Tiny Tots–45-60 minutes, every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Go ahead…be a Bookworm!

Playing a fun game with our Children's Librarian at Bookworms!
Playing a fun game with our Children’s Librarian at Bookworms!

In addition to our two story times, we also offer a monthly program called Toddler Exploration. Toddler Exploration is all about–you guessed it–letting toddlers explore the world around them! Our children’s librarian sets up five different, self-directed hands-on stations for the little ones (18-36 months) to explore their senses. The theme changes each month, and September’s theme is ABCs and 123s. Come dressed to make a mess, September 11 at 10:30 a.m.!

Getting messy decorating cookies at Toddler Exploration!
Getting messy decorating cookies at Toddler Exploration!

 

Teen Programming

Not only do we offer programming for children, we also offer a fun after school activity for teens! Teen Scene meets for an hour, one to two Friday(s) a month. At Teen Scene, you’ll make art, perform experiments, play games, and hang out with your friends at the library. We even provide snacks! There’s no need to sign up; just check out our event calendar, and come to the library to enjoy! September’s Teen Scene is on September 18 at 3:30 p.m.!

Teens painted book ends, based on their favorite YA novels, to be used in the YA section of the library!
Teens painted book ends, based on their favorite YA novels, to be used in the YA section of the library!

Fun For The Whole Family!

We’ve covered children and teen programming, but what about something the whole family can enjoy? Enter Family Bingo Night! A very popular monthly event at the library, Family Bingo has a different theme each month, which the prizes reflect. This month, the theme is Family Movie Bingo, and the prizes are all great movies you can enjoy with your family! Family Bingo will be held September 17 at 6:00 p.m. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up at the circulation desk today!

Families enjoying programming at the library!
Families enjoying programming at the library!

 

In addition to Family Bingo, we also have a great raffle going on for the entire family! This year’s Fall Break Raffle offers a prize package of Two VIP Car Passes to African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton, Ohio, Four Tickets to Muncie Civic Theatre’s Production of Into the Woods, Four Passes to Climb Time Indy, Tuttle Orchards Family Fun Pack: four passes to the Agrimaze, Kid’s Area, Hayride, and four free caramel apples, and Eight Coupons for a free custard cone at Culver’s. Talk about a great staycation! Tickets are $2.00 apiece, or three for $5.00. All proceeds go towards the 2016 Summer Reading program.

As if the Fall Break Raffle wasn’t enough, we’re also offering a great promotion if you sign up for a library card this month! September is National Library card Sign-Up Month, and we are offering each person who signs up for a library card a raffle ticket to win a Kindle Fire HD6! Current patrons, don’t worry! You will also be entered into the raffle if you refer someone to be a new member! This promotion will run from September 1 to September 30, with the drawing for the Kindle Fire HD6 will be held on October 1, at 10:00 a.m.!

As the year continues, there will be even more great programming to look forward to: 12 Weeks of Reading, Blind Date With a Book, holiday programming, and so much more! We love providing our patrons with these programs. There are some who believe libraries to be obsolete. What use would we have for libraries in our modern, digital world? Thankfully, we know that’s not true! Thanks to children’s programming, which improves early literacy and education, and teen programming which provides a safe after-school place for teenagers, and family programming which provides free entertainment to our community, we know that we’ll be around for a long time! We appreciate all of our patrons who make our library so great! If you’ve never been to your library, stop in, and explore all of your opportunities today!