|Casper Journal Articles
From the Natrona County Public Library
Why Do Diamonds Sparkle?
By Bill Nelson, Director
November 16, 2011
Why do diamonds sparkle? Look closely at a faceted diamond and you will see a rainbow of colors. If up to 58 facets are cut properly, diamonds break white light apart like a prism, creating a dazzling display. In some ways, your public library is similar.
Like a well-cut diamond, public libraries have many facets that help their communities sparkle. However, while diamonds dazzle if viewed as a whole, library users most often experience libraries one facet at a time. Few see the collective sparkle of this community gem.
For example, many Natrona County Public Library (NCPL) patrons enjoy best-selling fiction books. They are the first to request the latest Paterson, Evanovich, Grafton or Box title, but might not visit the rest of the library at all. They did, however, check out 105,000 works of fiction last year.
Each day a devoted group of newspaper readers converges on NCPL. Although they keep up with local, state, and world news, they may never crack open one of the fiction books located just one shelf over. These different facets represent two very distinct libraries to those who use them!
Last year, Teen Zone users checked out 32,000 books and attended 75 programs. I would bet few of them ventured into the children’s library. Likewise, the children who checked out 65,000 picture books will someday forget storytime and spend their after-school hours in the Teen Zone.
Some patrons only see NCPL as a place for Internet access. Last year over 74,160 Internet sessions were logged! Others spend time poring over Polk Directories and tracing genealogies at the microfilm reader, but rarely touch a library computer.
What about the children who checked out 22,500 non-fiction books for school projects? To students and their teachers, NCPL is a repository of classroom aids and research help. But have they tried downloading an eBook?
Over 34,000 audiobooks were checked out last year by Wyoming road warriors traveling the Cowboy State. Some are well-acquainted with NCPL staffers and depend on their help to find just the right “talking book” for a long drive. Nevertheless, they may not know they can find vehicle repair instructions just upstairs at the reference desk.
Homeless people use NCPL, too. As someone told us recently, NCPL is one of the few places in town where these individuals are treated respectfully. Though some may disagree, I am proud of the way your librarians honor the dignity of every person. If you only check out audiobooks or movies, you may be unaware of homeless individuals just trying to stay warm.
As you can see, most people enjoy a public library differently than they would a beautifully faceted diamond. Each patron has a unique user perspective, a perspective that frequently excludes many facets that are important to other users.
When you put all the facets together, NCPL is a very busy and crowded facility – a facility sized to serve the community of 1952, the last time NCPL was significantly expanded. You may currently see NCPL from one facet and think it is good enough. However, take some time to view the whole diamond, and you will find it is time to expand and properly house all facets of this community gem.
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