Letter from Maine's State Librarian - MLA Public Library Standards 2007
Dear Members of the Maine Library Community,
I commend the Maine Library Association (MLA) for undertaking the challenging, critical work of revising and updating the Maine Public Library Standards 2000. In 2000 I used the following words to support the importance of this document:
“Maine is a state with a wealth of library resources and a population who cares about libraries and borrows more books through its libraries than most other states. Resource sharing in Maine has achieved national recognition, largely through its highly successful Regional Library System – a system built on the principle that no library can address the diverse needs of its community alone. However, each library must contribute a “fair share” toward meeting the basic needs of local residents. It is only by strengthening local resources that the collective strength of the whole can make serious contributions in addressing issues that enhance the overall education and economic fabric of the state.”
This is even truer today with the advent of MARVEL, Solar, Maine Cat and the van delivery system. One public library director recently stated that she now thinks and plans not only about serving her local patrons but about how her collection and services fit into the Maine library community as a whole. We are more than ever one Maine library community collaborating, sharing, and working together for the good of all Maine residents.
Rapidly changing technology and the evolving role of libraries in the face of competing information sources make this a critical juncture for libraries. How do we stay relevant?
What new services, programs, and technologies do we need to offer to meet current patron needs? How do our collection formats and coverage need to change? How do we offer support and services that will entice nonusers into libraries? How do we advocate our services and needs in an effective, fruitful manner?
The MLA standards offer an opportunity to support and create conditions at the local level for innovative library services to meet the needs of today’s patrons and to work toward answering the questions just posed.
Please support and advance these standards in your communities. The Maine Library Association and the Maine State Library welcome your questions, and stand ready to assist you as we all face the challenges of our rapidly changing society.
J. Gary Nichols, State Librarian
Maine State Library
64 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0064
207-287-5600, Fax 207-287-5626