Questions abound regarding possible changes to library services after the school board vote last week to terminate the Public Library Agreement. I will aim to answer the most pressing ones within the scope of my job as the director of Meinders Community Library.
As the current Public Library Agreement remains in effect until December 31, 2022, these answers are relevant through that time frame only.
Will your hours change? The short answer is no. Library hours are set by the library board based on MN state statute requirements for combined school and public libraries. Once COVID eases up a bit and the library board deems it appropriate, the library will resume pre-pandemic hours.
Where do I park to visit the library? The same place you always have. The parking lot to the south of the school campus is the designated parking lot for Public Library patrons. Students and school staff continue to use their own designated parking lots.
Will I still get books from the Plum Creek Library System? Yes. As long as Meinders Community Library remains a public library in good standing with PCLS, public patrons will have access to all the amenities of Plum Creek, including but not limited to:
- Physical materials such as books, DVDs, cakepans, audiobooks, and magazines from all PCLS libraries.
- Digital audio and ebooks from Libby/Overdrive.
- Digital platforms for adults and youth from Ebsco and Scholastic–check out our quicklinks tab to see all of them.
- MNLink materials from libraries across the state of MN.
- Digital resources for students, faculty, and public from eLibraryMN.
- Wi-fi hotspots.
What about my student? Will he continue to have access to all of Plum Creek Library System services at school? The short answer is yes–at least until December 31, 2022. The complicated answer is that school contracts are very different than a public library membership with the Plum Creek Library System, so services may change. If you have questions regarding a specific offering, please inquire at the library.
What will happen to library programming? Nothing different. Right now, our biggest concern with library programming is how to host safe events during COVID. As we deem it appropriate, we will continue to offer programs for all ages and interests. In fact, we have a great family friendly escape room happening this week. Just call to reserve a time that works for your crew!
Can I still check out whatever I want or will I be limited in my selection? There will be no short-term changes to the current collection, and ideally all materials will remain available to all patrons through the end of the year. That said, if a new agreement is not reached, the collection will be divided per the 1993 Public Library Agreement. This may affect your access to materials while staff physically divide and pack up the collection.
Can the public still use the library spaces like the computer lab and conference room for meetings? Yes. MN statute is very clear that the spaces, collections, and programming of combined school and public libraries are to be made available to both public and school. We schedule room reservations for individuals and organizations. As long as a room is available, you are able to use it.
What about the STEAM Room? Can we still use that? Yes. Except for the 3D printer, all of the tools and supplies in the library makerspace came from several grants, generous donations from community members, support from the Pipestone Area Friends of the Library, and through library funds. As such, the STEAM Room will remain open to our patrons until such a time that it may need to be packed up. Please feel free to call, stop by, or email us if you wish to use the space. As long as it is available, you are free to tinker away.
Until and unless a new agreement is made between the city and the school, the public library will operate under the current agreement through the end of 2022. We will keep you updated on any changes that impact our service to you and remain dedicated to providing quality materials and opportunities to all our patrons, from tiny tots to teenagers and those long into adulthood. ~ jody