About the Library Department
The primary purpose of the library is to provide equal access to resources and services in a variety of media to meet the needs of individuals and groups for education, information and personal development including recreation and leisure. The library uses partnerships with other institutions to connect patrons with services and help; engages and supports community development; and works to alleviate illiteracy in Colusa County. These services are intended to improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
The Library preserves and shares local history; provides a plethora of educational, cultural and recreational programs for all ages that support literacy, family and community strengthening, and a general enjoyment of reading. As a safe “third space” the library is a dynamic, socially responsive community hub that serves as a nexus of diversity and a lifeline for the most vulnerable among us. The Library’s literacy program services to assist adult learners to improve their reading levels, school readiness, employment opportunities and reading enjoyment.
Significant Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2022-23:
- Following several years of fewer programs, services and in-person hours, the library has started to recoup the loss from the pandemic. We have welcomed 20,274 patrons through our doors between July 1, 2022-March 31, 2023- almost double the from the same period last fiscal year. With in-person programming resuming, 6,148 people have attended the 676 programs, including the first in-person Summer Reading Program in two years. The patron-favorite, Raising-A-Reader program has been offered in Colusa, Arbuckle, Williams, Maxwell and Princeton; sign-ups for the winter round were so overwhelming that a second weekly session was been added to the Arbuckle branch. Many of our programs are surpassing the pre-Covid attendance, with waitlists for those that require registration and large groups gathering for those that do not. Recently, Paws to Read, a youth reading program where we partner with Animal Control was specifically requested for a special event at the Maxwell Public Library from Maxwell Elementary; the program’s monthly sessions regularly host more than 30 children and caregivers. On April 30, we hosted the first Día de los Niño’s/Día de los Libros since the Covid-closures, with a literacy sponsored book giveaway, crafts, games and a ballet folklorico performance that brought in just under 80 patrons alone. The libraries are loud, and busy with an expansion of services countywide.
- During the summer of 2022, the main branch of the library system acted as a cooling center during the extreme heat waves. During this time, we opened our doors and extended hours to ensure a safe temperature for those needing reprieve. As part of a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, the cooling centers helped to introduce a larger initiative with DHHS and Public Health to utilize the library as active outreach centers, supporting the efforts of both departments where there is a natural fit and clear need. Vaccine clinics, at-home covid test distribution and access to communities in their local branch locations, amongst others, has been a boon to the smaller communities in Colusa County, where travel to and from the County-seat in Colusa may be difficult.
- Collection development has continued to benefit from the ongoing support of the Friends of the Colusa County Free Library and the State Library-funded book purchasing program, Zip Books. Between July 1 and March 31, more than 3,600 new records were created, including 299 new items purchased with Zip Book funds, and 579 items donated by the Friends. 37,320 items from our collections have been checked out this fiscal year, not including those items on our e-platforms. The partnership with Public Health has enabled the library to expand its collections in the areas of self-care and self-help across all reading levels. Two-hundred and seventy-three books with an emphasis on general health and mental health issues are widely popular, and maintaining them can be difficult as medical information is quickly outdated.
- Despite being down four staff members, we have continued to engage in in-depth library training such as working with our database and other general library processes and procedures, and others such as Dealing with Hostile/Dangerous Patrons, Creating Standards for Successful Customer Service and a systemwide enrollment in a Managing Patron Challenges from a Trauma-Informed Lens, etc. The Literacy Coordinator and Youth Service Coordinator took a specialized training on current trends and practices for preschool programming that has directly impacted how they run programs. Using funds from the Public Health Partnership and the NorthNet library system, we continue to focus on Mental Health First Aide training and how to best serve our community. Although Youth Services Coordinator, Gaby Silva did not receive a scholarship to attend the YALSA conference in November 2022, she is scheduled to attend the California Library Association Conference in Sacramento in June 2023, along with the Literacy Coordinator and Becca Holland, Collections Development Library Assistant.
Goals & Objectives for Fiscal Year 2023-24:
- Continue to develop and expand collections
- Continue to develop and expand programming at ALL branches
- Support the growth of the library system to reinvigorate its standing and use by the community in-person; including attending community events for outreach; attend community meetings to better understand what each community wants; and work with key community figures and organizations.
- Strengthen staff’s ability to support core Library services and functions; attend conferences and trainings as appropriate; review and rework staff job descriptions/structure to better match current needs.
- Review and update policy to reflect current library and community needs and to be consistent with partner libraries in the NorthNet Library Consortia.
- Be creative and flexible with programming and expectations of service as budget and staffing issues play out.
Summary of Major Budget Changes:
As directed, the library has drafted a status quo budget that does not include requests for any new staffing, major purchases, etc.
The one exception is the request for a new flagpole to be installed in a different location. The current flagpole is original to the library and was installed in 1966, the location is such that the flag is not lit at night and gets caught on the tree during windy weather. Patrons call regularly to voice their complaints about this, which is further compounded by the lack of accessibility of the raising and lowering device. The Friends of the Library will donate the funds to purchase and install the new flagpole, as recommended by the local Veteran's group. The flagpole they recommend has internal mechanics for raising and lowering the flag and will make it much easier for staff to access the flag when needed. Moving it will save many ripped flags, and actually make it easier to see by getting it away from the offending tree.