Community invited to browse TCPL’s new offerings, services
As the saying goes, “There’s something for everyone at The Colony Public Library.” Never has that been more true as staff and volunteers gear up for TCPL’s “Rediscover Your Library” event from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1.
During the event, the community is invited to stop by the library, located at 6800 Main St., to participate in a variety of fun activities and to see for themselves all the recent enhancements to the facility, including an improved collection, new resources and digital offerings, STEM kits, online classes, and much more.
Over the past few years, construction on Main Street has hindered access to the library. Assistant Library Director of Operations Megan Charters said parking became particularly problematic, and students from nearby campuses who used to walk over after school could no longer cross Main Street.
“Our ‘Rediscover’ theme is about inviting everyone to come see what’s been happening during the construction,” Charters said. “Now that Main Street is widened, opened, and safe again, come back to the library and see what we’ve done!”
Those improvements include implementation of a new stock management tool called Collection HQ, which runs statistics on checkouts and holds; helps determine what’s popular and what’s not; and provides data on what other libraries of a similar size are offering in terms of authors and titles.
Collection HQ has been online for two and a half years. With data in hand, staff have been working to clear out old materials that are not being checked out and taking up visual and physical space when patrons are browsing.
“If it hasn’t circulated in four or more years, it’s a candidate for deletion,” Charters said. “The result is a leaner but more powerful, precise collection of materials tailored specifically to the needs and interests of our community.”
The library also now boasts two new self-checkout stations. There’s one in the front and one in the back in the children’s section for parents and kids. You simply step up to it, scan your card or enter your card number, then scan your materials for checkout. Charters said you can scan about 10-inches worth of materials at one time, rather than scanning each item separately.
“We spent the last year tagging 75,000 items in our collection with RFID tags so they could be scanned by the new system,” she said.
As is the trend in libraries around the country, TCPL has been busy enhancing its digital services as well, including a new website. The library offers downloadable magazines, books, and audiobooks, as well as electronic resources, databases, streaming movies and music, and online classes. A library staff member is always available to help patrons get the most from the new technology.
“A lot of the services also come with apps, so we can show you how to use the apps and access what you need,” Charters said. “We can show people how to download materials to their tablet or smartphone, and we want to educate patrons about other electronic resources and databases that we offer.”
Another new offering are 16 STEM kits. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The kits align with what’s being taught in schools and come in big tote bags for checkout. Each kit has a different topic. For example, one kit is about the human body and comes with a full set of x-rays that can be laid out. The stones-and-minerals kit comes with a microscope. An astronomy kit comes with a telescope. Other topics include engineering, coding, geometry, logic and puzzles, and more.
“They’re not just for kids either,” Charters said. “Adults check them out, too. They’re fun for everybody, especially families, but they’re geared towards elementary aged children.”
Most patrons already know about the library’s MakerBot 3D printer but in recent months they have also added a Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl cutter and a PolyPrinter 3D printer. All these devices are part of the library’s makerspace for crafts and projects, the use of which will be demonstrated during the upcoming event.
Last but not least, “Rediscover Your Library” will also honor two long-time staff members who are retiring: Library Director Joan L. Sveinsson and Circulation Supervisor Alice Collins. Sveinsson has been with the library more than 30 years.
“Joan has been an amazing mentor,” Charters said. “She’s done so much for the library and the community. She puts 150 percent into everything she does. We appreciate her so much and we’re all going to miss her.”
For more information about “Rediscover” or other library programs and services, visit www.thecolonypl.org or call 972-625-1900.