Jenkins says goodbye to Logan Library after 30 year career

Retiring after 30 years as Logan City Librarian Ronald Jenkins reflected most on the dramatic changes in the format of library’s collections and the level of training for the staff, which totaled nine when he started but has grown to 30 today. Jenkins steps away from those responsibilities soon; his last day is July 29. By the middle of August the new Librarian, Robert C. Shupe, will take over. Shupe is leaving the Mohave County Library in Kingman, Arizona to come to Logan. “I asked a neighbor once how do you know when to retire,” said Jenkins, “and he told me ‘You will just feel it.’ I felt it was time for me to move on and do some other things I would like to do and time for somebody else to have an opportunity to work at this wonderful library.” Jenkins’ first four years as Librarian were spent in a building on the corner of 100 North and 100 West until the mid-1980s when a complete re-model was done at the old Sears Building on Main Street and it became the new home of both Logan City Hall and the Logan Library. “We have the whole building now and it is about 42,000 square feet on the main floor,” said Jenkins. “We have been re-modeling over the last two years and have added close to 10,000 square feet of space that was City Hall space. “There will be additional remodeling in the future, creating even more space available to the public.” Jenkins admits there have been many changes in the operation of the Logan Library in 30 years. “The collection when I began was about 42,000 items and now we are at about 209,000 items. That first year about 100,000 items were checked out. In 2010 there were 988,000 checked out. “Of course we no longer use manual typewriters,” he said. “We have automated everything, we have very heavy usage of the Internet. We have something like 80,000 visits a month to our homepage. “Regarding audio-visual materials, when I started we had records and tapes and now we have a full range of resources available.” Jenkins said the collection, the resources that library patrons need, is the heart of the library. “We still have good support from the city administration. The acquisition budget has been flat for three years but we are still purchasing in the neighborhood of 12,000 new items each year. But we wear out between 6,000 and 7,000 items each year.” Jenkins said most of the magazine collection is online giving patrons access to over 2,000 titles. What has happened to what was known as the Dewey Decimal System? “We still use the Dewey system. Most public libraries use it. The difference it that it was a card catalog at that time, often hand-typed cards, and of course now it is all electronic.” Before the economic downturn, discussions about a new library building were underway and Jenkins said that would have to be revisited one day. “We have been remodeling the current building but the need for a new facility is still there,” he said. “Taxes pay for city libraries, of course, and you have to be considerate of that. “We have more than a thousand people a day that visit this library so it is always busy. The checkout rate, the demand for more online services and the demand for information just keep climbing. And the city is still growing. “This facility will do for a time but eventually something else will need to happen.”

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