Kalona library gives annual report

By Molly Roberts
Posted 12/8/21

At the regular meeting of the Kalona City Council on Monday, Dec. 6, Kalona Public Library Director Trevor Sherping and Director of Youth Services Olivia Kahler presented their fiscal year 2020-21 …

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Kalona library gives annual report

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At the regular meeting of the Kalona City Council on Monday, Dec. 6, Kalona Public Library Director Trevor Sherping and Director of Youth Services Olivia Kahler presented their fiscal year 2020-21 report.

“The two big things that we took on, the huge things that absolutely needed to be done in order for the library to run was to get a new strategic plan done and to also finish accreditation,” Sherping said. “Both of those things happening at the same time only occurs once every 15 years.”

Sherping said the most important part of the strategic plan is improving the library’s stance in the community and trying to make every patron feel as welcome as possible. The other two main goals of the strategic plan are helping patrons find, evaluate and use information and creating comfortable physical and virtual spaces.

The Kalona Public Library completed the arduous accreditation process in February 2021, achieving a Tier 3 status, which is the highest tier available. The library’s Tier 3 status will be current through June 30, 2024.

In an effort to promote access for all, the library changed its policies about Interlibrary Loan, a program that allows patrons to borrow books from other libraries across the state.

“It used to be that there was a $2 fee associated with each item that the patron requested and there was a maximum number of three items that you could request at the same time. With our budget and with some nice things that the state was doing, we were able to get rid of both of those,” Sherping said. “Increasing the number of interlibrary loans made a lot of extra work for our circulation librarian, but I think we were able to manage it very well.”

Sherping said the library went from about 350 interlibrary loans to over 1,100.

The library also amended its policy regarding forgotten library cards and checking out materials without a library card present. The old policy allowed users to forget their card one time, but after that they had to pay $1 and register for a brand-new card.

“What we do now is pretty simple,” Sherping said. “We have other information. Luckily, we’re a small town and we know a lot of our patrons… we ask them to verify their address or phone number and they’re still able to receive their materials and we don’t have to send them away empty-handed.”

Kahler highlighted the Summer Reading Program, which had 279 children aged 0-13 participate in 2021. There were 57 in-person programs presented during the nine weeks of the program, which drew a total of 1,500 participants. The highest-attended event was the Prairie Patch llama visit, which drew 128 people.

The report shows that the library has 4,559 registered cardholders, including 1,979 Kalona residents, 1,261 rural Washington County residents, 992 Open Access patrons and 327 Riverside residents. From July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, 12,196 people entered the doors of the Kalona Public Library and 30,072 physical materials were circulated.

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