It is hard to believe, but today I celebrate my 25th year of service as the Director of the Westerville Public Library. Together we have seen many changes. The facility has tripled in size, circulation has gone from 773,000 in 1988 to 2,279,000 in 2012. Just 25 years ago the library had 36,768 registered, today we have over 105,000 card holders.
Believe it or not, when I arrived in August 1988, I purchased the first personal computer for the library, replacing an IBM Selectric typewriter. Two years later, I learned how to type. Today, the library has over 220 computers, wireless access to the internet and most library services are available on your iPhone, Samsung, iPad or other mobile device.
Today as I reflect on the past, something we seldom do at the Westerville Public Library, I am amazed at the many innovations you helped implement over the years. In 1992, we became the first Ohio library to provide self-checkout service. The units looked more like a machine developed for a science experiment, compared to the Express Checkout units we use today. Two years later we became the first Ohio library to provide internet access to the public. Twenty years later we continue to seek new opportunities to enhance your library experience through convenience and mobility. That’s just who we are!
This is our 15th year of providing service through our Drive-up window, certainly a service that is heavily used by our community. I am still amazed that every public library does not have such a service. But they will some day. In 1988, the library provided access to its collection, which was around 180,000 items. Today through, OhioLink and SearchOhio our customers have access to nearly 70 million items, with direct daily delivery to each school within our school district boundaries. Our goal is the collections of every library in Ohio will be accessible to every citizen of Ohio. A goal we will someday meet as well.
I am often asked about the Westerville Public Library’s vision and how we are able to accomplish so much. To me our vision is simple. provide our community and our customers what they want. So as I sit back and celebrate my 25 years in Westerville, I do so by thanking our customers, our community leaders, our School Board, Chamber of Commerce Board and its members, City Council and our city employees, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, our Westerville Civic Symphony and our State Legislators. It is in no small measure, your vision that has guided us these many years. I am deeply grateful and honored to work with all of you.
I also want to express my deepest gratitude to the many citizens that have served on the Library Board of Trustees. Your support and guidance have meant the world to me these past 25 years. Our library and community has been truly blessed to have so many caring and dedicated men and women serve the library. Lastly, to our wonderful staff, both past and present, your energies, dedication and absolute commitment to the library and our community is unsurpassed. It has been my privilege and honor to work with each and everyone of you over the past quarter of a century.
Finally, so you don’t think I am leaving, which I am not, I will end my reminiscing by just saying THANK YOU Westerville and Ohio Libraries for a great, great 25 years.