Several weeks ago a group of about two dozen Boscobel citizens from all walks of life gathered as part of the Community Planning Committee to plot the future of the Hildebrand Memorial Library over the next four years. On Mon-day, Librarian Robin Or-landi shared some of their findings with members of the Boscobel Common Council.
"This is a draft version of the final document," Or-landi said in handing out the 15-page document entitled, "Envision the Future: Plan-ning for Results 2012-2015."
Orlandi explained that the Planning Committee used a two-prong methodology and identified 18 service re-sponses through vision statements and community needs.
Vision statements con-cerning Boscobel included perceptions such as an in-creasing number of immi-grants, the redevelopment of the downtown, reduced school resources and the "digital divide" separating those with access to tech-nology and those without.
Orlandi stressed that technology is an ever in-creasing part of what the library does. "Anyone who thinks a librarian just check books in and out, well, let me dissuade you of that misperception," she said. "The role of the librarian today is more technology consultant, with things like computer and on-line refer-encing, e-books and data, and employment assis-tance."
Orlandi explained that the Boscobel Library is on the forefront of helping people through these difficult eco-nomic times, be it acquiring your GED, U.S. citizenship or online tutorials for work-place skills.
"Someone came in and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm ap-plying for a job and I need to know what an Excel spreadsheet it.' That's one we got recently," she said.
From nine identified community needs for Bo-scobel and the surrounding area, the Planning Com-mittee chose to concentrate on three:
• Create Young Readers: Emergent Literacy
Children from birth to age five will have programs and services designed to ensure that they enter school ready to listen, earn, read, write and interact with other chil-dren. Skills include alphabet recognition, word sounds, vocabulary, print aware-ness, aware listening, coop-eration with others and fol-lowing instruction.
• Understand How to Find, Use and Evaluate In-formation: Information Flu-ency
Residents will know when they need information to resolve an issue or an-swer a question and will have the skills to search for, locate, evaluate, and effec-tively use information to meet their needs. Primary focus areas include online library resources, E-book and media download serv-ices and the Internet.
• Visit a Comfortable Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces
Residents will have a safe and welcoming physical place to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read, and will have open access to virtual spaces that support net-working.
"At this point what we're doing is eliciting comment and feedback," said Or-landi, explaining that the draft plan is currently being reviewed and should be fi-nalized in about a week.
Orlandi also made a plea to the Council to retain the library's current annual budget of $104,292, saying the library is currently funded below libraries in communities of similar size.
"The level of service we're providing is good, but we're doing it on a shoe-string," Orlandi said. "We're seeing more people coming in and we're pro-viding just basic services. As long as we continue to receive what we're getting now, we should be alright."