With the hope of having a soft-opening for the expanded Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library in mid-December, the City of Soldotna has created a new position to help provide quality service at the new facility.
A full-time librarian I position at $83,000 for salary, benefits, insurance and other costs was approved by the city council at its Wednesday meeting.
City Librarian Rachel Nash said one of her main concerns at the larger building is being able to continue to provide quality customer service.
The new library will be 17,281 square feet and the department currently has three full-time employees and three part-time staffers or 4.5 compared to Kenai with a 20,000 square foot library with 7.25 positions.
In a new librarian, Nash is looking forward to more than just additional staffing.
“(He or she) will be someone that’s qualified and has the professional training to provide the quality services and also manage our programs and do some out reach in the community,” Nash said.
Nash said the city is looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree and prefers a master’s degree in library science. Candidates with library experience will also be considered.
Beyond customer service, program management and public outreach responsibilities also include:
• Recommending books and reference materials
• Information technology and literacy training
• Technical processing
• Assisting with collection management
As the city works to gather candidates for the position, it waits for the final components for the new facility.
“We did get most of the furniture in, but we’re still missing enough of it that we can’t move in all the way,” Nash said.
The library is waiting for information technology equipment and some desks and chairs as well as end caps and tops for the shelves. The books can’t be shelved without the finishing pieces.
To fill those shelves, the library has been buying new books with a $45,000 funding appropriation from the council.
Some of those books include new children’s state and country books, westerns, science fiction and general adult fiction. Nash said the library is currently working on its adult nonfiction section.
“That’s in addition to the regular orders that we would be doing every month to get the popular fiction and nonfiction,” Nash said.
In addition to the $45,000, the library received a $10,000 donation from the Soldotna Elks Lodge. Nash said some of that money will go toward increasing the children’s nonfiction section.
With the donation the library will also order supplies that can be used in children, teen and adult programs.
At its next meeting, council will consider an ordinance to accept a $2,642 state grant for the Alaska Online with Libraries Project.
Nash said the program was initially set up to help Alaska libraries get high speed Internet for patrons. She said the majority of libraries have met that goal.
The program is continuing with the grant to be considered by council. Specifically, Nash said the grant is for an early literacy station for children ages 2 – 8.
The station is a touch-screen computer that teaches literacy skills as well as basic math, science and art with educational games.
“I’ve seen them in use before and the kids just love them and parents love them too because it’s their kid playing video games but they’re learning from it,” Nash said.
Nash said the library is tentatively scheduled to be closed in the beginning of December while it moves into the new building with the help of volunteers. Anyone interested in helping the library move to its new location can pick up an application at the temporary library in the Peninsula Center Mall.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.