Thoughts on the American Fork Public Library, in Utah

By Colleen B. Eggett, American Fork Public Library DirectorAmerican Fork Public Library

Sperling’s Best Places describes American Fork, Utah as a wonderful, happening place. The growth rate is rapid and it’s a marvelous place to raise a family.  There is room to grow. There are two major universities nearby, outstanding natural resources, and it’s close to absolutely everything while remaining unaffected by much of it. That makes for a great recipe for success.

So, I am the new American Fork Public Library Director. It is such a great opportunity.  I am grateful every day.

I would like your ideas on what would make the Library great.  Please tell us your ideas in this short survey. Or, use this QR code to access it. aflibrarydreams

Here are some of my thoughts for how our library can evolve.

  • Keep doing those key functions of the library that are so important in the community.
  • Continue to build our image and presence in the community. Everyone will know us and benefit through the library.
  • Understand better than anyone else what the community wants and needs from us. Use Abundant Community Planning to determine the needs.
  • Continue to grow the American Fork Library in dynamic ways that keep up with current technologies, using best practices from other Utah and nationwide libraries.
  • Use technology to increase cost efficiency within the available resources and keep up with growth, as well as to enhance collections, programs, spaces, and services.
  • Collaborate freely in the North Utah County Library Cooperative Library Services, using our collective experience to help us all.
  • Build the American Fork community. Get involved in the community and get the community involved in the library, reading and literacy.
  • Work with others to secure funding for expansion of the Bryan McKay Eddington Learning Center. Use great design and appealing features in creating a new space. Keep a close connection between the Learning Center and the Library.
  • Completely value Sheena’s great contributions to the community and the library in the many years she was here. Build on what she and the staff accomplished.
  • Use and promote the incredible resources that we already have at no cost to us through Pioneer: Utah’s Online Library. Customize it to the American Fork Library.
    • eBooks and e-Audiobooksiphone
    • Online local newspapers
    • Heritage Quest genealogy
    • Auto repair manuals and service tips
    • Learning Express GED, SAT, ACT, GRE tests, more
  • Continue to make our online presence dynamic and evolving.
    • Use social media and our website to inform and engage the community.
    • Use online registration (free) for Storytime, Programs, Summer Reading.

The four most powerful words in our language are, “Tell me a story.” I can never overestimate the importance that libraries play in people’s lives. We hope to do the same for you.

Albert Einstein is one of my favorite people in the universe

Albert Einstein is one of my favorite people in the universe.

einstein

No, I didn’t meet him personally; no matter my current age I was way beyond his time. When I first had an awareness of him I was in high school, or maybe junior high, and he was gone.  I’d heard about him, studied him and his theories, dreamed of making that next great discovery. And taken in his thoughts about how the universe was ordered.

A long-time friend of mine knew him intimately in Princeton. So one time over dinner, I asked him, “What was Albert Einstein like?” He told me he was just like his pictures. He had long untamed hair, walked around town with shorts and sandals, and was socially aloof. When invited to dinner or social invitations but usually turned them down, preferring the quiet solitude of his own home. Yet he had causes that he cared deeply about and would get out on a limb to support things he felt were justified.  My friend felt that if Einstein were more socially engaged it would have helped his causes. My friend told me the story, which I’d read about before, of the time that Einstein was out walking near a soy field. The person he was walking with asked him what the plant was that was growing. Einstein replied, “I can’t know everything.” Einstein wasn’t particularly religious. He had an underlying belief in a creator of the universe but wasn’t too worried about religion as a matter of daily thought or practice. Yet he was so thick in his science that he did things and discovered things that were amazing. He was all about innovation. He was a genius.

Maybe it was lack of social consciousness that gave him the courage to try and make mistakes and try again. He just didn’t care about what others thought of him or what he wore or the looks of his hair. At least towards the end of his life.

Maybe it was his native brilliance.

Maybe it was his ability to look at failure as one piece of the process of discovery.

Some of my favorite Einstein quotes:[1]

  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Quoted in interview by G.S. Viereck , October 26,1929.
  • “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” —Albert Einstein to Carl Seelig – March 11, 1952.
  • “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” —Albert Einstein  to J. Dispentiere – March 24, 1954.
  • “It is not a lack of real affection that scares me away again and again from marriage. Is it a fear of the comfortable life, of nice furniture, of dishonor that I burden myself with, or even the fear of becoming a contented bourgeois.” —Albert Einstein to Elsa Löwenthal, after August 3, 1914.

And one more, though I have no idea where it came from nor where it’s headed:

  • “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.”  -Albert Einstein.

In many ways, Einstein reminds me of my dad.

[1] http://einstein.biz/quotes.php

“New Librarianship”

I just started a conversation with David Lankes and the rest of the nationwide iLead USA David Lankesteam, on the “New Librarianship.”  What? Couldn’t we have said that 2,000 years ago or at least last century, when we started talking about 21st Century Librarianship, now over 13 years old?? Of course we could have. But did we?

What is New Librarianship? David may say, read the book. But I would say, it is about figuring out what it is that makes us a librarian and using that in meaningful ways to connect with communities, to connect with conversations, to connect the dots and help make knowledge accessible to all. The whole point is to raise consciousness, human awareness, that there is something else out there that’s bigger than oneself. There are ideas, there are concepts, there are ideologies that unless explored remain in a box.

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Top 3 trends in public libraries today

There’s always so much to think about in public libraries today, but if I could consider the top three trends, I would say:

1. Collaboration is huge. We are busy meeting the public’s information needs in different, more dynamic, more effective ways now, and it’s all about collaboration. Ask yourself, what does the fire department and the library have in common? Then decide: both are involved in public awareness of fire prevention. Then decide together on a booth, a display, a night where the fire chief comes and speaks at the library, on safety in the home, or whatever else may come into play. People can have fun with this one, it can be sort of like solving a riddle. Better yet, use your long range plan to decide with whom to collaborate (first choice, actually).

2. We are retooling our library spaces to be much more customer oriented. We enjoy style, adequate space for people to meet or work or just relax, ample lighting, views of the outdoors, maybe even something to nibble on while we’re there. Though I only have a couple of grievances with Melvil Dewey, he is now old school in favor of bisac (bookstore model) cataloging.

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My favorite things about ARSL Conference

Danielle Rasmussen, Director of the Garland Public Library in Utah, shares her thoughts about the ARSL conference she attended in Raleigh NC in Sept. 2012. She received a grant from the Utah State Library to attend.

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I went to “A Model for a New World” with Molly Rogers and Lyn Hopper and they talked about re-inventing libraries, how to provide great service to our patrons, shrinking budgets with greater demands for services, and how to do more with less.

One of the things that made an impact on me was the way they had an open discussion among all the libraries. We learned more about what we are all going through and how each of us deals with different budget issues and morale.

We learned how to decipher the core values at our library and what our timeless purpose is. The workbook they provided gave me a lot of insight into things that need to be changed in our library. All in all it was a great class.

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