Jay Johnston M.S., M.A.
The work that libraries do today is vastly different than that of two decades ago and yet very similar in general appearance (i.e., filled with books, children, adults, senior citizens, and teens). Libraries are social spaces, the agora, where people from all walks of life can have fundamental how-to questions answered by the Information Services team, learn how to tie a Windsor knot, or meet a friend for a library book group discussion. This Annual Report is another attempt to communicate how The Farmington Libraries are changing in response to the social, intellectual and practical demands of today’s world. I am enthusiastic about the future of the libraries and look forward to hearing from you as to how we may continue our quest for the best possible collections, services, and programming possible.
This fiscal year produced several opportunities to open new learning channels by further developing our existing facilities into new and productive three-dimensional enterprise spaces. These enhanced programming developments were the product of front-line based user input. These new programming outputs included virtual reality workshops, photo editing classes, building projects, sewing instruction, 3-D printing, podcasting, and video production. Due to their labor-intensive, customer-centric nature, these small project-based workshops and trainings must be measured qualitatively, as these specific activities produce more valuable user experiences for individuals and small groups.
It is essential to understand that the breadth of the programs stated above service every community segment including teens, adults, and, children at both the Main and Barney libraries. And, although I have highlighted new learning channels above, the bedrock of our library platform remains solidly placed in the importance of reading and providing for the interest, informational needs, and enlightenment of our community by presenting differing points of view on current and historical issues. Naturally, we believe in the cultivation of strong reading habits in pre-K children and developing an early understanding of reading’s importance. Our outstanding Children’s Department focuses on kids gaining the comprehension skills needed to decode complex language concepts expressed in printed materials. This is further strengthened by a vigorous customer-focused materials acquisitions plan, which is deployed to develop and sustain lifelong learning patterns in our 18,000 users.
We officially closed out our Centennial year by offering opportunities for individuals, organizations, and schools to participate in our “Farmington Speaks” initiative, which gathered artifacts for inclusion in our Centennial time capsule. As we stand upon our many past successes, we can now also look ahead to all the possibilities awaiting us as we forge forward toward a new and better future. In that regard, we have begun planning and developing coding classes for children between the ages of 8-13 years, one of whom may become the Steve Jobs of their generation! We have also developed and operationalized our facilities plan by upgrading and improving our children’s spaces and installing a new elevator at the Main Library. Along with these physical improvements, our programs for all ages are focused upon engagement and relevance. Maker programming continues to discover new and specific interest areas from our user populations, while general adult, teen, and children’s programs continue to provide opportunities for growth and enrichment.
Generally, this year has produced remarkable results, and as we shift our gears into the next fiscal year, I am very optimistic that fiscal year 2018-2019 will be exceptionally productive and eventful.
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