Image by Andy Thompson

On Saturday, November 26, I visited the 7th library for my 30Y.30L Campaign: the very busy Pigeon District Library. Between a steady stream of patrons and a party in the community room, the library staff were swamped. (Thank you to Jeanette, Sarah, and Janine for meeting with me and answering my questions!)

Pigeon District Library is located in…you guessed it…Pigeon, Michigan. The Village of Pigeon is located in the northeast portion of Huron County. If you use your trusty lefthand as a map, the tip of your thumb marks the location of Huron County — a peninsula of a peninsula. State Highways M-53, M-25, and M-19 are the main thoroughfares into beautiful and picturesque Huron County.

For those not familiar with the area, Pigeon District Library is about 120 miles northwest of the Purdy-Kresge Library, home of the School of Library and Information Science, on Wayne State University’s downtown Detroit campus.

Pigeon District Library’s website does a fantastic job of covering the history of the library. I won’t duplicate their effort, but I will mention that part of the library’s structure is the old Gem theater. As part of my tour, I was able to go upstairs into the library’s attic and see the projection room. (Check out my slideshow for photos.)

Service Area, Size, and Operating Budget
Pigeon District Library serves the Village of Pigeon, Chandler Township, McKinley Township, and Windsor Township. In addition to their legal service area, they contractually serve the City of Caseville, Caseville Township, Fairhaven Township, and Oliver Township. According to their annual report, the total population for their service area: 8,027 citizens.

Like Bullard Sanford Memorial Library, PDL is a Class III agency. According to the Library of Michigan, a Class III library:

  • Serves a population of 7,000 to 11,999 and needs to;
  • Be open a minimum of 30 hours per week.
  • Employ (at least 30 hours per week) a director with at least a Level 3 certificate.

Annual circulation data for the past several years:

  • 2007: 43,156 items
  • 2008: 47,938 items
  • 2009: 46,029 items
  • 2010: 43,961 items

Number of items in their collection: 39,676. The operating budget for Pigeon District Library is about $250,000.

(From left to right): Sarah, Jeanette, and Janine

About the Director
Like many library directors, Jeanette Bach’s background is in education. Prior to coming to Pigeon District Library in 2000, the Huron County native taught for many years in Texas.

Jeanette truly believes in customer service as the library’s motto is, “Where patrons are our first priority!” Whether a frequent user or new to the library, each patron that walks through the library’s door is greeted and welcomed by the PDL staff. (I can attest! When I arrived slightly early for my visit, I received a very warm welcome.) Following the same philosophy, staff are always more than willing to assist a patron in locating an item. I also loved the fact that each staff member wore a name tag. 

From outreach efforts at the local assisted living and long-term care facilities to holding workshops for the latest technological gadgetry, Jeanette is the epitome of an innovator. Other unique programs include a passport fair (with the Post Office), winter reading program for adults, and a military mailing day which patrons assemble care packages for the troops.

Advice to those entering the profession: “Listen to the people you are serving.” Jeanette went on to mention that, “Every library has its own personality.”

Intellectual Freedom
Last year, when I was required to visit several libraries for LIS 6010 with Dr. Maria Gonzalez, I began asking librarians how the Harry Potter series was received in the community. The series has experienced controversy over the years and has landed itself on the frequently challenged materials list compiled by the American Library Association. About the series Jeanette said, “There’s a lot of people reading it.”

Relevant and of note, when I had a tour of the library’s work area I saw several copies of the series with labels that note, “Second Copy.”

Unique Observations
The library had three aquariums — two in the children’s area and one in the reference room. The latter is tied in with a Memorial. (Check out my slideshow.)

Like Bullard Sanford Memorial Library, PDL also has a circulating toy collection. Also unique is a circulating puzzle collection for adults.

Pigeon District Library has an absolutely beautiful community room available for rent! It is definitely worth seeing.

On Thursdays, the library offers coffee and hot chocolate in the reference room — the perfect place to read the latest magazine or browse the paper.

The library has a blog which they update with the latest news:
Pigeon District Library Blog

Note: For whatever reason, my camera settings were off. Several of the photos are slightly out of focus. Very disappointing! (My apologies.)