Daviess County Public Library: Documentary Evidence

By Steve Zalusky

The Daviess County Public Library (DCPL) in Western Kentucky has not only embraced the Libraries Transform campaign; it has carried it to a higher level.

Using the talents of its videographer, Michael Dunn, and pressing into service its recently acquired drone, the library produced a 10-minute documentary giving a short history of the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign and showing how the library uses the campaign’s messaging.

The documentary mentions how DCPL has partnered with eight other local libraries “to collectively show the ways we transform to meet the public’s needs and why we are essential to the communities here in Western Kentucky.”

Cannily contrasting black-and-white video clips with dynamic and fluid location shots, it punctures the popular perception of the library as a dusty, musty repository of books overseen by a matronly lady with glasses at the tip of her nose. Librarians in Daviess County and its partner libraries testify to the ways they have embraced technology, offering 3D printers, computer labs and databases, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs and video games.

It also stresses the ways that the library reaches beyond its walls, visiting assisted living facilities and providing outreach to the homebound.

Leslie McCarty, Kentucky Room Manager, said she first heard about the campaign from DCPL’s Marketing Coordinator, Kara Schroader.

Schroader said she learned about the campaign at the ALA Conference in San Francisco in July 2015.

She said, “I wanted to implement the campaign at DCPL and in surrounding counties to increase awareness of the importance of libraries. Services offered by libraries are more crucial than ever in this digital age. Libraries are truly transforming with their communities.”

McCarty said she immediately grasped the campaign’s potential to forge a united front among the libraries in Western Kentucky.

“I like the Libraries Transform campaign because it is so broad, it’s so universal,” she said. “For me, Libraries Transform can be so personal. And libraries now are so personal to people.  You don’t just come to the library to read for pleasure. You come to help yourself all aspects. You’re coming here to study for school. You’re coming here to relax and have fun, say, with a coloring club or to listen to a live music program. “

She said, “We wanted people to see that our library is important,” not least because of the negative impression created many years ago when the library was the target of a suit over taxes.

“That was a big detriment to our library as a whole, to our reputation, so ever since that, we have worked really hard to get back out to the community, to be a community player, and so those because statements are so profound and lets our community know that we are just not obsolete. We are not a repository. We are the community.”

McCarty said the library includes Because statements in its monthly newsletter, the Ballyhoo. But the main focus of its Libraries Transform campaign has been the documentary, which is available for all the partner libraries to use as a promotional tool.