Library Board Reflection: The Lasting Impression of Libraries

by Craig Long, Secretary, WDM Library Board of Trustees

I’ve been captivated by libraries my entire life.  As a child, I was blessed to have access to library materials in numerous formats; school libraries, bookmobiles, and a first-rate community library within biking distance of my home. Libraries are places of wonder, imagination, and creativity, the exposure to which provided me with innumerable benefits and created lasting impressions. I’ve long recognized the remarkable benefits libraries provide to children, and the furtherance of those benefits is the driving impetus behind my service to the Board of Trustees for the West Des Moines Public Library.

“Libraries allow children to ask questions about the world and find the answers.  And the wonderful thing is that once a child learns to use a library, the doors to learning are always open.” - Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States

The Youth Services Department at the West Des Moines Library makes me immensely proud. Often loud and at times distracting to adults, the sounds emanating from around the Children’s Desk should be music to our ears. Although perhaps not immediately apparent, those are sounds of discovery, intellectual stimulation, and emotional growth, all of which benefit not only the children themselves but the community as a whole. We’re lucky to have such a terrific facility available to us. 

Consider the wealth of programming offered by the Youth Services Department, many programs of which are offered on a weekly basis. On Tuesday mornings, Toddler Storytime is held between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and consists of stories, nursery rhymes, and other activities designed to emphasize and reinforce color knowledge, counting, and the advancement of motor skills. Baby Doll Storytime is offered during the same time period on Wednesday mornings, during which children can participate in songs, rhymes, and stories while interacting with their favorite doll or stuffed animal. Can’t make it to the library with your child during the work week? Saturday Storytime is held on most Saturday mornings between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., and includes songs, stories, and interactive rhymes with a focus on early literacy.  Please keep in mind that some of the programming requires pre-registration, all of which can be accomplished in person at the library or on the library’s online calendar. The library’s online calendar contains references to these activities and other exciting programming for children.   

None of the youth programming would be possible without the library’s amazing staff, and I encourage you to get to know them. As Willard Scott said, “Librarians have always been among the most thoughtful and helpful people. They are teachers without a classroom.” Are you looking for a book to assist in the development of your child’s critical thinking skills? How about a book that reflect the larger world in which your child lives? Or even library materials that can assist a child through life’s difficult challenges? Simply ask one of our librarians for assistance; they’re a source of great knowledge and wisdom, and they’d be more than happy to assist.

“The most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff.” - Timothy Healy

Finally, the West Des Moines Public Library prides itself in being in a constant and deliberate state of improvement. The library’s staff, its numerous volunteers, and its Board of Trustees are always interested to hear your thoughts about how the library might improve the services it provides. If you have ideas or thoughts as to how we can do things better, please don’t hesitate to let us know.       

Are you interested in serving on the Board of Trustees for the library? You are always welcome to submit an application with the City of West Des Moines.