Library Lookout January 2018


From the Secretary
January 2018 

What's Your New Year's Resolution?
January and resolutions go hand in hand.  Most resolutions address personal improvement. We resolve to eat less, exercise more, organize our paperwork, spend carefully, clean closets, etc. Some libraries even hold classes on making and keeping resolutions.  If your track record is like mine, by Valentine’s Day at the latest, New Year’s resolutions are history.

But what if we resolved to make this year the best ever for our libraries; to make more people aware of the library; to offer more services?

What would it take?  

Here are a few suggestions.  I know you will think of more.  If you want to share, post them on the Library Commission’s Facebook page and/or Twitter link.  

Use what you have…and find what you don’t.

  • You have staff, patrons, and community. Among them are grant writers, creative minds, and specialized skills for sharing.
  • Ask, make a plan, and get to work; do something!

Exercise more – out in the community

  • Get the library on agendas.  
    • County Commission, Board of Education, and City Council meetings 
    • Chamber of Commerce and social organizations 
  • Give updates about the library, even if no one asks for them. Show up prepared, highlight what you do for the community, and don’t be afraid to ask for support. 
  • Provide programs at non-library venues.

Step out of your comfort zone

  • Talk to an elected official about library services.
  • Attend WVLA Legislative Day at the Capitol.
  • Ask library users what they would like to see at the library.
  • Ask non-users what would make them come to the library.
  • Be involved in discussions of community issues.
  • Be an active, contributing member of WVLA. 
    • Volunteer for a committee
    • Submit a conference idea

Rethink, reorganize, redesign

  • Rearrange furniture to create more, or different space. 
  • Paint the walls to breathe new life into your building. 
  • Weed the collection.
  • Change displays often. 

Strengthen Relationships

  • Provide opportunities for people, including staff, to connect, explore, and learn together. 
  • Develop relationships with politicians and don’t be afraid to let them know how their actions affect the people you serve.
  • Involve everyone in programming.
  • Thank the library trustees.
  • Smile at teenagers.
  • Find ways to say “yes”

Apply for a grant or award

Get chased by zombies 

  • Don’t look behind 
  • Keep moving forward – quickly

Happy New Year!

Karen Goff
WVLC Executive Secretary 



Troubled Waters?

In a perfect world, library Boards meet regularly, discuss civilly, and decide wisely.  In the real world, that is not always the case.  In the real world, Boards occasionally must navigate troubled waters.  It happens often enough that United for Libraries has made available a webinar titled “Troubled Library Boards: Prevention and Survival.”

Led by Sally Gardner Reed, former Executive Director of United for Libraries; Trustee Jo Beckwith from Illinois; and Stephen Bero, Director of the Algonquin (IL) Public Library, the webinar discusses:

  • Best practices to prevent or minimize board problems.  
  • What can be done to get a wayward Trustee back on the right track.
  • How to move forward as a high functioning team.  

The cost of the webinar is $75; $50 for United for Libraries and Public Library Association members.  Registration information is available at  If not a member, you will need to create a free ALA account.

If webinar cost is a barrier, apply for a WVLC Continuing Education scholarship at  Don’t let the “Application for Conference Grants” title stop you.  Just enter “Troubled Library Boards webinar in the box titled “Other”.



WVLC Announces New Awards for 2018

WVLC is accepting nominations for two new awards for 2018 - Library Champions and Librarian of the Year.  Both awards are designed to honor librarians and others who have made significant contributions to the state's library community in the past year.

The Library Champions award is designed to recognize individuals, other than librarians and state and federal elected officials, who promoted Public Libraries in West Virginia in the past year.  Up to 5 nominees w
ill be selected to receive the award.  Librarian of the Year will honor a single employee of a Public Library for his or her contributions to the library community in 2017. 

Both awards will be presented on February 5, 2018 during the WVLA Library Day Reception at the Culture Center.  You can make nominations to both by completing the Library Champions Nomination Form and the Librarian of the Year Nomination Form.

The deadline for submission is January 16, 2018.




Happy Retirement!

The West Virginia Library Commission would like to congratulate Network Services Director Harlan White on his well-earned retirement. After 23 years developing and building the State Library Network, Harlan decided to hang up his internet spurs on December 22nd.

Harlan began his career with the WVLC in 1994, and over the next two decades was a driving force in the creation of the state library network, which now provides internet service to 148 libraries in West Virginia.  In retirement, Harlan is expected to keep himself busy hiking, fishing, and handling whatever chores his wife Sharon has planned for him. 

Harlan, thank you for the expertise you brought to the State Library Network, your hard work, and of course, your humor. The WVLC won't be the same without you!


WVLC Welcomes New Team Members

The West Virginia Library Commission would like to welcome the newest members of the WVLC family.

  • Ashley White joins the team as an office Assistant with Special Services.  Most recently, she worked in restaurant management in St. Albans, WV.
  • Crystal Cook takes over as Information Systems Coordinator for Cabell County.  She joins us from the Cabell County DHHR where she served as an Information Systems Assistant.  
  • Gina Richardson also joins the WVLC from the DHHR, where she was an Information Systems Assistant in Braxton County.  Gina will serve as an Information Systems Coordinator for Network Services, working out of the Clarksburg area. 

Ashley, Crystal, and Gina...welcome to the WVLC!

White Sulphur Springs Public Library Launches Annual Fundraising Drive

The White Sulphur Springs PL hopes to raise $28,000 in its 2018 fund drive.  Director Joann Hartzell says the money will be used to match the dollars provided by the WVLC and will cover annual operating costs.  The fund raising drive includes donations from the public, book sales, renting the library's meeting room, and charges to makes copies and send faxes.

The library is housed in the recently renamed Katherine Coleman Johnson building in White Sulphur Springs.

Anderson Wins Scholarship

The Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) has awarded one of 20 national scholarships to Beth Anderson, Director of the Burnsville Public Library.  The scholarships are available to staff working in rural and small public libraries in the U.S.  It allows Beth to take part in a three day RIPL event in Atlanta, Georgia which offers intensive, hands-on workshops focusing on strategic planning, management, and communication.  Congratulations, Beth!

2017 WVLC Reports Now Available

The 2017 Annual Report and the 2017 Statistical Report are now available on the WVLC website.  To view the latest reports, please visit the Library Commission Publications page.  Annual and Statistical Reports from prior years, as well as archived Library Lookout editions, are also available.

Thoughts and Prayers to the Family of Bruce Cressler

Former Helvetia Public Library Director Bruce Cressler died last month after a long illness.  Bruce spent 8 years as director of the library before retiring in 2017. 

Prior to his library career, he worked as a news journalist, editor and photographer in the 1970s.  Later, he pursued a career in product development, marketing, and sales of pathology and biomedical laboratory equipment and software throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  He was also an amateur radio operator.

Bruce was 66 years old. 





Contact Information

West Virginia Library Commission
(304) 558-2041