Posted by Charles Rehberg on Apr 16, 2018
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
April 16, 2018  
          Board meeting: The club’s officers and directors meet Wednesday, April 18, at 4 p.m. at the conference room at Mountain West’s Bank branch at Division and Cozza, near Costco.  Other club members are welcomed.
Make book on it -- Libraries enter a new age
          If you haven’t visited one of the area’s public libraries recently, you may be missing part of a transformation in the information age.
          Patrick Roewe, executive director of the Spokane County Library District, at the club’s April 16 meeting, described the changes.
          “The internet is not our death; we’re alive and well, Roewe said, adding, “It’s a network world and the old style (of libraries) doesn’t work anymore.  We are bridging new networks.”
          He said both city and county libraries – some date to 1942 -- are modernizing the communication tools, facilities and staff.  For his 11- library county system, Roewe calls the process “Retraining the Public Library Narrative.”
          Some 70 public library meetings were organized to develop the new mission and strategies, now in year three of a four-year plan.  The district has 75 staff members, he said.
          Dominant themes, he said, includes early learning, education enrichment, digital topics and business and careers.
          “Books will still be a mainstay,” Roewe said, but access and relevancy will be major themes.
          He said library activities are organized “during lens with three filters: people, place and access.”
          Of “people,” he said, “Librarians are doing new jobs, learning how we can better respond to information needs.”
          Asking what patrons want, the libraries “lifted the veil on senior planning,” a six-session program with “over-whelming response.”
          Materials are delivered to Mead District children and school students.  Programs at Moran Prairie were swamped with more than 200 attendees.  “We didn’t have enough parking,” he said, relocating to a larger venue.
          Describing “place,” Roewe said many of the district’s buildings, now 20 to 60 years old, “there are not enough electrical sockets” for chargers and computers.  He showed a slide of the North Spokane Library near Whitworth, were “there are still lots of books, but we’ve reclaimed space for computer commons classes.”
          About “platform,” he described “user-centered digital resources,” from computer questions to “how to fix your lawn mower.”
          In the library district’s current “Engage” edition, Roewe talks about the new “Family Museum Pass Program” partnerships with the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and the Mobius
Children’s Museum & Science Center.
          Among the presentations on tap: “Money Smart Week” (April 21-28) and “Life and Limb: The Toll of the Civil War” (through May 19).
          Other diverse topics include a variety of garden tips, the science and history of craft beer, i-phone camera tricks and how to “create a freezer meal plan.”
          As Roewe, a Club 21 Rotarian, finished his talk, President Chad Haverkamp, very aptly presented a book for the Holmes Elementary library.
The bulletin producers:
          Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
          Photos: Chad Haverkamp
          Program coordinator: Brad Stark
A personal library note
           What’s your most memorable library moment?
           For me, as a teenager with an hour to wait, I was aimlessly browsing the shelves at a North Milwaukee library when a kind librarian asked about my interests.
           When I responded “maybe journalism,” she directed me to “The Medium is the Message,” a formative treatise by Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. 
           The words talked about “hot” text-centered print media and “cool” more passive, sit-back electronic media.  The connections were memorable, and my career path was solidified.
           McLuhan, who died in 1980, also coined the term “global villages,” and predicted the World Wide Web some 30 years before it was invented.
           But one librarian, one book and one fortunate hour changed my life.  That was a transforming moment for me.  How about you?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                --Chuck Rehberg