The estimated reading time for this post is 15 Minutes

The name of the library, which we are concerned with, is Clayton and it is a county library system. The library began in January 1941 by Jonesboro women’s club and at that time, it had 200 books only (McCook, 2011). A certain women’s club rented a room along the old Jones Brothers Department store on south Main Street. The club’s first librarian was Mary Barnette.

Around 1960, Jonesboro library was built near Flint River Regional Library System that had its headquarters in Griffin. The alliance gave permission to citizens of Clayton to be using the books and staff at large. Later in 1964, Jonesboro library was started and around 1966, it opened another branch; the present Jonesboro branch.

Around 1967, the Forest Park Branch was opened at Main Street in Forest Park. The next branch was Riverdale, opened around GA highway 85 near upper Riverdale Road.

Morrow branch followed later in 1975 and it was located on the old Rex Road on a store front. By 1981, the Clayton county libraries had become so successful with the Flint River Regional System and since then, the fame of Clayton County Library System began to increase (McCook, 2011).

The headquarters of the library were built in 1988 on Battle Creek and was followed closely by the Morrow branch in 1991, built on Maddox road. Riverdale branch was next and it was built on Valley Hill Road by 1998. The Lovejoy Branch was the 6th and last since then and it was constructed in 2005 on McDonough Road (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2009).

Organization and Governance of the Library

The Clayton library has clay county board of commissioners with Eldrin Bell being their chairman and the library board of trustees has Judy Serritela as their chairperson (Stockham, 1969). From the chairman, the hierarchy goes down to Carol J Stewart, who is the chief of staff next to director library services.

Next, there are departments of technical service headquarters, community services, youth services, information technology, branch services and collection development headed by various assistant directors. The headquarters managing librarian is Sherry Turner and at the lowest levels, there are small departments like; youth service librarian, technical assistant, and part time assistants among others (Stockholm, 1969).

Service Populations

In Clayton county library, there are friendly staffs ready to attend to client’s questions and recommend reading materials (Kelly, 1966).The library has got free computers for public use, which are connected to the internet and installed with Microsoft office software like word and PowerPoint in addition to the availability of free typewriters to its clients.

The children section computers have got educational software and word processing software (Kelly, 1966). There is wireless internet access in all its branches and the headquarters have got two dedicated legal research computers. Adult literacy information and referral subscriptions are there for over 150 magazines and newspapers.

Multi-purpose rooms are also available for the sake of; not for profit organizations, academic and cultural activities in all branches except Jonesboro branch. Furthermore, there are Federal and State tax Forms and voter registration forms. Holds may be placed on PINES libraries in person, online or on phone. Books may be borrowed from other PINES libraries at no cost from any library PINE throughout the state.

The system has got library inter-loan allowing individuals to borrow books from outside libraries, out of the PINES network and only the postage costs incurred are paid. Moreover, the library has monthly program calendar of events, online resources and live homework help (Kelly, 1966).

The Brief History of the Library

The Clayton library was founded in January 1941, with the support of Jonesboro women’s club and at the beginning it had only 200 books. All these books were initially borrowed from the WPA by the women’s club.

By then, there was no specific building designed for the library but instead, they rented a room on the south Main Street across the rail depot above the old Jones Brothers Department. Mrs. Mary Barnette had a chance of being its first librarian (Bobinski, 1969).

Jonesboro library was put together with the Flint River. In 1960, the alliance allowed the regional library system and its headquarters were in Griffin where citizens were allowed to access the large collection of books, professional librarians and bookmobile services available. At the end of 1964, the library grew in fame until 1966 when it was officially opened in its current Jonesboro library branch location.

In 1967, Forest Park branch opened on Main Street in Forest Park, which was followed by Riverdale branch in 1970 and it was located in GA highway 85 near upper Riverdale. This was followed closely by the Morrow branch in 1975, which was opened in a store front on Old Rex Road (Bobinski, 1969). By 1981, the library system had been formed while its headquarters was built in 1988 on the road of Battle Creek.

In 1991, Morrow branch was built on Maddox Road followed by Riverdale branch in 1998 in Valley Hill Road. The final branch, which is Lovejoy, was opened in January 2005, on the McDonough Road (Bobinski, 1969). This branch was the sixth one in the growth of the libraries.

The Geographical Service Area of the Library

The project is located in a place called Jonesboro found in Georgia, between the southeast ends of Hartsfield International Airport (Barnett, 1987). This is ranked to be among the busiest airports in the globe. A strip is said to exist between the two projects and it is said to be folksy; a hand painted where a person can pull with a pick up along side.

This way, the ZZ top can come to you through an open window and in this place; information is searched for practical reasons and for personal history. The library is actually a filling station for information for life (Barnett, 1987).

The site is well bounded on the north by Battle Creek Road, on the East by Jester’s Creek and its more associated flood plain, a wooded area lush with a lot of hardwood and pines. In the south and west, it is by other county facilities. The library building is located on the south portion of the site, directly in front of the building.

The plan is well organized around two creeks where the north-south axis connects the parking lot, entrance and circulation desk (Barnett, 1987). This axis intersects an east-west axis at ninety degrees and connects the woods and flood plain east of the site. The building is functionally organized into two areas; which are the administration and the public area.

The public area tends to occupy a large, open room oriented to the woods and creeks. There is a monitor dividing the space and emphasizing the line of travel towards the genealogy collection (Barnett, 1987). The roofs of the space spring toward the east and the woods which are arranged to fan up on the southward direction and allow the north to enter at each step.

The services of children are located at the lower space and the general location with the tallest stacks; being located where the roof is at the highest. The structure is actually a steel frame with long span truss joists of wood and galvanized steel. The foundations are concrete footings and the exterior skin is combined into metal sidings with a variety of textures and patterns (Barnett, 1987).

The Geographical Service Area of the Library.

Source: (Clayton County Library System, 2010).

The Mission Statement of the University

The mission of the university is to contribute to the success of the citizens of our diverse community by offering a full range of library services that meet their informational educational and leisure interests, fostering the love of reading in our youth and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge for all. (Clayton County Library System, 2010, p.1)

The Library’s Catalogue

The library’s catalogue directs its readers to make their work easy and avoid a lot of confusions. For example, the website informs its clients on the classes offered online and good examples are; computer classes, the location of the library, the month of library cards sign up and library meetings among others.

The website suggests on PINES catalog, PINES search tips, how to go about the process and suggest books recommended for reading (Bertot, Jaeger, Langa, & McClure 2006).

On the research section, there are various databases, subject guides and articles like Galileo’s. There is also other things to do; events and classes, online calendar and monthly newsletters and in case of confusions, there are clear guides on how to go about to clear the confusions like wireless access, FAQs, information for parents, information for educators as well as ESOL information (Bertot, Jaeger, Langa, & McClure 2006).

Challenges Facing the Library

Funding Problems

Most public libraries depend heavily on their local government funding but some proactive librarians have formed alliances with patron and civic groups so as to supplement their financial needs. With the current cost of running local government increasing, libraries are forced to focus ahead of the tax base of the communities they are serving (Irwin, 1964).

For example in the United States, libraries in financially strapped communities compete with other public institutions financially. Examples of such institutions include the police, schools and even fire fighters among others.

As a strategy of reducing cost and boosting saving, some United States cities; such as New York, San Diego and Philadelphia have reduced their number of employees and service costs simultaneously (Irwin, 1964).

The strategies applied by all these cities are; cutting or reducing library funding, closing down numerous branches and reducing working hours and the number of employees in all there branches that were operational (Irwin, 1964). These strategies have greatly affected the library operations in the United States although there are some reports that their return has increased.

For instance, a 2008 survey prospected that there is increased funding in the United States libraries, but their growth is still wanting. Various influences have led to a decline of monetary support of public libraries by various governments for entities (Irwin, 1964). A second example of a survey is that of the American library association that has reported a fall of 41 percent in the 2009 budgets for public library funding.

As a result of this, most libraries have strained to catch up with cost of upgrading electronic hardware, creation and maintenance among other resource costs. For example while funding was declining or remained the same, the price for printing books and magazines went up (Irwin, 1964).

Technological Challenges

The internet is modernizing many aspects of lives including public libraries that we use from time to time and more especially the vast and growing information available in the internet that is vital to various academic fields and researches creating a lot of competition for public funding of libraries.

Many feel that, if their public libraries were shut down, they would have lost a very important and essential thing that will affect the entire community (Bertot, McClure, Jaeger & Ryan, 2008).

There have been various efforts during the several past decades to upgrade technology and more specifically internet access so as to enable all citizens’ access the new technologies regardless of their economic status.

Libraries also play an essential role in educating school children and the older students like the university students and so they are required to call for active governance so as to position them securely (Bertot, McClure, Jaeger & Ryan, 2008).

Human Resource Challenge

Lack of adequate and competent staff, which can perform the library activities as required can be a major challenge (Jones, 1997). For example, most public libraries are computerized and for one to operate those systems, he or she requires to be computer literate. This poses a lot of challenges to libraries with illiterate or semi-literate computer staff members (Jones, 1997).

Discussion by the Local Newspaper

Various local newspapers feature various events about Clayton library. For example, in the case of economic down turn, there is need for public library services.

Clayton has an increase in demand whereby, branches in nearby Henry County, all other libraries are usually closed during the weekends and most of its patrons use the Clayton libraries.

The Clayton spent little during that year and it did not cut their hours but Carol Stewart said that there were other costs saving measures in the budget including a 3-month hard freeze on hiring all Clayton County employees including the staff had to take three furlough days that year. This information was available in Clayton News Daily on January 26, 2010. (Allan, 2008, p.61)

The local newspapers feature the Clayton Library almost daily in various aspects like; hostage of various programs and work shops, celebrating reading of children books, the struggle in meeting the target demands, launching of various programs like the launch of New Teen web site on July 08, 2010 by Curt Yeomans, educating on family life like story time bringing families together, targeting adults reaching programs and creating social networks like face book whereby they interact with anybody worldwide(Allan, 2008).

The Likely Direction That the Library Will Take

First and, the library should ensure that it targets to employ the skilled staff especially on computer latest technology so as to ensure that they go along with new technologies. This staff should be fully informed on what should be happening in the library whether with the use of computers or without.

The library should ensure that its number of employees is adequate for the efficient running of activities in the library so as to stop overworking the few employees available, which is likely to reduce the output or lead to poor work being done (Jones, 1999).

Financially, the library directors should never rely on funding programs; which are likely to break down at any time. They should look for better alternatives like investing in projects that can benefit them financially.

The library should also ensure that it works hand in hand with the community members; these are the people who are readily available to assist the library in various ways as they also benefit from the same libraries. The directors of the various branches should be in competition to ensure each one of them is the best and this way, the library in general will grow all round (Jones, 1999).

What the Library Will Look Like In Ten Years to Come

If at all the recommended measures are taken by the library officials, geared by their directors, the library will grow to a world class library by ten years to come and it will realize its mission, vision, objectives and goals. The challenges facing the library right now like technological and financial challenges will be far gone by ten years to come. If all these are achieved, the library will stand as one of the best in the world (Jones, 1999).

Strategic Plan for the Library

The library has got a strategic plan of expanding its services worldwide. This will be possible by opening more branches so as to reach many people in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The library is targeting to stand out as the best worldwide or a world class library (Predeek, 1947).

Analysis and Response to the Plan

From the various achievements, the library is in a good position to open its branches worldwide because technologically, they are trying as much as possible to be updated. In human resource, they can employ more staff and train them adequately and it will be a better idea to get local people from each area they tend to go and train them because it will cut on costs of transporting them to their work places.

At the same time, local people will work better in their home countries as compared to foreigners because they will not experience homesick, culture shocks and the likes (Raven, 2006). Generally the library is in a good position to implement the plan. The plan has put into consideration the challenges it is facing, and it has given itself like five years to find solutions to these challenges before proceeding to expand its services globally.

Conclusion

This library has come up very well since its early ages to date. Its management is still okay regardless of the various challenges that it faces like; financial problems but I believe that with the laid strategies, it is in a good position to rectify the wrongs and implement the rights.

Its strategic plans of expanding its services across the world are possible as long as they continue working as one team. The management of this library has brought it far and I believe it is taking it far.

References

Allan, D. (2008). A Nation of Readers: the lending library in Georgian England. London: British Library.

Barnett, G.K. (1987). The history of public libraries in France from the Revolution to 1939. London: Library Association.

Bertot, J.C., Jaeger, P.T., Langa, L.A., & McClure, C.R. (2006). Public access computing and Internet access in public libraries: The role of public libraries in e- government and emergency situations. Web.

Bertot, J.C., McClure, C.R., Jaeger, P.T., & Ryan, J. (2008). Public libraries and the Internet 2008: Study results and findings. Web.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (2009). Global Libraries: Opening a World of Information and Opportunities. Web.

Bobinski, G.S. (1969). Carnegie Libraries: their history and impact on American public library development. Chicago: American Library Association.

Clayton County Library System. (2010). Mission Statement. Web.

Irwin, R. (1964). The Heritage of the English Library. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Jones, B.M. (1999). Libraries, access, and intellectual freedom: Developing policies. Chicago: American Library Association.

Jones, T. (1997). Carnegie Libraries across America. Washington: Preservation Press.

Kelly, T. (1966). Early Public Libraries: a history of public libraries in Great Britain before 1850. London: Library Association.

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. (2010). Clayton County Headquarters Library, 1980-1989. Web.

McCook, K. (2011). Introduction to Public Librarianship (2nd ed.). NY: Neal-Schuman.

Predeek, A. (1947). A History of Libraries in Great Britain and North America. Chicago: American Library Association.

Raven, J. (2006). Libraries for sociability: the advance of subscription library. The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland (Vols 3). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Stockham, K.A. (1969). British County Libraries: 1919-1969. London: André Deutsch.

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