Tuesday, November 20, 2007


What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? I am thankful that November is almost over. The month started with me serving a short stint of jury duty, and followed by every member of my household (including our dog, Melvil Dewey) visiting the doctor at least once. Life at the Library went on without me, which gives me forty-three other reasons to be thankful. I am thankful for our Library's staff. They are dependable, and level headed. They are self directed, and dedicated to providing the best library services possible to the people of Kankakee. I am truly blessed to work with such an amazing (and thankfully healthy) team!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thank You...No

Our Library has a public relations problem. It isn't a rude staff; ours is great. It certainly isn't incompetence; our people have won state and national awards. Moreover, we are known far and wide for our outstanding marketing. Our problem is this: how do we tell our generous patrons that we have no use for the moldy contents of their attics. Folks come in, beaming with pride, carting boxes full of bound National Geographics, dating back decades, or granny's artistic efforts, or some such thing. When they are met with, "thanks but no thanks," they are mystified and moreover miffed. "Oh, you have enough money now!" they will say. We've tried a variety of strategies, including accepting donations with a warning that they may be added to the collection, sold, or discarded. Even with that, donors often show up some days later and want to be directed to their donated treasures on the shelf. No one wants to tell them their gift was dumpster bound. I think we need to let people know there is a difference between an archive and a library. Folks are shocked when I tell them a library's collection is a consumable. It is purchased, used up, and then discarded. There seems to be a widely held belief that the local public library is where old books go to retire. If our collection was full of such items, the Library would be as forgotten as the attic from whence they came.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Golden Ticket

Our Youth Services Supervisor, Camille Rose, was the winner of this year's Golden Ticket Award. The award is given by the Illinois Library Association and recognizes "her outstanding local contribution in library services to young people in her community by creating and implementing library programs that promote a love of literature and instill positive feelings about libraries." In the twenty years that I have been working in public libraries, I have never seen anything that matches the creative energy and enthusiasm of Camille - she is just phenomenal.

Camille was recognized in Springfield during the recent Illinois Library Association Conference, and then locally at a recent City Council meeting. I attended both, and while the event is Springfield was very nice, the event in Kankakee was truly exceptional. Staff, board members, Friends of the Library, and library patrons attended the meeting. A group of about twenty children from the Library began the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Our Assistant Director, Steve, presented a wonderful media program featuring photos of youth services events, played to "A Kind of Magic" by Queen. Camille received a standing ovation. The Mayor read a proclamation which was unanimously approved by City Council. The Mayor and Aldermen made several positive heartfelt comments about Camille, the youth in our community, the entire Library staff, and the importance of education and our Library.

Our Evening Supervisor and Project Next Generation Coordinator, Roland Johnson, really summed it up best. It makes you feel proud to live in a community that celebrates Camille and our Library in such a positive and heartfelt way.

I am so proud of Camille, and proud to be a Kankakeean.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director