Describe what your library means to its community.
We are a "third place," some place other than work and home, where people can relax, get information and entertainment, use computers, and feel welcomed and cared about.
What services do you offer that you feel are unique to rural/small libraries?
We greet most of our patrons by name! We make it our goal to care about our patrons and treat them as important individuals.
One thing that is unique to libraries in small towns or rural areas, is the availability of free wi-fi. In the four towns where we have branches in this county, there is only one fast-food restaurant that provides free wi-fi. Our area doesn't have 3G yet, let alone 4G. Wi-fi access is enormously important. The only place to rent videos is Redbox. There are zero bookstores in our county. We provide entertainment and internet access that otherwise would require a drive of at least 30 minutes.
What is the most interesting item your library circulates?
We are about to start circulating digital magazines and tablets to read them in the library.
What qualification do you feel is of utmost importance when hiring a new staff member for your library?
Providing great customer service is our #1 goal. With budgets shrinking (and being in a particularly conservative area), we want our community to be on our side when we need money. The only way to do that is to treat each patron as though they are very important to us, because they are.
Sheila Urwiler, Director
Starke County Public Library System
152 W. Culver Road
Knox, IN 46534