Name and title: Mary George, Director of Library Services
Library name: Placer County Library
How many libraries are in your system? Nine and a Mobile Library (AKA Bookmobile)
Staff size: 50+/- (mainly minus 😊)
How Many MLS: 12
Community size: 200,000/ 1,500 square miles
Collection size: 250,000 items
How do you think being located at Lake Tahoe affects the operations of the library?
Tahoe City is a community with a year-round population and a very busy tourist destination especially in the summer and winter months. People visit the shores of Lake Tahoe from all over the world and a great many visitors stay and are employed in the service industries in the busy seasons. This makes Tahoe City Library one of the places for travelers and seasonal workers to get their entertainment and information.
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What is the biggest challenge facing your library system?
No doubt funding and support from the people who are in control of the funding. In a world where libraries are changing and people don’t necessarily know what we offer them until they need it, it’s challenging to compete with fire, public safety, and land development. Also, I would say training librarians to manage people effectively has been a struggle. Speaking broadly, librarians are great at managing information, programming, and technology, but some of us tend to people please and avoid confrontation as managers.
You recently employed a consultant. What was the most interesting or unexpected finding?
It always surprises me that people don’t know what the library offers. Library staff interviewed non library users out in the community and people were shocked that the library carries and checks out current DVDs. I wish there was more resource for a massive library campaign.
Is there a new technology that you are excited about using in your library system?
We just implemented a new ILS system (Innovative Interface’s POLARIS) that will allow us to connect to more technologies in the future. I’d love to have a voice-o-graphic in one of our libraries. It’s a recording studio box like a phone booth. People step in and sing, play an instrument, read poetry and the box makes a record for them!
I noticed in your strategic plan that you will begin "pop-up libraries", can you tell me more about this idea?
“Pop-up” library is a trendy term for community outreach. We’ll be performing storytimes, checking out materials, issuing library cards outside the walls of the library including bringing materials out and about to events. For example, if we bring library materials and staff into a convalescent hospital or laundry mat, we would consider that a pop-up library.
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to share?
After almost 30 years as a librarian, I am so excited to see what the next generation of librarians does to advance the profession and assist customers with their information needs. Thanks so much for reaching out and enjoy Tahoe!
New Strategic Plan: https://www.placer.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/39536/02A?bidId=