Though Linda Mielke may be the new director for the James Prendergast Library Association, she's a veteran to understanding what it takes to keep a library going.
During Monday night's City Council voting session, lawmakers unanimously voted to grant the Prendergast Library $372,000 in funding for 2012, the full amount asked for by the library.
"We're gratified that the city presented us with the status-quo budget that we asked for," said Mielke. "I realize things are difficult, (but) we're gratified that the mayor and city council realize what an important resource the Prendergast Library is."
James Prendergast Library officials are pleased the Jamestown City Council matched its 2011 funding with $372,000 for the library in 2012.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb
Just as Catherine Way did during her tenure as the director of the Prendergast Library, Mielke expressed that she would like to take an active role in the community, rather than simply being an entity which exists within it.
"I've had a wide range of discussions with the library board over what we're thinking of doing over the next year. Obviously, we want to enhance service, we want to bring more people into the library, as well as reach out to the community and do some polling studies," said Mielke. "We've hired a polling agency that works with libraries called Polling Opinions, and we're going to be asking people about why they use the library, and how they use the library. That way I'll have a better idea of what to present to the library board and where we should be going."
The Prendergast Library has a long history of hosting events in the past, such as e-reader education seminars, Big Read events, and interactive child reading seminars, in addition to the well known annual book sale. Mielke hopes to continue such traditions going forward.
One aspect of keeping up with the times that Mielke would like to focus on is the purchasing of more electronic books.
"(Electronic books) are very popular, and it seems like we can't buy enough of them," said Mielke. "Electronics is one end of the spectrum ... and the other end of the spectrum is the nitty-gritty work of teaching people how to read, and having computer classes. We think we can serve both of those constituencies."
Mielke believes that so long as it continues to receive the necessary funding, the Prendergast Library will always serve a purpose in the community.
"People still read, despite what some people think, and people still use their libraries," said Mielke. "We really think we're a vital community resource."