Twenty Years of Change (and Books)

By Kip Odell, Programming Manager

Many years ago, I sat in a conference room with fifteen other librarians learning how to download an eBook on a brand-new shiny iPad. I remember being so pleased with my first successful download. It almost felt like a magic device.

The holidays were coming up and the eBook training day was organized so that we would all be ready to help patrons with their own new devices. Now, streaming content is something many of us do almost every day without even thinking about it.

Since then, the library has become a hub for streaming music, movies and books. This is a regular part of life for many of us. The library supported this from the beginning by providing all sorts of digital materials and assistance
with technology.

This is just one of many changes I’ve seen in libraries in my twenty years at KDL. I think I encounter something new in my job almost every single day, which is the best thing about it.

Another change is highlighted by our KDaLe® programs. Brewery tours, home brewing classes and a tap takeover — all organized and hosted by the library system for its patrons. What a wild idea!

I’m fortunate to have been one of the first librarians to work on KDaLe, managing these fun experiences for patrons. Our goal, then and now, is to give patrons special opportunities for in-depth learning. KDaLe programs take patrons behind the scenes at their favorite breweries and connect them with professional brewers.

Libraries have always provided classes, programs and learning opportunities. Never before have libraries offered as wide an array of experiences as they do today. A season of programs at KDL now covers topics like mushroom hunting, local history, craft making, conservation and trivia contests.

What hasn’t changed in the past twenty years? The joy we all have for sharing great books with others. No matter how the world evolves, libraries and librarians want to connect you with a good book. These opportunities will always be exciting for me.

Maybe it’s a long-running series like my late discovery of Craig Johnson’s Longmire books. Or a favorite recent release like Providence by Max Barry. Or a classic I can’t believe I haven’t read before like Far from the Madding
Crowd by Thomas Hardy.

As the Programming Manager for KDL, I don’t make book recommendations as often as I used to, but I still get excited for any opportunity to do so. It’s also why I found a way to work those into this article.

Change is constant. Technology and new ideas will always arise. I can attest, however, with twenty years of experience, that the library system will never stop improving its services, trying exciting things and recommending great reads.