Her message is clear: No more mustard yellow carpet. During the past four years, Library Services Director Nancy Martinez has hoped that the 31-year-old carpet in the Lodi Public Library would disintegrate while it was being cleaned.
After completing $1.8 million in renovations last August, staff is already looking toward finishing the rest of the library, which is mainly the adult area, and finally replacing all of the mustard carpet.
Councilmember Bob Johnson said there is quite the contrast between the new children's area and the adult section at the council's shirtsleeves meeting Tuesday.
"Some of those chairs could be donated to the Smithsonian," Johnson added.
Below are some of the ways the library plans to change and adapt in the coming years.
- "The rest of the story": This is the theme for the new donation campaign to finish the rest of the library. Martinez estimates the project will cost $600,000 to $800,000, but she will have more specific figures when the city completes the plans and specifications in the next 12 months. Library staff hope to renovate in 2012.
The renovation will include stripping the east side of the building down to the concrete and rewiring the area. The new adult section will have areas called living rooms, possibly with fake or real fireplaces, that are quiet reading areas away from the stacks.
There will also be a teen area that will have specialized seating, such as bean bags or sound-enabled chairs, where they will be able to listen to music. By separating teens from the quiet adult area, Woodruff said the library is hoping to appeal to both age groups.
"The structure of the building does not contain sound well, so if you have a group of teens studying next to a group of adults trying to read quietly, that could be a problem," Woodruff said.
The library would like to eventually consider a cafe, but because of the extra plumbing and wiring, that will be an expensive addition.
- A virtual library: By 2020, Martinez said the library would like to have "a virtual library equal to the bricks and mortar." She hopes it will allow people to access every item in the library's catalogue remotely.
When Johnson asked what is the No. 1 technological need, Martinez said she needs an increase in the materials budget, which has been slashed by recent cuts. That way the library can buy more e-books and e-audio books.
"There is a large demand for that," she said.
She said the library could also use a larger bandwidth. If the library received its own Digital Subscriber Line, then connection speeds would improve, Martinez said. But because of the Children's Internet Protection Act, the library would need to purchase filtering software, which is very expensive and currently out of the library's price range, she said.
- New gadgets: The library is considering expanding the Internet and cell phone services it offers. One option is a Text a Librarian program, where residents will be able to get reference questions answered through text messages.
Staff is also considering mobile apps for handheld devices, a music download service where residents will be able to check out songs and e-mail reminders that people will be able to request for upcoming events.
The library is utilizing social networking with Facebook at www.facebook.com/LodiPublicLibrary. Martinez said she is not sure if the library will join Twitter, but she is looking into it.
- Acting as a resource: Library staff has always answered a wide variety of questions. With the down economy, staff has received more questions about job applications, resumes and government program applications, like Social Security and unemployment.
Part of the demand stems from the fact that many state agencies and companies no longer offer paper forms, instead assuming that people can pull them off the Internet.
There were 38,999 computer sessions between fiscal year 2007 to 2008. That number increased to 52,124 in the most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30. Martinez said that last number does not include a month of data when the library was still at its temporary Pine Street location.
Of the approximate 14,240 questions the library answers each year, about a third are related to resumes, job applications and government forms, Martinez said.
People on their cell phones and Councilman Larry Hansen's golf game
Below are some of the paraphrased questions asked during the Lodi City Council tour of the Lodi Public Library during Tuesday's shirtsleeves meeting.
Q: After sitting next to people who answer their cell phones while she is working on the computer, Lodi resident Myrna Wetzel asked what the library's policies are for cell phones.
A: The library has a policy requesting people step outside if they are going to answer their cell phones, supervising librarian Andrea Woodruff said. Staff tries to enforce it when possible, but they are often helping people find materials, answering questions or assisting people in checking out.
"We don't have enough staff to do it effectively," Woodruff said.
Q: While he has never noticed them being a a problem, Councilman Bob Johnson said he often notices "street people" spending time at the library. He asked if they ever become a problem.
A: Woodruff said the librarians usually leave them alone unless they become disorderly or start snoring.
"By and large the street people are not a big problem," she said.
Q: Mayor Phil Katzakian asked if the library charges for printing on a computer.
A: Woodruff said they do charge, mainly because of the cost for paper and ink.
Q: At the end of the meeting, Katzakian asked if the library has a golf section to help Councilman Larry Hansen with his game.
A: "Yes. We even have instructional videos," Library Services Director Nancy Martinez said.