by Steve Peterson
Hawarden Public Library Director Val Haverhals and Library Board member presented a work session report to Hawarden councilors on Oct. 24.
“There are certain things that we as a library staff and board value very much. We value the people that we serve, the cooperation that we have from within the community, from other libraries in the state, we value innovation and the staff. We have certain goals we look at every year. We strive to be fiscally responsible with our budget. We would like to have a budget that allows us to grow and to innovate, so that we can be equal to any library our size or even offer services that libraries that are larger do, at a scale that fits our community.
“We want our personnel to be well trained and well educated. We use public relations to get our message out. We take care of the facility and grounds and we do collection development.
“What you see at the library, whether you’re looking at books, movies, e-books, downloadable audio, the collection we have, we evaluate and right now it is changing very greatly. What this means is we hope that we have the dollars to keep up with what we’re doing.
“Every few years we have to be re-accredited. We have been re-accredited by the State Library of Iowa, which is the top level. We are proud to say that this re-accredition came about in the State of Iowa, 20 years ago, and we have always been a three. We meet all the requirements that we have to follow and we document what we do.
“Last year we had 91 children’s programs for ages preschool to Fifth Grade; 10 programs for young adults, an area we wish to develop; nine programs for adults; and 107 programs that were not library sponsored. We have three volunteers that supplied 225 hours. We have 34 data bases available from our web site at the library. We had 4,560 people come in and use the public access computers,” said Haverhals.
Haverhals explained libraries are an Iowa Workforce Development site which allows the unemployed to file for unemployment at the library. Staff often help people find the proper web site and forms. Libraries are not reimbursed for this service other than software.
“The newest thing that we’ve added is e-books for your I-pad or your Kindle since December of 2011 through a Wilbor Consortium. We had six classes.
“At a library board meeting, Oct. 24, the board approved, hopefully by Dec. 1, we will have a collection of digital magazines that you will be able to check out through our web site, put on your I-pad or Kindle Fire, or your Smart phone, and read many magazines. We have a whole list. It is something new and the wave of the future. Once this gets set up we will be offering classes. We also hope to do a promotion in December of what tablet or e-reader you want to buy.”
Haverhals reported that the library had a circulation of 43,992 items.
“That is 17 items for each resident of Hawarden,” said Haverhals. “We have found people are using the library for a multitude of reasons. They love to read but also look to us for information such as the person who came in and was frustrated with their insurance company and we helped her find a form. We do that a lot. That is our job, to help people find information to make that connection. That is what we hope to continue to do for a long time. We continue to pursue grant opportunities. We were able to get some Hawarden Foundation grants and Sioux County Foundation grants,” said Haverhals.
“Our last building addition was in 1991, and we want to keep it up for its appearance,” said Haverhals. “We have not done any real refurbishing since that. There comes a time when you have to upgrade things so that they are still attractive.”
“We think the library adds to the quality of life in this community. We want that to continue. Policies and rules are there for a reason so we can benefit the whole community,” said Haverals.
The library traces its roots to 1900 when the Hawarden Library Association leased a site at the old Independent building.