(Lander, Wyo.) – Fremont County Library System Director candidates toured the county earlier this week, stopping and giving brief presentations at the libraries in Riverton, Lander and Dubois.
Late Monday afternoon, finalists Dale Collum and Emily Scherrer spoke to a small crowd in the historic Carnegie building in Lander. Both will be interviewed by the Fremont County Library Board on Wednesday. The date for when the board will make a decision has not yet been determined.
Each gave brief biographies of themselves and spoke to where they see the future of public libraries lying.
Neither was in the same room as the other when the spoke, but both ultimately pointed to the fact that public libraries need to be more of a community center than ever before.
Collum is the current library director in Evanston, and has been there for 13 years. He said a declining tax revenue is part of what’s driving him to look for a new position. He has been in the library field for about 20 years.
He said that computer technology has radically changed the way libraries operate, especially as they are no longer the main hub of information. The internet has taken it over.
Collum emphasized that libraries need to embrace new technology and offer eBook rentals and computer access.
He also said it is critical for libraries to continue to strengthen programs for children and youth, when they can develop a love for the public facilities early on. Collum said the library should be a “kind of community hub.”
However, he also said libraries shouldn’t leave behind traditional users.
Scherrer’s primary emphasis was the community center. The Yuma, Ariz., librarian said it is her dream to become a director.
She said the library should cater to everyone for everything. She suggested a number of programmatic ideas that she’d seen being done across the country. Among those are story walks (a kind of scavenger hunt), seed libraries, tool loans, film festivals, pub nights and oral story telling from tribal elders. In Lander she suggested the library could loan out compasses and tents. She also said studies show many library patrons simply want a quiet space to go to.
Scherrer said she sees opportunity in Fremont County’s system, facilities and employees.