Happy National Library Week and National Volunteer Week, Library People

I love a busy, bustling, noisy public library.  Seeing people enjoying our spaces, using our technology, exploring our collections, and interacting with our staff brings me true joy.  The past few weeks I have been working in a different type of space, and spending time in the empty (or nearly empty) building has provided the opportunity to think about how much I love library people.  Since this is both National Library Week and National Volunteer Week, I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank the people who make ICPL such an amazing place.   

ICPL has a uniquely talented staff, and each and every person brings passion to their work.  I have never worked with a more creative, dedicated, flexible, patron-focused group of professionals.  Spending time with our staff members reminds me of how bright the future of libraries is, and increases my commitment to effectively stewarding our resources and bringing our community the very best service we can.  Staff at all levels work hard every day to meet the challenges of modern librarianship and delight our patrons.  They are good at what they do and—even in a crisis situation—stay focused on authentically serving the community.

The work of our staff is extended and supported by an exceptional group of volunteers.  It is an honor to work side by side with the talented volunteers who serve throughout the library, in capacities as varied as providing frontline service in The Book End, checking in returned materials, serving on the Friends Foundation Board and Library Board of Trustees, or spending time scanning historical documents for preservation.  We are sad to miss our annual volunteer recognition event this year, and are looking forward to welcoming our dedicated and skilled volunteer force back into the library as we increase our onsite presence.   ICPL would not be the library it is without the generous gifts of talent and time we receive from our volunteers.  We are so thankful to have them as part of the ICPL team.

Another vital group that supports the Library is our donors.  Donors provide resources that allow staff and volunteers to take services from good to great; by supplementing the funding we receive through City and state initiatives, donors help our programs and materials reach more people throughout our service area.  Every gift also symbolizes a relationship the Library has with a person in the community, and these special friendships are incredibly meaningful to Library staff.  Knowing that the community understands, supports, and celebrates our work is something we are very proud of.

Finally, we can’t talk about library people without referencing the role of our patrons.  Serving Iowa City and the surrounding areas is a privilege and a pleasure.  Each patron brings a unique set of needs and wants, and working to provide the materials and information they are seeking is a responsibility we take very seriously.  From the remote users who exclusively use our online resources at home to our daily regulars, we treasure you.  You are what we’re all about, and we value the trust you place in us to help you navigate your information quests. 

Library people, you are so missed during this closure.  We can hardly wait to open our doors back up and see your faces.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and know we’re thinking about you. 

Thank you,

Elsworth Carman

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