Using a new performance index, Westchester Public Library ranks 13 out of
all 238 public libraries in Indiana and 406 out of all 7,115 public
libraries in the nation.
WPL director Phil Baugher told the Library Board on Thursday that the
Library Journal, a primary publication in the profession, developed an index
assigning a numerical value for per-capita statistics dealing with
circulations, library visits, program attendance and public Internet
Using that formula Baugher said WPL’s final score ranked it second out of
all 48 Hoosier public libraries in the $1 million to $4.9 million
WPL’s total operating expenditures are approximately $1.8 million. Only the
Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville scored higher in that
expenditure category; northwest Indiana public libraries spending less than
$5 million were ranked 17th or lower.
Baugher said the index measures not what goes into a library but what
services come out of it. “It’s information to be proud of,” said Library
Board president Vern Odom of the ranking.
WPL’s own activity statistics through April show visitor count is down but
circulation of materials at Thomas is up 11 percent year-to-date; at
Hageman, circulation is down by just over 25 percent.
System-wide 126,714 materials have been circulated and 295,714 occasions of
service given to individual patrons including free Internet usage, web page
visits, reference questions and program attendance.
Assistant library director Jane Walsh-Brown updated the board on a series of
ongoing programs to help residents weather hard economic times. The series
is co-sponsored by WPL, the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce and the
Chesterton / Porter Rotary.
Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Library Service Center, How to Sell on e-Bay will
be presented and will explore how to list, buy, sell and pay for eBay items.
June 1 a Business Feasibility Workshop will analyze and help determine the
practicality of one’s business idea; pre-registration is required. June 25
Home-Based Business Opportunities will be discussed by a panel with
experience in direct sales and networking businesses.
All three programs are free and more information can be obtained about any
WPL event at 983-9715. Walsh-Brown said a recent Strategies for
Re-Employment daylong workshop will be repeated in the fall.
Additional programs, all at 10 a.m., under the banner of Thrifty Times:
Sharing Ideas for Saving Money continue with Thrifty Cooking, May 16;
Shopping to Save, May 30; Family Fun on a Budget, June 20; Home Repair
Basics, July 11; and Basic Car Repairs, July 25.
Walsh-Brown announced Be Creative@Your Library is the theme of the summer
children’s reading programs.
Registration begins June 1 and the program extends June 8 through July 16.
Each week a craft will be created; every week will have a Thursday Adventure
presentation at Thomas in Chesterton, and young-adult games and crafts every
Wednesday at Hageman in Porter.
The popular Storytime for children ages 3-6 continues this summer Tuesdays
at 1 p.m. at Thomas, and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. at Hageman. Each week
beginning June 9/10 a different theme will be featured.
Young adults Grades 6-9 have six afternoon programs planned at Thomas this
June 17, June 24 and July 8 Gabe Underwood will teach how to make
stop-motion films; pre-registration is required at the Reference desk. July
15 he will share how he makes foil creatures, and June 29 and July 27 the YA
Cafe will be open to enjoy refreshments, hang with friends, create art and
talk about books.
Adults are encouraged to read more this summer as well. Master the Art of
Reading between June 15 and July 4 offers them the opportunity to read or
listen to a book, then fill out a review card that is an entry to win a
prize July 6 in one of three grand prizes at each library.
For more information about any program, check WPL’s website at
call the Reference Desk at 926-7696.
Baugher gave the board a draft of an expanded emergency-closings policy to
be discussed in detail June 11. He said the current one deals more with
weather and heating/cooling problems and doesn’t address a possible chemical
spill or health pandemic.
Coordinating with public health and safety agencies now would be addressed,
as would in more detail how a WPL closure would affect library service,
patrons and employees.
The Library Board accepted with regret the resignation of automation/serials
manager Lynne McGowan, who is moving.
Baugher said he’s revising the job description for the post after the first
job-search publication netted few applicants.
WPL recently received an $8,000 donation from the Friends of the Library,
and a $5,254 refund check from AT&T as part of a class-action lawsuit
It was announced long-time member Rick Hokanson was re-appointed to the
Library Board by the Porter County Council.
The board OK’d buying the $8,000 Simply Reports, a new reporting module for
the library’s monthly statistics, and outsourcing WPL’s email services to
ENA of Indianapolis at $60 per month to service 29 email accounts.
The latter will provide more protection from viruses and spam, said Baugher.
Board member Claire Jolie asked about having employee payroll direct
deposited into their accounts. Baugher said doing so likely would delay
payroll because of the additional work involved.