Interview With Boone County Board President Jessica Robinson
Jessica Robinson is the 2008-2009 Boone County Library District (BCLD) Board President. Each trustee serves on her own district board as well as on the regional library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight. A contract binds our three member library districts into a regional library system, allowing us to pool the resources of our whole region to give residents better service at lower cost.
Jessica Robinson has been a Boone County trustee since 2005, though she served on the Columbia district board 2002-2004 before moving to a new house that took her out of that district.
Tell us a few things about yourself.
I have two little ones who both LOVE the library along with their dad, who is taken by DBRL’s outstanding music selection. I work in media relations.
What made you apply to be a library trustee?
Originally, I applied to be on the board because I did not like the statues, [“Cypher” at the Columbia library] and wanted to know more about how they ended up there. There was an opening, and I applied. Today, I love the statues. I love them because I know that they were not purchased with tax dollars. I love them because they triggered a dynamic dialogue in our community that continues today. I love them because they are the focus of many creative projects for Columbia students. I love them because they have earned our community a mention in countless national publications. I love them because my four-year-old loves them and has never once, not ever, let us drive down Broadway without pointing out that we are driving by the library.
What are you most proud of regarding the Boone County Library District?
The virtual branch. It really is like a bricks-and-mortar library with all the helpful tools and resources but, it’s open 24/7 AND it’s everywhere. The virtual branch is in coffee shops, homes and business all over the district and has brought a new understanding to what people think of when they think of “my library.” Also, this summer’s “Books by Snail” was a hugely successful grant program in the Hallsville and Sturgeon school districts. Of the 80 participants, more than half signed up for a library card.
Do you have a favorite library memory from your youth?
I will never forget the first time a catalog search led me to a nonfiction adult citation. I was overwhelmed at my first experience with the “real books,” and could not believe the volume of information I encountered. The shelves seemed to go up, up, up forever. The impression was everlasting. I knew if I ever needed to know anything, anything at all, it had to be there in one of those “billions” of books.
What makes DBRL special?
The people and the life. Staff, patrons and volunteers are all eager to learn, eager to help and eager to grow. Buildings, bookmobiles and events are always full of life, whether that is life and energy that seeps from the countless stories, tales and facts within the material or life and enthusiasm from the people themselves as they are empowered by the services DBRL makes accessible.
Any other thoughts to share?
The library is among the very last forms of FREE entertainment. Music, books, DVDs, audio, picture books, children’s books, children’s learning resources, electronic formats, programs, classes: ALL FREE. As a mom, and especially as a thrifty mom, I love it.