Library outlives perceived threats from technology

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In the 1950s, local librarians feared that libraries could soon be obsolete. “What are we going to do with these paperback books? Is this going to be the end of the library?” Michael Penrod, the current executive director of the Wood County District Public Library, said about his predecessors. But libraries survived paperbacks and so much more. Videos, DVDs, internet, e-books. None of that has doomed libraries, Penrod said earlier this week during a brainstorming session for the library board on the facility’s vision, mission, core values and core services. The library continues to be a place where people come for education and entertainment. “The library is still a destination,” said Brian Paskvan, president of the library board. Penrod said he didn’t want the board to experience “paralysis by analysis,” so he didn’t present lists of statistics. However, he did say the door counts and check-outs remain strong. “Library use has hit an all time high,” he said. So the question now is – how to keep those numbers strong. There are a lot of external issues that could impact the library. The senior center will be moving from next door to a new site. The city schools plan to consolidate the elementaries. And funding is never a complete certainty. “There are lots of external influences,” Paskvan said. To make sure the library remains a vital partner in the community, a survey will soon be conducted to determine community expectations and needs. Shannon Orr, a political science professor at Bowling Green State University, and her students will conduct the survey. Orr has…

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Library board gets down to the nuts & bolts of strategic planning

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When the Wood County District Public Library approves Director Michael Penrod’s next three-year “to-do” list, going to the hardware store probably won’t be one of the chores included. But the board may embrace a notion that Penrod shared from a recent library conference: “If our city is the best in the world then the library is its hardware store.” Penrod offered assurances though that he didn’t want to compete with Floyd Craft owner of ACE Hardware. The library will have plenty else on its agenda, which will be set by a new Strategic Plan for the years 2018-2020. Penrod and the board will have that plan ready by the beginning of next year. The plan is important because it brings the library through November, 2020, when it will have to be on the ballot to renew its levy. That levy generated almost $1 million in 2016, about 40 percent of the library’s revenue. When the strategic plan is done, Penrod said, its message should be simple enough to explain to an 11-year-old. Little will be simple about the process of getting to that point. The library is planning for an uncertain future, operating within an environment of constantly changing technology. Board Chairman Brian Paskavan posed the question: “Is the organization flexible enough to move when we need to move?” He admitted that “that’s a tall order.” Penrod presented the board with demographic data and library statistics that will guide the process. Those statistics show a shift toward greater use of digital materials, and less circulation for physical books, except from the bookmobile and at…

BGSU library acquires trove of Great Lakes research materials

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The University Libraries at Bowling Green State University has greatly expanded its collection of Great Lakes research materials thanks to a significant donation from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which is owned and operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society. More than 160 cubic feet of photos, pamphlets, slides, bound materials, postcards and archival materials have found a new home in the Libraries’ Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (HCGL), housed within the Center for Archival Collection. “We are grateful to the National Museum of the Great Lakes for entrusting us with their extensive collection, and we are excited that the consolidation of their materials with our existing Great Lakes archives has now created the largest collection of its kind on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes,” said Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University. “Thank you to the Museum, its board of directors, the Great Lakes Historical Society and the University Libraries staff who helped to facilitate this exciting and symbiotic new alliance in the name of historic preservation.” These additional materials bolster the already robust offering of Great Lakes-related research and artifacts curated by the University Libraries at BGSU. “The Great Lakes materials recently donated to HCGL is a wonderful addition to our holdings and provides many opportunities for collaboration between BGSU, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Historical Society,” said University Libraries Dean Sara A. Bushong. The addition of these materials to BGSU also will make University Libraries a major research destination in the U.S. for Great Lakes history….

BGSU taps state grant to get ideas flowing at Collab-Lab

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A state Third Frontier grant will help Bowling Green State University launch new research, teaching and commercial ideas. The money comes part of $8.7 million in funding that’s half state money and half matching funds from the institutions. The money was awarded by the  to NextTech, a collaborative organization comprised of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica, and the University of Toledo, which is the Entrepreneurial Service Provider for Northwest Ohio. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said the university’s share is about $707,000, half from the state, half from BGSU. That money will help to create the Collab-Lab, a new initiative to help faculty staff, and students work together to create new ideas. The lab will be in the first floor of Jerome Library, across from the elevators. Now there’s a technical support lab and a classroom in the space. That area, said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director, will be gutted to create a 2,000-square foot lab. Work begins May 10 and the lab will open of the start of the fall semester. The library as the intellectual heart of campus is the right place for the lab, Ogawa said. Though the space tself isn’t open, the initiative is already getting the ideas flowing. Schnepp said he’s been approached by faculty members who have ideas but need other skills to bring it to fruition. Workshops have been held to bring together faculty members, who have ideas to share, with other colleagues. One of the matches was someone from Women’s Study who has a store of oral histories with a librarian who…

Sherman Alexie’s Community Reads talk sold out

With only a little under three weeks to go until Community Reads author Sherman Alexie visits Bowling Green, the author’s free event on April 6 at 7 p.m. in the Bowling Green City Schools Performing Arts Center  is “sold” out. A limited number waiting list has been started for the event. Community Reads is asking that current ticket holders whose circumstances change and find they are no longer able to attend the April 6 talk by Alexie, call Wood County District Public Library’s Information Desk at 419-352-5050, or stop by the Bowling Green library , so that tickets which are no longer needed may be cancelled and made available to those on the waiting list. As tickets become available, people on the waiting list will be contacted in the order in which they joined the list. “The Community Reads planners knew Mr. Alexie would be a big draw, but have been astounded at how quickly tickets for his talk were grabbed up,” said library spokesperson Mary Callahan Boone. “We were hopeful we’d match the number of people who came to see Community Reads authors like Homer Hickam (Rocket Boys) and John Grogan (Marley and Me). Roughly 650 were in attendance for each of those programs. To have exceeded those numbers –the PAC accommodates 740 –is wonderful. As problems go, having a “sold” out event for Sherman Alexie is a great one to have.” Boone said half the free tickets for the Alexie event were snapped up within days of their becoming available on Feb. 14. Because the Hickam and Grogan talks were held in the gymnasium which is a larger and more…

Home history & ukes on tap at library

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Ukulele enthusiasts return to the Wood County District Public Library on Sunday, March 19 at 3 p.m. Anyone who is looking for a lively group to play ukulele with is invited to join in the fun in the library’s firstt floor Meeting Room. Sheet music and songbooks will be provided; all you need is a sense of adventure and a ukulele. Have you ever wondered about your home’s history? Or about the stories it could tell of its past inhabitants? The library’s program “If These Walls Could Talk: Researching Your House History” on March 21 at 6:30 pm, will teach you to use library and community resources to discover the stories hidden within the walls of your home. The program will be led by Local History librarian Marnie Pratt in the second floor Meeting Room. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5050.

Library closed for Presidents’ Day; ukulele jam, Feb. 19

From THE WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY The Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green and Walbridge, and the library Bookmobile will be closed Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents’ Day. Calling all ukulele enthusiasts looking for a friendly and helpful group to play ukulele with. Look no further: the popular Ukulele Club, led by members of the Grand Royale Ukulelists of the Great Black Swamp (GRUBS), returns to Wood County District Public Library Sunday, February 19 at 3 pm. To participate in the group’s jam session, all you need is a ukulele and sense of adventure. Song books and music provided at the jam. RSVP appreciated (419-352-5050), but not required. 1st Floor Meeting Room.