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MCPL Board appoints new library director

The Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees recently appointed Marilyn Wood as library director effective February 2nd, 2015. She will succeed Sara Laughlin who will retire at the end of this year after seven years as director. Wood is a native of Brown County, Indiana and holds both  Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University. She began her career in a variety of capacities in the Indiana University Library system. Prior to joining the Monroe County Public Library in June, 2012 as Associate Director,   Wood worked at Harvard University during the years 2005-2012 as Associate Librarian of the Harvard College for Collection Management. An MCPL press release states she intends to continue the library’s efforts to seek various partnerships and contacts within the Bloomington community as well to offer job-embedded staff development to improve library services and keep up with 21st century versions of library and literacy skills.

Monroe County Library Sees Increase In Library Card Applications And Online Program Use

The Monroe County Public Library saw an increase of library card applications during the summer. Library Director Sarah Laughlin attributed the sign ups to a summer collaboration with the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

Laughlin told the Board of Trustees on July 16 that the summer reading program was a success.

“We opened it up May 28, so as of June 30 we had 211 people register for Treehouse and 6100 video views that are part of the classes,” Laughlin says. “The first month’s traffic is really all library traffic.”

Laughlin highlighted an aspect of the website offerings called Treehouse, an online learning platform with a focus on the design and development of websites and mobile apps.

Laughlin said that an increased presence on the internet has paid off with increased library traffic as well as library card sign ups.

Monroe County Public Library To Change And Expand Hours

The Monroe County Public Library will be change hours starting on Labor Day.

The Library’s Board of Trustees voted June 18 to add two extra hours on Sundays, meaning the Library will soon be open from noon until 6 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said the administration has been wanted to expand Sunday hours for years.

“In 2012 when we did a community survey, what would you choose to change our services,” Laughlin says. “Number one, of course, was fix parking. But number three was expand weekend hours.”

Laughlin said the city’s parking meters also motivated the change. Parking is free on Sundays. To help offset the cost of the change, the Library cut an hour from its Friday schedule. It will open at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Fridays.

The Board also voted to push back its schedule on Saturdays. The building will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays instead of 9  to 5.

The changes take effect September 1.

Monroe County Library Suffering From Paying Parking Meters

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Last week the Monroe County Public Library’s Board of Trustees discussed the negative effect parking meters are having on library patrons.

Board member Stephen Moberly referred to the library’s circulation numbers, which have declined since the downtown meters were installed in August.

“Looking at the chart, we had a slight decrease last year of half of one percent. This year, we had a 3.3% decrease,” Moberly said, “I think it’s attributed to one thing, though it may not be politically correct to say. The parking meters, I think, have been devastating to the library. You can come and see around the block that no cars are parked there, and there always were before because they were our patrons. Some retail merchants have closed and suffered because of the meters, but the library is suffering too.”

Board President Valerie Merriam says the library should tell the City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan about what effect the meters have had. She says circulation hasn’t dropped this much in almost two decades.

“There is a general decline to everything that is related with coming in to the library,” Merriam said.

Moberly suggested that these are people that might not have the money to feed the meters, and that they should let city hall know about these concerns.

Library Director Sara Laughlin says she would convey those concerns to city officials. But Laughlin says she doesn’t have any short term solutions to reverse the effects.

“I think we’ve done what we can do in helping people find places to park,” Laughlin said, “In fact, I know that the parking finder page on our website is still one of the top pages on the site. Longer term, it would be great to have a second branch with lots of parking, otherwise we just can’t increase our parking capacity downtown.”

The library has also considered expanding hours on Sundays, when the city does not require drivers to pay the meters.

New Library Renovations Will Cost More Than First Anticipated

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected.

That’s according to information put forward during a work session for the Library’s Board of Trustees on September 11.

A representative for the project’s architect, Christine Matheu, presented the cost estimates to the Board.

But before the financial discussion, Matheu went over a schematic design of the renovated Library.

“We have met with staff and special interests groups from the project,” Matheu says.

The renovations include the addition of a new teen center, which Matheu said would have a cafe area as well as a space for socializing.

“Current logic on these spaces is that you downplay the books and you up-play technology, social interaction and collaborative and creative work,” Matheu says.  “All these things  teenagers respond to in the way they learn and it’s a way to get this demographic back into the library.”

The renovated library is also planned to include a digital creativity center, including spaces for recording music and editing film.

“Right now we’ve planned for a recording studio and a performing space,” Matheu says, “This is primarily for musicians and filmmakers, and the media lab is for people collaborating together. “

When the Board approved the architect’s contract earlier this year, the estimated cost of the renovations was $780,000.

But the project designed by Matheu’s firm is estimated to cost somewhere between $1.1 and $1.3 million dollars.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said she likes the plan, and she has ideas about how to trim some of the costs.

But even if the cost is considerably more than was budgeted, Laughlin said there is still money to complete the entire project.

“Even if it’s the high number, we’re still $244,000 off for what we have set aside,” Laughlin says, “We have enough money to do the whole thing and have some left over. I think we should bite the bullet and do it.”

All the costs are rough estimates because the Library has not yet put the project out to bid.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the project at its regular meeting September 18.

MCPL offers free parking cheat sheet

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The Monroe County Public Library is advising patrons on how best to save money on parking now that most spots near the Library are metered. At a meeting August 21st of the Library’s Board of Trustees, Executive Director Sara Laughlin held up a brochure the Library designed to help patrons deal with what she called a complicated picture. Tickets for not paying the meters can be as high as $100. Laughlin said she is advising those who might be downtown for an unpredictable amount of time to use parking garages, where payment occurs when drivers leave the garage. She said the Library also has a guide to where free parking can be found. The parking finder is available here.

Daily Local News – August 19, 2013

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Secretary of State Connie Lawson and her office reached an agreement regarding terms of a $14 million settlement with the Indiana State Teachers Association and the National Education Association; At a work session August 13th, the Monroe County Community School Board discussed if and how to issue another multi-million dollar bond; The Monroe County Public Library may soon end its test proctoring service, which a Library employee said has become too popular; State Road 54 in Greene County is closed to traffic beginning today.

FEATURE
Scientia Recieves Crane Contract
A software company based in Bloomington announced earlier this month it had reached a major new agreement with the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. The company, Scientia LLC was formed in 2010 by three former employees of the Center. For today’s WFHB feature exclusive, Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with one of the owners about what the company produces and its relationship with the military.

ACTIVATE!
Sarah Delone of the Monroe County Humane Association talks about the  the Association’s VIPaws therapy animal program. Learn about VIPaws and how you & your pet can become a part of this program.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Chris Martin, and David Murphy.
Along with help from Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Servies
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Activate is produced by Jennifer Whitaker
Our engineer is Kat Carlton
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

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