Missing Mayors and Freeholders in our Libraries

March 12, 2010 at 9:56 am 9 comments

This is less of a post and more of a request for comments.

I’m just curious how many of us have seen their mayors in the library recently?  How many librarians have seen any state/city official in their library over the past year or so?

Is he/she a regular user? 

For that matter, do you think he/she is aware of libraries increase of patrons, circulation and services?

Personally, I’ve generally thought that most city officials do not use their libraries ( I would love to be wrong about this).

A few years back, when I worked in Trenton and we were experiencing the first wave of a budget crunch, employees joked that they had not seen their Mayor at the library in years.  While we felt he talked about libraries in a positive light we were not sure if he actually knew what problems and condition his city’s libraries were in.

That said, I am happy to say that I now work in a library where we do see our Mayor.  In fact, we see several of the administration and township employees on a regular basis.  They are enthusiastic, supportive users and it clearly shows.

I would love to hear how other people view their elected officials and they feel their library is supported.  Remember, you can always comment anonymously 😉

Posted by Tyler Rousseau


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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  • 1. Jeff Scott  |  March 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Well, at my last library I had experience with two different mayors. I tried to get both of them involved in three projects; Mayor’s Reading Club (volunteers go to schools and read to kids), library card sign-up month, and creating a READ poster for the library.

    The first mayor didn’t even participate in his own reading club, showed up for a photo-op on the library card sign-up and never posed for the Read picture. (the one time he read to kids, he didn’t show them any of the pictures.)

    The second mayor was actively involved with MRC, encouraged City Hall Office staff to participate and other councilmen, was actively involved in library card sign-up, and posed for a READ poster that hung in our library.

    We never increased our budget with the first mayor, but the second mayor increased our budget, added, staff, supported our library branch project. Left that library with a 16,000 sq ft branch, 14 more staff, and 50% budget increase in just two years.

  • 2. Claire Houghton-Kiel  |  March 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Last night on My9 news, they had a story about lead paint peeling from the Orange Public Library. The My9 crews brought their undercover video to the Mayor of Orange, who THANKED THEM FOR BRINGING IT TO HIS ATTENTION! Now, if the mayor had EVER been in the library, he would certainly have know about the paint peeling. Even more intriguing, according to the reporter he had the Board of Health send a letter to the library threatening to close the building down if the situation was not rectified within two weeks. It was almost as if he had no idea that the Public Library ran on public funds…I had to watch it three times just to make sure I wasn’t imagining his attitude/statement/demeanor. It made me quite glad that I live in a community where the mayor is a regular at the library.

  • 3. Mariann Storck  |  March 12, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    For those in non-public type libraries, the question would be, “How often do you see the head of your agency, corporation, etc in the library?” My focus this year is how to get them and other non-patrons in. Does anyone have suggestions other than the usual food and a program? I’m looking for revolutionary ideas because the tried and true does not work with the “Everything is online so I don’t need a librarian” crowd.

  • 4. Marty Vaughn  |  March 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Our public libraries are limping along with deminished budgets while the city fathers and the county administrators fight over who owes what money to the combined city-county public library. The library itself has cut hours, budgets, staff, and purchasing. They now charge $2.00 to read the latest best sellers! They are desperate to raise some revenue. The city actually paid a chunk of money to 2 consultants to evaluate the physical plants of all the branches and operations; plans were made and STILL nothing is being done! Our mayor and the city council are so inept and unaware of what the public really wants it frightening! Our kids and the public are the ones who suffer.

  • 5. Stephanie Willen Brown / CogSciLibrarian  |  March 12, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Great topic!

    I’ve taught my LIS students to do one-on-one marketing/promotion with agency / corporation heads, mayors, etc. re: what the library can do for them *personally*. Do they have kids? Remind them about storytime, and/or great books for kids. Do they like to read? Tout any book delivery / Interlibrary Loan service the library offers. I strongly believe that going above & beyond our traditionally fabulous service for non-librarian managers & organization leaders is really important for continued funding & support.

    I’m grateful that my (non-librarian) boss is a big library supporter, but I also work hard to contact her with services/materials I think *she’d* especially like.

  • 6. Alex  |  March 13, 2010 at 10:54 am

    My mayor came to join me for a storytime a few years ago. He called me the class’s teacher more than once, despite me writing a 2 pg brief for him about the library before his visit.

  • 7. Lynn  |  March 13, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Our mayor is on our board (as is a member of council). He is frequently in the library. That said, public libraries are independent of municipal government in Canada so it’s less about city government and more about the board itself. And all of our board members are very involved and knowledgeable.

  • 8. Dave Ewick  |  March 16, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Our library is a department of the city, and I’m proud to say that our Mayor is very aware of what we do. She even mentioned how the library is assisting the unemployed, and is busier than ever in these lean years, as part of her State of the City address.

    We host our local State Representative’s monthly coffee klatch with constituents, and we’ve had visits from our Congressmen as well as local elected officials and even our Governor.

    Our City Council is actively aware of us, and very proud because we have one of the best libraries in Southeast Michigan!

  • 9. Elisa  |  March 16, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Off hand, once last year, for an ethnic heritage month program. (My library has been a past host venue for this program) Other times, the Mayor will say a few words and do a photo op at a special event at a neighborhood branch.
    On occasion, a city council member will visit for a special event, usually hosted by an outside organization.

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