What exactly is Placemaking?

Creating the environment within your library, and within your library culture, that makes every single community member feel as though the library is their place, best suited to serve their community.

When we library people work to translate abstract values into action, we sometimes lose our way. At this summer’s STLS Trustee Retreat, internationally recognized speaker, planner, and doer John Boecker will facilitate a highly interactive session for public library trustees. We have invited him to assist in identifying the unique value your library can provide your community, how this value aligns with the unique features and assets of your community, and how to realize the potential in that alignment in everything we do.

The word often used for this alignment is placemaking. Creating the environment within your library, and within your library culture, that makes every single community member feel as though the library is their place, best suited to serve their community.

In your interactions with STLS, you might notice there are areas where we press for standardization and areas where we press for localization. There is no standard culture or cookie cutter program that will work in every community. Instead, we’d like to help you connect with the resources you need to bring out the best in your local culture and place.

Consider registering for Placemaking at Your Library with John Boecker, on June 7th, 2018 at 5:30 pm. Your libraries have each received enough registration forms to give to one to each board member. After our 5:30 pm session, we’ll have an optional catered dinner for you. Registration can be completed on paper and sent back via the delivery, or using the online registration form: http://www.eventkeeper.com/code/ekform.cfm?curOrg=STLS&curID=322591  

STLS also has two pages for your reference on related topics: Strategic Planning & Facilities. If, after visiting them, you find that they are missing information you would find useful, or you have additional questions, please send me a note and I’ll get back to you.

Building Our Capacity by Refocusing Resources

As of January 1, 2019 STLS will no longer:

  • process or finish library materials,
  • receive member library materials from vendors,
  • apply ownership in any way to member library materials,
  • catalog library materials using a physical copy of the item, unless requested by ILS specialists.

The cost of processing, member requests for customization, and gap in time between order and patron circulation are all central drivers in the decision to stop offering this service in house. In pilot libraries that have already transitioned away from STLS process & finishing services, who submit their catalog requests electronically, the time between placing an order with a vendor to placing the item in a patron’s hands has gone down to as little as 10 days. In 2018, STLS charged, at a loss, $1.00 per item. The average price per finished book from a vendor is $1.25, and can cost as little as $.95 depending on customization level.

What does it mean in budgeting? Expect that many of your books will cost an extra $1.25 and that you’re A/V materials could cost an additional $2.50 per item. If purchased through any of the major vendors on state contract (Baker & Taylor, Brodart, or Ingram), per item discounts are up to 45% off the retail cost of the item – allowing for high quality processing to be a better deal than an item discounted on Amazon at 30% off which then needs time consuming inhouse processing and will need a catalog record to be created for it – all of which lengthens the time between ordering the item and putting the item in the hands of patrons.

Is this your job? Not really. Your library’s director is well aware of the changes and might already be signed up to attend the vendor fair on June 8th at Corning Community College where they can see the customization options for each of the major vendors, ask important questions on cost and turn-around time, and meet the reps that will help them.  If you, or your director, have any questions about the transition, consider visiting https://www.stls.org/processing-finishing or send me an email.

Upcoming Learning Events

Construction Aid Overview Workshop/Webinar: Join us immediately following the Directors Advisory Council meeting, May 30th, 10:30 am at Alfred Box of Books Library, for a one-hour overview of the process of applying for Construction Aid through STLS. We’ll have additional application packets on hand for your use. Can’t make it? Check out the recorded webinar from April 30th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2xljUf2OFY. For additional Construction Aid materials and information, visit https://www.stls.org/construction-aid. For additional Facilities resources, including tips for working with the State Historic Preservation Office, visit https://www.stls.org/facilities.

In partnership and appreciation,

Margo