Ellen Hobin is the manager of communications at the Central London Public Library. She says they have just updated their Strategic Plan and identified a new purpose statement.
End of Physical Books?
The library is currently facing challenges adapting to the ever-changing world of technology. Some may wonder if there will continue to be a need for libraries if ebooks someday render physical books obsolete.
Ellen strongly disagreed and believes the library is for so much more than traditional book use.
“We have things like a music practice room that you can book to practice music, we have a 370 seat performing arts centre downstairs, we have the London room that holds London’s material history” Ellen explains, “but we also just have a space that anyone can walk into, that’s welcoming and safe.”
Anna Dundas is the e-collections librarian and has felt the demand for online material. She believes the future for the public library will continue to be a very busy environment.
“I see us changing what we offer and how we offer it, but the basic premise of us providing information isn’t going to change. It’s just going to be how that information is packaged now.”
The library holds a variety of books, DVDs, CDs, children’s material, books on CD, as well as access online to a variety of collections such as film, magazine, and history services. Anyone wishing to borrow or access these materials would need a library card.
Keeping up with the demand of popular online and physical materials can be very expensive. While the city taxpayer dollars provide some money for operating costs, the library often turns to Londoners for anything above and beyond that.
Friends of the Library
The public library receives a great amount of support from the Friends of the Library volunteer organization that advocates on behalf of the library and raises funds for value-added type programs.
Friends of the Library has currently raised and donated over $1.3 million to the library in a 22-year period.
Len Carey is the Secretary for the organization and says the funds come from the bookstore and a large book sale of approximately 50,000 books at the Western Fair.
“Those two things raise about $125,000 a year for the library” says Len, “and its entirely run by volunteers.”
The London Public Library is looking forward to continuing a bright future ahead.