Subscribe rss.gif

Recent News


Library Match: Kokomo and Troy

Two of our larger member public libraries have been paired up for the “Library Match” project. The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library in Kokomo, Indiana and the Troy Public Library in Troy, Michigan have been paired up to participate in the pilot project “Library Match.” For the next six months, they will participate in activities together using video-conferencing equipment generously underwritten by the H.W. Wilson Foundation.

What makes them a match?

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library

The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, led by Director, Faith Brautigam, is located in north-central Indiana and serves a population of about 76,000 through a main library and two branches in Howard County. They have a staff of 70 FTE and an operating budget of $5,407,230 (although actual operating fund revenues were $4,771,103 in 2014.) Kokomo is Indiana’s 13th largest city and its employment is largely based in the automotive industry.

Troy Public Library

The Troy Public Library, led by Director, Cathy Russ, is a northern suburb of Detroit and serves a population of about 83,000. The library staff includes 8.5 full-time staff (one full-time staff member is shared with the city’s recreation department) and 67 part-time staff. The Library’s budget is approximately $3.6 million. Troy is Michigan’s 11th largest city and is home to a number of major companies, particularly in the automotive and financial sectors.

What initiatives do they have to share with their peer library?

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library

Kokomo Public Library's pollinator puppet

Kokomo Public Library’s “pollinator puppet”

The Kokomo-Howard County Public Library plans to share information about their year-long educational effort and call to action over the plight facing insect pollinators. According to library director, Faith Brautigam, “With grant funding and a number of partners involved, it started with very visible native plant distributions and sales and includes an informational website” The year will offer a number of opportunities for residents of all ages. Brautigam says, “One of my favorite tie-ins is coming at the end of this year, when we will roll out the Pollinator-friendly Gift Guide.”

They will also be sharing information about a support group they began a few months ago called “Second Time Parents.” “It was in response to the growing number of grandparents raising grandchildren, and the attendees have been enormously grateful for what we are doing,” says Brautigam. “We have invited speakers on relevant topics and have also allowed time for people to talk informally with each other. When we asked what the most valuable thing had been, one of the grandparents reported that because of this event she applied for and received TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) which is helping her make ends meet.”

Lastly, Brautigam says that, “We have also been looking at ways to provide value to existing interest groups in our area, and last December we married that with our desire to move our Friends group into fundraising beyond book sales. We tried out a 5K race with a featured talk by a sports medicine doctor on training for longer races. It was a successful event that was well-rated by attendees and we are working on planning the second one.”

Troy Public Library

Lobby of the Troy Public Library

Lobby of the Troy Public Library

The Troy Public Library would like to share several things about their library. According to assistant director, Phillip Kwik, “We have a great Teen Advisory Board, which is very active both in the library and broader city issues; we have a good internal communications system, with bimonthly All Staff Meetings; monthly department and cabinet meetings; and daily morning ‘floor’ meetings.” He says, “We also try to be very aggressive about technology, with our use of downloadable services, apps, roving iPad reference and more.”

What do they hope to learn from their peer library?

Kokomo-Howard County Public Library

Brautigam says that, “After finding out more about them, we want to know all the details behind their totally rocking Teen Advisory Group. We also hope to hear trade secrets for everyday library life, from how to keep circulation policies simple to how they run successful meetings. Many of us are looking forward to having a good reason to talk to someone with similar responsibilities, since we all know that those opportunities can yield amazingly helpful tidbits.”

Troy Public Library

Kwik says, “From Kokomo, we would like to learn more about the library’s creative programming and outreach to other groups and organizations, especially the staff’s work with the community around environmental issues (native plants, bees, etc.) and with local agencies and government around issues of walkability.”

Watch for updates from the libraries as they connect and learn from each other over the next several months.  According to Brautigam, “It is a privilege to be able to pilot this program.  Also, we’ve already asked Troy if they’d like to stick with us longer than the initial six months.  We think having a ‘sister library’ long-term would be a valuable asset.”

For more information about the MCLS’ “Library Match” pilot project, visit our Library Match Page.