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 2020-21:
- Although services were limited due to the ongoing pandemic, the library found creative ways to continue providing access to our patrons. Curbside and Curbside Plus have enabled our patrons to continue checking in and out materials safely, and allowed for access to our computers, printers, Wi-Fi, fax and copier to patrons who have ongoing technology needs. More than 22,500 items circulated between our branches this year. The drop in circulation may seem dramatic compared to previous years, but accommodations such as five-day quarantines for returned items, a pause in borrowing from our partner libraries and longer borrow times to accommodate the stay-at-home orders contributed to this reduction in traffic and is consistent and reasonable, all things considered.
- Additionally, this summer (July-August), the library served just under 30,000 meals to kid’s aged 0-18 at the Colusa, Arbuckle, Grimes, Maxwell and Princeton branches. The grab-and-go meal kits included breakfast, snack and lunch, and were distributed as part of the Lunch at the Library program. The expansion to the branch libraries was a massive undertaking, but one that was really needed last summer as schools did not provide meal service. Fortunately, schools are going to be providing meals this summer, and we are able to step back and refocus on preparing to host in-person programming in late summer/early fall 2022.
- Despite the inability to provide in-person programming at all this year, library staff adapted to the restrictions immediately and began putting on digital story times and activities and put on one of its largest Summer Reading Programs yet! For the 2021 program, over six weeks, digital story times and activity videos were uploaded on social media platforms; staff distributed more than 1,570 grab-and-go reading kits to kids throughout the county, including a new partnership with the Migrant Camp. The 2022 summer reading program, which had to be prepared prior to adjusted orders, will be included in the statistics for next year’s budget as the program runs for the last two weeks in June through July.
- Beyond summer reading, we were able to host 386 digital programs and distributed more than 950 activity bags to adults, preschool and school aged children. Additionally, the literacy program hosted several special book giveaways and participated in drive through community events to fulfill its goal of building home libraries for children, giving 3,171 books to children throughout the county.
- The Library was awarded various grants and monetary gifts totaling $78,837.73. We continued to develop our collections with an emphasis on community input and interest, and thanks to a $40,000 grant from the County Office of Education have been able to update the children’s and juvenile sections. From these funds, donations from the Friends of the Colusa County Free Library and the State Library’s Zip Book program, we were able to add more than 4,590 new items to our collection this year. The grants also allowed us to develop our e-collections; we now provide access to the e-borrowing platform Hoopla, and online databases VetNow/JobNow, Archives Unbound, Encyclopedia Britannica and several others.
- Finally, another student of the Career Online High School degree program we offer as part of a partnership with the California State Library, graduated with her high school diploma this fiscal year. This student had several obstacles outside of the pandemic that were enough to sidetrack anyone, yet she persevered and was able to complete her work with a B+ average.
- Library staff completed multiple training's, including the YALSA Symposium, and Library Outreach and Marketing to Latinx and Spanish Speaking Families by Youth Services Coordinator Gaby Silva; Foundations of Library Services by Ivan Collazo; Providing Trauma-Informed Service in Small & Rural Libraries by Cindy Plucker; and a six-week course on the Fundamentals of Electronic Resource Acquisitions by Lucinda Whittaker and Stacey Costello.
- Following the passing of longtime library volunteer, Mary Winters, the library worked with local mural artists Sierra Redding and Ross Roadruck to develop a community based project in her honor. The mural, entitled “The Colors of Colusa County” was painted onto the exterior of the main branch in June 2021.
Goals & Objectives for Fiscal Year 2021-22:
- Continue to develop and expand collections
- Continue to develop and expand programming at ALL branches as pandemic limitations allow
- Support the growth of the library system to reinvigorate its standing and use by the community in-person when limitations are lifted; 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; library director attend the Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference in Reno, Nevada, fall 2021.
Summary of Major Budget Changes:
- As part of an ongoing, three year grant from the County Office of Education, the Special Department Expense has a budget increase of $40,000 for children’s book purchases. The grant dictates that we can only use the funds to purchase materials for use by children up to age 8 and 30% of the purchases must be for Spanish language users.
- Our insurance costs increased by $24,678; this increase occurred because more than $120,000 of experience shared by other departments fell off this fiscal year. As such the balance was redistributed proportionate to outstanding experience for those departments, including the library for a new total of $54,206.
- IT has notified the library of necessary upgrade to 35 Windows10 and SSD drives; hardware costs would equal $4230 and software would come in at $1800.