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Library service of today, tomorrow eyed

By Shelley Anderson, Ellsworth Public Library Director 

The public library in today’s world is an ever-changing place of service and knowledge.

Most people hear public library and think books. In truth, public libraries are about providing service.

While books have been a major way that service was delivered in the past, today’s library services have grown and changed in response to changes in demographics, information needs and technology advances. For example, the public library still provides books, but those books may be in print, audio or electronic form (plus the DVD of the movie based on the book).

Public libraries also provide public computers, internet access, important online databases and a lot of programming. Today’s libraries serve as busy community centers with scores of educational and personal enrichment programs--from quilting programs to computer classes. These programs foster face-to-face dialogue, group learning, and provide social settings supporting civic engagement and personal interaction for all ages.

Also, new technology is being devised at an unbelievable rate--resources an individual may find too expensive to own, but can still benefit from using--3-D printers, laser cutters, audio and video production software, sewing machines and much more are making their way into 21st Century libraries.

As the Ellsworth Public Library strives to fulfill its mission to provide quality services and materials in modern times, the tools and space our staff relies on have become substantially outdated. To deliver on our service goal of fulfilling the educational, informational, cultural and recreational needs of the entire community, our public library needs welcoming spaces, expanded collections, up-do-date technology and expanding services.

A new public library, cultural arts and community center-type space would provide a much-needed amenity for our community. A thriving, 21st Century public library designed to inform, educate, entertain and enrich our citizens will bring business and families to Ellsworth. Potential business owners look for a forward-thinking, socially conscious community in which their business and employees can thrive. Families look for excellent schools, churches and community gathering places like libraries and green spaces.

Ellsworth is experiencing a surge in business growth at the present time; an increase in population is sure to follow. A modern public library could help drive that growth, while giving our citizens a beautiful, functional space to use, learn and thrive in.

We’d like our community library to be a 21st Century library, designed to accommodate the changing ways people learn, seek information and engage in community. Today’s library designs are much more flexible, permitting easy adaptation to changing needs. A modern library design spans generations and can adjust to emerging ways of learning and interacting as they develop.

Let’s work together to provide our community with a public library that will meet its needs of today and tomorrow.

Please feel free to call with questions, comments or just to share your thoughts: Shelley Anderson, Director, 715-273-3209.