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Librarians keep abreast of changes

Most people don’t give a whole lot of thought to the work librarians put into their craft every day.

They just expect that the books will be stacked alphabetically. That the reference librarian will be able to readily answer any question, no matter how arcane. That the plethora of other services offered by a modern library will continue despite any looming budget crunch.

On Tuesday more than 20 librarians from public, private and community libraries gathered at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library to help ensure that patrons will continue to be able to take such services for granted.

Denise Oliver, education specialist with library media and technology with the Alabama Department of Education, joined Tuesday’s gathering to help foster a relationship between public, private and community libraries.

Oliver noted that all libraries serve the same families and share some of the same programs.

Librarians present at Tuesday’s meeting divided into focus groups to discuss the various needs libraries have, such as materials and technology. Becky Nichols, director of the Selma Public Library, said Oliver’s presence meant the State of Alabama had its ear to the ground.

Some things librarians listed as their main concerns included hardware upgrades, computer compatibility and Internet problems.

According to Oliver, the focus groups also fostered discussion and networking between librarians and let them know they’re not alone.

Nichols agreed and said the meeting gave librarians the opportunity to meet one another.

A number of librarians work alone and Tuesday’s meeting gave them a chance to share ideas and realize that they all have the same desire to serve students and their communities, Oliver said.

Nichols said she wanted to make the new school year as successful as possible. For the next nine months, Nichols along with numerous librarians will be greeting children from county, city and private schools.

Nichols said librarians across Alabama have gathered since 1977 to share ideas and meet one another. She said the gathering wasn’t part of any organization’s activities, but instead was simply librarians using their own time to meet and exchange ideas.

Information gathered at the meeting will be summarized by Nichols and then sent to participating librarians. The librarians will prioritize their needs and Nichols will assist them in accomplishing their goals throughout the year.