Check It Out!: Library will evolve to meet Worthington's changing needs

Posted: Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 9:49 am

This is the first of my series of columns about Worthington Libraries. I'm eager to share information about library services and look forward to receiving feedback as I continue to learn more about the community and adjust to my new role as library director.

Chuck Gibson

Check it Out! by Chuck Gibson appears regularly in the SNP/Worthington News.

I worked at Worthington Libraries for 12 years, from 1995-2007, before moving to Georgia to serve as director of the South Georgia Regional Library System. When I was offered the position of director at Worthington Libraries, I was thrilled at the prospect of returning to a community I knew so well and loved so much.

My primary goal as director is to maintain and advance the library's excellent reputation as a provider of quality services, materials and programs and to make sure the library's continued evolution reflects the changing needs of the community-and our community is changing.

Worthington has grown increasingly diverse. Students in the district speak dozens of different languages at home, and by 2012, the district will reach a Diversity Index of 37 percent (the probability that two people from the same area will be from different race/ethnic groups).

In addition to cultural diversity, there is also greater economic diversity. While more than 16 percent of households in the school district report total income of less than $35,000, nearly 14 percent report annual income of more than $150,000. Thirty percent of district residents live at opposite ends of income spectrum.

There is tremendous opportunity reflected in these statistics. Greater diversity makes for a more vital and interesting community. New residents can provide fresh perspective and develop different ways of solving problems.

The role of the Library should be to facilitate community discussion surrounding important issues and to provide people with useful resources.

The statistics referenced here, for example, were gathered using Business Decision, a database that provides detailed market and demographic data for any area in central Ohio. It's accessible through the library's website (worthingtonlibraries.org) and available to anyone with a Worthington Libraries library card. Many local businesses use this service to find valuable market information and the city of Worthington has used it to assist them in their economic development efforts.

As we continue to move forward in an era of rapid change— socially, economically and technologically— I look forward to learning more about the community and using that knowledge to guide the library's future development and service priorities.

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