Kiwanian Walt Szczesny introduced the new Director of the Clark County Public Library effective April 2018. Bill was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. He earned a B A from Hiram College, Master’s in History from the University of Akron in additional to a Master’s in Library Science from Kent State University. Bill has worked in the Library Field for the past 28 years,, most recently as the Director of the Minerva Public Library from 2002 to 2007, the Director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System from 2007 to 2011 & the Director of the Holmes County District Public Library from 2011 to 2018. Bill has also taught History at Kent State University for 23 years. Bill is married with three children and two Minature Schnauzer’s. He has been a lifelong Cleveland Browns & Cleveland Indians fan.
Bill began by referring to guest Dave Folz as the neighborhood Security Officer where he helps out the neighbors. He explained that Clark County Library system contains four entities in addition to the Main Branch at 201 South Fountain Avenue. There is a branch in Southern Village, a branch in Park Shopping Center, a branch in South Charleston, and finally a branch in Enon. They continue to operate a Bookmobile that travels to various locations throughout the County.
Bill stated that with a total of a million items, the circulation of items is up 10% in the last year of 2018 and the items in the digital Library, movies, tapes & CD’s circulation is up 28% over last year. The Clark County Library system is considered a medium size Library with with the connections to the Ohio Consortium they have access within two days to the holdings of any of the many Libraries throughout Ohio. The Bookmobile makes stops of over 50 different location each month but they are need of a larger vehicle to replace the current Bookmobile.
Bill emphasized that each of the Libraries locations have meeting rooms that are free for use by the Public & Organizations. They can handle as many as 100 persons & as few as two persons. These facilities are convient and safe for meetings. The Library system continues to offer Summer Reading Programs for Children with Story Times. They host Craft events and host Author Series where Authors are presented promoting their stories. The Genealogy section offers free software including Ancestry.com for patrons One of his recent gifts was a DNA test & when the results came back he realized that his descent was not so much Italian but was more French.
One of the projects he plans to bring is the CandyLand game which had more than 300 patrons when they performed in Holmes County. He continues to plan events that will attract & involve the community. He plans to work with the Literacy Council and closely with the STEM school students.
Within the physical Library system, he plans on upgrading the branchs, improve lighting with LED lighting, which while expensive will replace lights with better, longer lasting lights. The system will be improved with new Signage, renovated Restrooms and they are looking at new parking areas. He stated the Library System has a bood board with Walt Szczesny one of those participating. In the future they may plan a Branch in the Northridge area.
In answering questions, Bill explained that they supply I-Pads to children but they have numerous stories embedded that children can read to learn but they cannot access the internet with these I-Pads. Talking about what books the Library purchases, he explained that they usually go with the listings on the New York Times Best Seller lists. He did state that if anyone has particular ideas for certain purchases they can request items be bought. He also stated that books can be donated to any of the Libraries of the system but they will ask that these donations may be put on the sale list by the ‘Friends of the Library’ for sale at the annual Sale where the Library makes over $5,000 for use by the system. He explained that the majority of the income comes from the Levy passed several years ago & thanked all citizens who voted for this increase. He did state that they have some donations & the State of Ohio has a Library Fund through which Clark County receives some funds. He explained that there are approximately 80 employees throughout the system. He also pointed out that the Library system does have a Home Delivery system.