Library director visits Rotary

LEWISTOWN – Molly Kinney is a woman on a mission who isn’t afraid to ask for help.

Kinney, executive director of the Mifflin County Library, visited the Rotary Club of Lewistown on Tuesday to reveal her most recent project – composing a new mission statement for the library.

The task comes in the wake of significant changes to the library and its infrastructure throughout the past year. Last time Kinney visited a Rotary luncheon, she said, the library was in “poor shape” and faced financial hardship.

Since then, the library board voted to close two branches, reduce staff and has implemented other cost-cutting measures.

“The outpouring from the community was just phenomenal,” Kinney said.

About $44,800 was raised this year for the library, and Kinney said Rotary itself funded all the children and young adult materials purchased this year.

“This has been a tremendous support,” she urged. “We are not out of the woods yet, but we can see the edge of the woods.”

As the library evolves, Kinney said faculty and staff are revisiting and revising its mission statement. But she assured the club that it’s as much about the community as it is about the library itself.

Therefore, she said, she wanted the club to help write the new mission statement.

“On the table, I put some pens and small stacks of (sticky) notes,” she said.

Also on each of six tables, she placed a poster asking one of the following questions: What is the purpose of the library? How are we unique? What are our guiding principals? Whom do we serve? What are our major services and programs? What actions will we take to serve our purpose? What impact do we have on the community we serve?

For the remainder of the meeting, Rotarians moved in six groups, from table to table, recording their answers to the questions on note paper and securing the notes to the corresponding poster board.

Kinney said the Rotary Club is the seventh community meeting where she has conducted the exercise, and there are three more to go. After the meetings, library staff plan to review the suggestions collected and create a new mission statement, core values and vision for the library.