The One Charm of the Past is That it is the Past

By Matt Nojonen, Library Director

Tis the season for goofy end-of-the-year articles, isn’t it? The best of this, the worst of that, whatever-happened-to-whomever, funniest cat memes, hackneyed trips down memory lane until the inevitable migraine strikes. How nostalgic can you be for the last twelve months, anyway? Especially the most recent last twelve months. Auld Lang phooey and pass the aspirin. Here’s to next year.  

2021 will be a tech upgrade year at the Library. Many of our public computers are old and tired. They will be loosed on a farm to play with their Windows 7 and Office 2016 friends all the livelong day. The brains of the outfit will join them when the server is replaced. It won’t happen overnight. Buying hardware these days is akin to ordering a stove from Montgomery Ward in 1872. It will get here. Someday. It’s funny/not funny how backwards things have become. Servers have a decent lifespan, however, so once it’s in place, we won’t have to think about it again for a while.

If you didn’t know already, a Leavenworth Public Library card is a free ticket to 943,589 e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming movies and music offered by Overdrive, Hoopla and Kanopy. Do library patrons of all ages like this? Yes they do. Emphatically. Circulation of digital content has increased from 5,949 to 37,273 since 2015. 527%. I wish all our investments could grow like that. Or the ratio of hair to scalp for some of us. Any way you look at it, 21st Century library users want the 24/7, weightless, never overdue, lost or damaged convenience of digital content.

The Leavenworth Public Library Foundation is busily fundraising to help us meet that demand. They will dedicate the proceeds of their ongoing campaign to the purchase of e-books and e-audiobooks in 2021. The Library partners with other Kansas libraries to provide digital content so the impact of local donations will reach across the state. If you wish to donate, go to Foundation’s page on our website (under About Us at the top of the page). All tax deductible, of course.

Most of us have sharpened tech skills or acquired new ones. Who knew what Zoom was last Christmas? Now it’s as common as salt. We are putting that fresh knowledge to work on new programs, access and services for 2021. Users love our current digital content, so where can we find more? We built a Digital Study Room on our website (look under the “Digital Content” tab) to connect kids and parents with awesome educational tools they can use at home. What will school look like next fall and how can we respond? Teaser: soon patrons will have a way of “ordering” material online for pickup. Check your mailbox or our website in a couple of weeks for more info. And did you know you can apply online for a temporary library card? Cool stuff.

Here’s to 2021. We are looking forward to it.