A primary goal of the Livingston County Library is to make the library’s holdings as accessible as it can and to make sure that it meets the county’s information needs. Its mission is straightforward: “The Livingston County Library endeavors to develop collections, resources, and services that meet the cultural, informational, recreational, and educational needs of our community.” To do so, the library has turned to technology, which has opened a new world of information resources to the community it serves.
Indeed, the difference between the Livingston County Library and a large urban library is one of degree, not kind. On a smaller scale, the Livingston County Library is attempting to do the same as other libraries: provide patrons access to more information and supply that information 24 hours a day through the World Wide Web. The library, however, is careful to warn its users: “Have fun exploring the Internet but please remember that many times you will find the specific information you need right here . . . in books and periodicals.” By presenting users with traditional library resources and online access to electronic resources through the Internet and the World Wide Web, as well as an array of other services, the library is fulfilling its mission with enthusiasm and innovation. The resources in Chillicothe are more limited, naturally, than they might be in larger communities, but the same motivating spirit is there–to provide patrons with what they want and need.
The community supports the library and what it is doing. When the library recently asked for an increase in the tax rate (from .15 to .27 percent), the library director conducted a low-key campaign by talking to clubs, civic groups, and other groups throughout the county. There was no media campaign. The library simply presented its message directly to the public, the residents of the county weighed its merits, and the voters approved the increase in the tax rate. As in so many other communities, the library in Livingston County is valued, appreciated, and supported.
Working on a balanced budget, the library carries no debts. Its annual operating budget (including salaries) is about $250,000. The tax-derived base is supplemented by a small state appropriation and funds raised by a Friends group that was recently created to bring in money for special projects. Among these projects was the restoration of the old courtroom on the second floor to serve as a meeting place. The library’s regular operating budget covers all technology purchases.