Tuesday, August 28, 2007

In the Green

Something scary is going to happen to our library next year. Something that hasn't happened in the ten years I've worked here. It has the potential of profoundly changing my working situation. Kankakee will be choosing a new mayor. Mayor Don Green has held office for four terms, 16 years by the time he finishes up next year. In that time, he has helped lift our Library out of a 105 year old building into an impressive new facility. He's lead the revitalization of our downtown, oversaw economic growth, pulled the City out of dept, eased racial tensions, and become a beloved story time reader in our Youth Services Department. Over all, Don Green has been the bomb. How many city mayors can not only say they have left their city better than they found, but VASTLY better? Mayor Green can. Soon, we'll be traveling into the great unknown, Kankakee under new management. I have my fingers (and my toes) crossed.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Keep the Light Burning

A few weeks ago our Library and community experienced a great loss. Mary Jo Johnston, the person who has been responsible for many of our Library's impressive programs unexpectedly passed away. She was an avid reader, a Library trustee, a former President of the Friends of the Library, as well as the Program Chair for our Friends group the past two years.

It was hard, if not impossible, to say "no" to Mary, as many major authors such as Stuart Dybeck, Lois Lowry, Richard Peck, and Elizabeth Berg discovered. In a recent email, Pulitzer Prize Nominated author, Luis Urrea, described Mary as being a "great light." How true. We miss her. And truthfully things are indeed a little cloudy here at our Library.

No one can possibly fill her shoes, but we need to move forward. The Library staff and the Friends of the Library are committed to keeping her light burning brightly by continuing her efforts to bring the best programs possible, and to have the best library possible for the people of Kankakee.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dis-ing Dewey

Somehow, when I wasn't looking I became an old unhip woman. I know this because I am in awe of the Dewey Decimal System. I love it so much that I named my dog after the man who created this classification system, Melvil Dewey. Melvil even has a dog collar with a Dewey Decimal number. I am coveting a t-shirt that says, "What Would Dewey Do." I think Dewey is dandy.

Recently two different libraries in Arizona ditched Dewey in favor of a classification system used by bookstores. They love it, and many librarians are applauding their decision, and some even have been wearing buttons with slash marks through Dewey's name. (I am clutching my old lady librarian's heart as I write this entry).

We can learn a lot from bookstores, especially regarding marketing, displays, and signage. But I am skeptical that their organizational system is superior to Dewey. The relationship of the subjects and their placement in the store is a mystery to me. I don't get why my local chain bookstore shelves "Anime" next to "Cookbooks." (Are teenage boys into Paula Deen?) It also seems that a book's location is not set in stone; my local chain bookstore likes to move things around. I usually go into a bookstore looking for a specific title and I am seldom able to find it; and by the way, it drives me crazy that there is no public catalog.

I will admit that Dewey is not perfect, but I am not convinced that this classification system is a dog.

Dewey Disciple,
Cindy Fuerst
Library Director (021.5)