FIVE STARS: INVESTING IN YOUTH
When I joined Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library in 2005, I immediately noticed two opportunities: growing adult programs and offering reading recommendations to a community that loves books. So, I hired a Program Coordinator to focus just on adult programs, then we rallied the staff that reads the most and is passionate about books to interact with our users and “talk books.” We created bags of books for local book clubs to check out along with advice on how to conduct a book talk and conversational tips for group leaders. We formed partnerships with the Telluride Film Festival and Mountainfilm in Telluride to hold programs in the library all year long. In all, we developed partnerships with more than 30 other local organizations to expand program possibilities. We won a grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute to offer “Building Common Ground,” a series of programs about compassion, community and civility. We hired a marketing assistant and a graphic designer. Now our rate of attendance for programs places us seventh in the nation.
As we transition Youth Service Managers, I see a new opportunity for growth in library services, this time in Youth Services. We’ve created a beautiful, comfortable, welcoming environment for the kids of this community and all the kids who travel here and make the library a part of their visit. We’ve increased our outreach to area preschools and we even visit middle school at lunch for book talks. We lead APEX talks for teens and we host many of the PEP grant activities. Anyone who visits after school is well aware that the library serves as the most popular after-school hangout.
Now we’re investing even more deeply. Starting next month, Youth Services will be led by two managers, one focusing on programs, the other focusing on services. Paula Ciberay, the beloved “face” of the youth area, will lead and manage youth events including the exciting and essential summer reading program. Paula’s experience at WPL and her strong community connections, plus her passion for science and nature, are guaranteed to inspire even bigger and better programs than ever before. Jill Wilson, newly hired from Denver Public Library, will join our staff June 27 to lead the service side of the Youth Department. With an MLIS from the University of Denver and a specialization in early childhood literacy, Jill brings expertise in designing services that enrich children’s relationship with the twin worlds of books and ideas. Fluent in Spanish, Jill will also strengthen our ties with our immigrant community. Both women will enjoy greater focus on these two very important pieces that make up Youth Programs and Services.
Adapting to the changing needs of our community is just another phase in Wilkinson Public Library’s evolution. I hope you’ll stop by soon and see what we’ve been up to, grab a book for the beach or campsite or for a lazy day on the porch.
We always look forward to seeing you!
(Top image is Barb. This is Jill Wilson, Barb’s new librarian, described above. And her dog Reilly. Welcome them both to our community.)
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