CVCL Library Talk

get the lowdown on Camp Verde Community Library


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New Library: A Place for People and Community Involvement

I was asked recently, to describe some of qualities we are most looking forward to in Camp Verde Community Library’s new building. I am really looking forward to opening day and seeing the community’s reaction as people start to realize the potential uses of the new building designed with such a variety of uses in mind. We have no plans to fill up the 17,000 square foot, two-story interior with shelves full of books and DVDs or leave rooms sitting locked up and unused. We want to fill the place with people and activities that enrich the lives of the citizens of Camp Verde.

The entire building is designed with people and community involvement in mind. Currently, just under 33% of the 11,000 people living in Camp Verde have a Camp Verde Community Library card. Over 300 new cards were issued since July 1, 2014. In that same six month time period (since installing a people counter on the front door) the library has averaged over 1, 400 visitors per week, with 5% subtracted to account for staff traffic. We anticipate an increase with the opening of the new library.

The building will be Wi-Fi enabled throughout, including the outside patios and leisure spaces. When you walk inside the front door of the new library at the end of this year or in early 2016, you will see to your right, a training lab with the technology that allows the library to bring multiple types of free learning opportunities to the community. This room and its adjoining office space will double as an entrepreneurial support network space. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Classes created and presented by Library staff, like “The Basics of Using Your Computer” or “How to Get the Most Out of Your Tablet”
  • Classes taught by community members who have a penchant for a particular topic, like “The ABCs of Taking Better Photographs” or “Uses of Essential Oils”
  • A place where experts from the Regional Economic Development Center at Yavapai College can meet/consult with and provide support to entrepreneurs and small business owners
  • A partnership site with ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship + Innovation to promote local innovation and entrepreneurship

None of these opportunities/possibilities are pipe dreams. All are already in process or are happening in our current facility no matter how inconvenient or awkward it is. The Library is proud to be part of the forward-looking economic development opportunities coming to Camp Verde. There is potential for much, much more.

At the back of the building, the entire east quarter has been setup with community use in mind. There are two meeting spaces, one on the first floor and one on the second floor that can be isolated from the rest of the library to be available when the library is closed. The first floor space includes a fully functioning kitchen with a pass-through window into the meeting room. Both spaces have access to restrooms and audio visual/presentation equipment. We envision using these spaces for a variety of activities but are also excited to see how people in the community decide to use them:

  • Children’s programs and hands-on activities, community and/or professional meetings
  • Continuing and expanding our partnership with Camp Verde Parks & Recreation to offer free movies on Friday nights and more
  • Expanding the Children’s Library’s STEAM Time activities and Family Game Nights
  • Hosting Writer’s workshops and special speakers at the Library rather than offsite
  • Potential place where Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes may be held
  • Room for Live-Streaming TED Talks and/or TEDEd Lessons (maybe even a Super Bowl party!)
  • Wouldn’t it be something if Camp Verde Community Library becomes the place where Town Council meetings are held!

In addition to so many new and expanded uses of the Library, we are looking forward to serving our patrons with better facilities and more comfortable spaces. Currently, when parents make play dates for their kids at the library, you see them sitting on the floor in the Children’s Library. There is no place they can be that is convenient or comfortable for visiting and interacting with their children. The new library will have a space tucked away in a corner designed just for little kids and their parents/caregivers. A family restroom nearby and access to a fenced outdoor patio right off the Children’s Library are all part of the plan to make the space welcoming, safe and enjoyable.

Another issue we constantly run up against involves requests for a quiet space to study, take a test or gather for a small group meeting. Despite the fact that we opened up another room and every last inch of available space for community use in our current building, we have no real quiet space to offer. The new library is laid out in such a way that noisy, active spaces may be separated from quiet, reflective spaces. There are several quiet study rooms plus a meeting room and a small conference room that will be available for use by those who need a separate place to work or meet. The second floor adult area has the best view of the scenery and most potential for quiet ambiance with places to sit and relax, read or use the Wi-Fi. For those who enjoy being outside, the library will have plenty of outdoor reading spaces with lovely views and plenty of sunshine or shade to suit.

Teens will have their own area to define, hangout in and use. We have experienced the benefit of teen involvement in the library and community over the past year or so. There is much room for growth and scope for the imagination (which we have no lack of) as we move forward with services to teens in Camp Verde. This is another area we have only getting started in.

The Camp Verde Library Endowment will have their used books sale right inside the library and the book sale room will double as a Creator space. A Creator space has potential to enhance learning opportunities and programs from STEAM Time and Geek Talks to Summer Reading and Home Schooling activities.

If you’ve gotten this far and want to learn more details about the thinking behind the design and processes behind how we build the new Camp Verde Community Library join us at the Library for our monthly series of Constructions Talks starting Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm.

 


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Reference Services Give Way to Computer Assists

Now and then, I get the kind of “bright idea” that leaves me shaking my head, wondering why I didn’t think of it before. It may be a small thing, as is the case in this instance, but that small thing matters. This month, for the first time in the history of the Camp Verde Community Library, we began tracking requests from library patrons for help on a library computer.

We’ve been keeping track of public Internet computer use for some time now. Since removing several hurdles to using library Internet PCs a couple of years ago, our numbers have risen steadily. PC management software tells us how many uses per computer per day we get without tracking who uses them.

While monthly computer use is up 35-60%, reference questions (which we also track) are on the decline. Why is that? Well, several reasons (based on experience, not research):

  1. Public libraries have not fielded the serious reference questions that academic and school libraries get for many years now. Our questions deal more with local facts and figures and requests for obscure written works than research into how Africanized honey bees impact native species or the history of the Zambian people.
  2. The ubiquity of the Internet has improved access to all types of good quality information dramatically changing library reference services along the way. We are more likely to help train folks in how to tell a decent Internet site from a bogus one than to go to a reference book in the library for an answer.
  3. Library reference resources have moved online so people with library cards can access them from any Internet connected computer/device.
  4. And finally, reference questions have given way to requests for help on computers, e-readers and tablets.

This is where my “bright idea” came into play. If the library is consistently getting 25% fewer reference questions per month, then why does it feel like we’re so busy helping patrons? So, for the month of December, we kept track of the number of times we helped people on Internet computers. There were 89 assists. All of us, from volunteers to the Library Director, help patrons who have questions while using the public Internet computers. These requests can take from 2 – 60 minutes to resolve and include, but are not limited to, help

  • formatting a Word document
  • sending and retrieving a print job
  • creating a legal form
  • setting up an email account
  • attaching pictures or documents to email
  • scanning to email
  • using a flash drive
  • using MS Excel workbooks
  • applying for a job
  • signing into a class
  • signing up for Health care
  • accessing coupons or other discounts
  • using the PCs special access tools

It will be interesting to see where these numbers go over the next year. So… as we move through 2015, building your new library and eventually moving into it, don’t expect to see a special section set aside for a reference collection. While we will have quiet spaces where people can study, read or think, reference desks are giving way to computer assistance desks in public libraries all over the country and it is the fortunate library that has reference librarians who can also provide excellent computer assistance. Camp Verde Community Library is one of those fortunate libraries.