Consistency, Not Cookie-Cutter: Maintaining Individuality Within a Library System
Jackson County Library Services (JCLS) is celebrating its centennial this year, and in 2020, we will be transitioning away from a contract with Library Systems and Services, and moving into our own library district. With this transition comes a lot of discussion about where we have come from, and how we want to represent ourselves as a system for the next 100 years.
Jackson County is 2,802 square miles and has 15 libraries to serve its 11 incorporated cities and 34 unincorporated communities. That is a lot of kids and families wanting quality library programming. However, what the kids and families want in our Applegate branch could be very different from what the kids and families an hour south at our Ashland branch would want. It’s also important, though, that no matter which of the 15 branches is closest to you, you can walk in there and find not only relevant materials, but also experience a variety of fun, educational, and meaningful programming. This is why I look for “consistency, not cookie-cutter” when coordinating library services at our many branches. So the question for me, as the district youth services coordinator, was “how do I make sure that all 15 branches are providing the same level of service, that they are all working towards the JCLS mission, but also not take away from their individuality?”