Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our Mission

Otis Library Mission Statement
“The Otis Library provides free and open access to information, ideas, and services that anticipate our community’s personal, educational, and professional needs. The library enriches our region by maintaining a safe and welcoming environment and by offering resources that promote lifelong learning.”

Our mission statement mandates that Otis Library create environments where all residents feel safe, smart, and comfortable. These are estimable goals, but not as simple to define as the words may imply. For example, traditionally libraries have been equated with information. Yet designating libraries as “the information place” is limiting and arguably leads to a narrow definition of what libraries and librarians do. We are certainly a repository of information, which librarian Walt Crawford defines as services designed to “bring resources to people for their education, enlightenment and entertainment.” That sounds very much like the work of Otis Library and its staff. To that I would also echo Crawford’s addendum that “we serve as a safety net for the displaced and a primary place where young people learn to love reading and knowledge.” That too describes the Otis Library. Both elements allude to the principal reasons we are on Main Street rather than some leafier thoroughfare. We are situated to stimulate interest in the downtown area, to be accessible by foot and mass transit as well as automobile. Our mission statement also describes a community centered library-a community hub-strategically placed to encourage the economic and cultural renascence of the city center. These individual elements as a whole are the substance of what we are, what we do, how we place ourselves in our surroundings and the lives of our patrons.
Our mission is service to our community in many forms. The niches we fill, the ways in which we measure and incorporate community needs into our planning, and by so doing remain relevant to those we serve reflect both traditional library roles and those required of a responsive, engaged community asset.