Over the past year I've had many people ask me why after so many great years at PLCMC I decided to make the jump to Columbus Metropolitan Library? The truth is that CML's Homework Help Centers left such an huge impression on me when I visited in Sept 07 to give a talk to staff, that I flew back to Charlotte thinking "Wow, this is a library system that knows how to really dive deep (not just delivered stretched and shallow service) and put their resources behind the highest needs of the community."
During my quick two-hour tour of the branches (that's all my flight schedule at the time would allow) that fall, I visited Linden, Northern Lights, New Albany and Gahanna and was blown away by the over flowing (& I mean packed - just like in the vid below) by the number of kids seeking assistance from volunteers and paid HHC coordinators at the Linden & Northern Lights Homework Help Centers. I know that the staff that work at these locations can easily vouch for the standing-room-only status in the library once school gets out, but it's wonderful to see and hear the appreciation from the kids themselves about this most treasured service.
In January, we dove deep again. This time by meeting a pressing community need again and repositioning all branch location's Homework Help space into Job Help Centers from 9-3. Staffed by both volunteers and staff, these centers are helping people hone their resumes, apply for online jobs and develop needy tech skills for today's job market.
Last week, while visiting the Gahanna branch with my daughters one staff member shared a touching story about two job seekers who both came into the library to thank staff after landing jobs as a result of their assistance. What a powerful gift to give to the community and a great compliment to our staff. It's hearing stories like these (and also and seeing videos like the one above) that remind me so clearly - even a year later - why I jumped. :)
PS: And for that follow-up question that you might be thinking ... "No, I haven't regretted jumping. Not once!"