Librarian April Jording attends Director’s University and connects with RAILS
LOSTANT — Lostant librarian April Jording is a recent graduate of the inaugural class of the Illinois Library Association’s Directors University, and she plans to make good use of her new education.
Designed for Illinois library directors who have less than two years of experience, the seminars Jording attended covered all aspects of library operations, as well as providing valuable networking opportunities.
“It was a boot camp for everything you’d need to know, and it was nice because everyone was in the same boat. It made us feel comfortable to ask the questions we all had,” Jording said of her approximately 50 fellow fledgling directors.
Held in Springfield and sponsored by the Illinois Library Association, the Illinois Heartland Library System, vendors and registration fees, the university provided information on director/board relations; human resources; records; technology; grants and fundraising; buildings and maintenance; security; policies; planning; emergencies; budgeting; laws and advocacy.
“The laws were the most challenging part because there was just so much of it. The technology was like that, too,” Jording said.
She added she learned there were several things she hadn’t realized she needed to be concerned with, and said it was all about finding the right balance for everything.
“That’s what was so great about this university. We all feel comfortable now calling each other to ask for help, and they even created a private Facebook group just for us, and it’s helped us stay connected,” she said.
Jording’s favorite part of the university was learning about library advocacy.
“It was about how to draw the community into the library and use it as a hub to connect and help others, because libraries can play an important part in providing that old-time sense of community we seem to have lost,” she said.
To help spur the movement back toward the library, Jording has been working on informational welcome packets that will be sent to residents to explain the many services the library can provide.
“A lot of people don’t realize we offer copying, scanning and faxing services, we’re close, and we’re a lot cheaper than other places you could go,” she said.
Probably the development that will have the biggest impact on what the Lostant Library is capable of offering is the new connection to the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS).
RAILS conveniently provides library patrons with access to the book, audio and DVD collections of approximately 1,300 libraries in northern and west central Illinois. Items can be searched for and held either at the library or via the Internet, and within a short time, they’ll be delivered directly to Lostant.
Lostant patrons can also use Access 360, the e-book platform.
“I don’t think many people realize they can come here and download an e-book to read for free rather than going to Amazon and paying to download it,” Jording said.
Jording also enjoyed seeing how many innovative and progressive programs and services many larger libraries are beginning to offer.
“We couldn’t do many of them here because we’re too small, but I love the idea of seed banks. One library offered a baking library where you could check out equipment, like pans you might not own or other things, as well as recipes. Another had a permanent ‘Making Room’ set up with things you’d need for crafts,” she said.
With her eyes set toward the future, Jording is committed to taking advantage of the evolution of modern libraries and providing her patrons with all the little library in Lostant can offer.
“I want to help open people’s eyes so they can see how much a library can do and be for them,” she said.