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Thursday, June 13
The Indiana Daily Student

MCPL receives new director


In a bittersweet exchange, the Monroe County Public Library trustees gathered to celebrate the retirement of Sara Laughlin and the library’s achievements last year.

Laughlin, who won a lifetime achievement award in 2011 for her work at the library, said her legacy would linger.

“My passion is developing the next generation of library leaders,” Laughlin said.

Her passion led Monroe County to win the 2014 Indiana Library Federation Programming Award. Laughlin said the library had been granted the award for improving services for the ?disabled.

Included among these initiatives was a showing of autism-friendly movies.

“Many parents told me this was the first time they had been able to take their kids to a movie,” Laughlin said.

Marilyn Wood, the incoming director of MCPL, said she has high hopes for the library’s future.

“In 2015, we will remain a vital information source for this community,” Wood said.

Wood highlighted various initiatives the library is planning to launch in the ?upcoming year.

The library is adding two new study spaces and a digital creativity center titled “Level Up.” Patrons of all ages are able to utilize computers equipped with design software, two audio production booths and one video production booth.

“We are working hard to reach new audiences and meet them where they are,” Wood said.

Laughlin said the library had reached out further to educators in Monroe County and partnered with Monroe County schools. This is a general shift across library-educator relationships.

“We’re very excited about that partnership even though it’s not happening as much as it used to,” Laughlin said.

Laughlin said the library offered schools more age-appropriate online material. She added that, previously, many schools had only been able to offer the Encyclopedia Britannica, which was at a 12th grade reading level.

In addition to county school education, the library is also expanding adult education resources, including free coding courses through the library’s website. Laughlin said it was important for the community to be ?technologically savvy.

“This is integral to attracting high-tech companies to Bloomington,” Laughlin said.

Laughlin said she is optimistic for the library’s future under the direction of ?Marilyn Wood.

Wood spent 17 years working at Harvard libraries before returning to ?Bloomington.

Before the board meeting closed, fellow board member John Walsh said Laughlin would be greatly missed.

“She helped make Bloomington a better place to live, work and play,” Walsh said.

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