Posted: Tuesday, March 1, 2011, 9:23 am
As I write this, snow is flying outside and the ground is covered in white. Winter marches on, but inside the Library, we are preparing for spring and the annual community breakfast, scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 am at Northwest Library.
It seems appropriate that my first community breakfast as library director would mark the 15th anniversary of Northwest Library, which opened in April 1996.
by Chuck Gibson
When I began my career at Worthington Libraries as technology coordinator in 1995, construction of Northwest Library was already underway. I was so excited to be part of a library system that was actually growing and embracing new technology. Being able to purchase and install new equipment not to mention building an entire network from scratch was such a thrill.
I keenly remember being in Northwest Library till the wee hours of the morning the night before the grand opening taking advantage of one last opportunity to make sure everything was in working order. Although exhausted and stressed at the time, it's now one of my fondest memories.
Northwest Library means a lot to me, but it's nothing compared to what it means to the community. When it opened, Northwest Library had a collection of 100,000 books and 10,000 audiovisual items. Today, it houses more than 168,000 books and 37,000 audiovisual items. In 2010, Northwest Library circulated 1.7 million items, making it the busiest library in our system. It is heavily used and well loved by patrons, one of whom recently remarked, "I don't know what it is about this Library, but I always leave with an armload of books!" That's exactly what we want to hear!
Now such a fixture in the neighborhood it serves, the building of Northwest Library could not have been possible without our partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Before Worthington Libraries passed its first operating levy in 1992, the board of the Columbus Metropolitan Library purchased and agreed to hold in trust the land where Northwest Library is located. The two library boards also signed a joint operating agreement for the facility in 1993.
Northwest Library sits on the border of our service district and that of Columbus Metropolitan Library and serves residents of both areas. As part of the joint operating agreement, the Columbus Metropolitan Library makes an annual payment of nearly $1 million to offset our operational costs. It's a unique arrangement, made possible by a strong partnership and ongoing spirit of collaboration between our two organizations to the ultimate benefit of library patrons!
I'm happy Patrick Losinski, director of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, will join me at the community breakfast to celebrate 15 years of providing library service together.
I hope you will join us, too, as the breakfast also provides a wonderful opportunity to recognize the contributions of so many other people who help keep our libraries strong, from patrons to staff, volunteers, community partners and legislators. Mark your calendar now!