Annual Report 2015-2016
It’s all about “connections.” When learning that I work in a public library, new people I meet in the course of my daily life will often tell me a story from their childhood about how much they loved the library and what it meant to them growing up. Sometimes they will talk about a difficult time in their life, a job loss, divorce, a serious illness or a death of a child or spouse and how they found a lifeline by going to the library. A common response from people who reconnect with their library is how amazed they are by what the public library has to offer and what it provides the community in this age of “connection” that is the 21st Century.
Washington County Free Library keeps our citizens connected to their government, educational opportunities, training, the world beyond their window, and most importantly to each other. More and more, government at all levels is migrating to e-government applications as its primary citizen interaction conduit while assuming that, somehow, our citizens have access to computers and connectivity. Filing taxes, applying for Medicare, renewing a passport, paying a myriad number of licensing fees all can now be done online – that is if you have on-line access. In order to have the ability to meet and interact with government, agencies have learned to refer the individual to us here at the library for both assistance and Internet access. Washington County residents, on their own initiative, have discovered that their library has both the required technology and people trained in how to access it. It should also be noted that even with computer and Internet connections, many still come to the library requiring the expertise of our instructors in helping to navigate and understand the information to be found on government web sites.
Our community’s most important asset, our children, discover their first connections to a love of reading here at the library. Our STEM classes introduce our preschoolers to math and science. Our classes throughout the school year and into the summer months offer a variety of fun educational learning opportunities. Close to 20,000 children attended one or more of the 2,488 educational classes offered throughout our system this year.
Our classes on technology, financial literacy, resume writing, on-line job searching and retirement planning provide quality information and skills to make our citizens’ lives better and more productive.
Our lectures, book clubs, meet the author events, writing contests, films and discussion group opportunities enrich the lives of Washington County residents and provide the most important “connection” of all – the connection we have with our community, our family, our friends and each other.
It has been a busy year.