It's Library Card Sign-Up Month. So, what better time to get smart about local libraries and their amenities. We chatted with Siouxland Libraries Director Jodi Fick about library card costs (spoiler: $0), her favorite library features and what's on her nightstand right now.
Answers are edited for length and clarity.
How did you ‘get smart’ about libraries – i.e. what in your background or in your own research/activities prepared you for your job now?
You know that friend who always has to find out the “what” and “how” and “who”? That’s me.
- I love learning tidbits of information and then I want to share that information. I also love strategy games, but I can get sidetracked giving my competitors hints so that they do well too.
My education is English/Secondary Education BA from Augustana University and Master of Library Science from Emporia State University, Kansas.
- I have worked at Siouxland Libraries since its beginning in 1995 and have been a part of growing a library system that now serves over 240,000 people.
We’re all about simplicity here. Can you describe Siouxland Libraries in 10 words or less?
Your place to learn, connect and enrich your life.
What’s something people most often misunderstand about libraries and getting a library card? (And, if you could politely correct them, what would you say?)
There are a couple of big ones.
First - that the library is a quiet, stuffy place filled with dusty books. As soon as you step into the library, you see that this image does not fit.
- Yes, there are books, but there is so much more. The library is a vibrant place where people are connecting and growing. And it can be noisy; especially when people are gathering together for story time and author talks and meetings.
Second – that getting a library card costs money. (It doesn't.)
- If you moved here from a place that didn’t have a public library, you may not understand the basic concepts of a library or that it is a place where you are welcome. Library cards are free to all persons living in our service area and with that card you can borrow books, audiobooks, games, toys and more.
What’s the most underrated/little-known feature of a library card that you wish more people knew about?
With your library card, you can use LinkedIn Learning for free. The library has a subscription for the entire community.
- LinkedIn Learning provides over 16,000 video courses taught by industry experts in business, creative, and technology to help you meet your personal and professional goals.
If you could snap your fingers and add a new library resource, what would it be?
It is not a new resource, but with the demand for downloadable audiobooks increasing in leaps and bounds, I would love to snap my fingers and expand our offerings ten-fold.
- The library has had audiobooks and eBooks for years, but in the past four years, popularity has sky-rocketed.
- And with inflation hitting many people’s pocketbooks this past year, they are dropping online subscriptions and using the library’s collection. It is in books that they can really dive into a subject, develop empathy for another point of view, or simply escape into another world.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
Not on my nightstand – on my phone as I borrow audiobooks through the library using the Libby and Hoopla apps.
- Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker – fascinating true story of a Colorado family with twelve children, and six are diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- Atomic Habits: tiny changes, remarkable results: an easy & proven way to build good habits & break bad ones by James Clear
- The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
What’s your advice for someone who wants to learn more about local libraries or about getting a library card?
Come into any of our five Sioux Falls locations or eight Minnehaha County branches or go to www.siouxlandlib.org.
Getting a library card takes minutes – just bring a photo ID and proof of address.
If you have a few minutes, ask any of our staff for a tour. The library has so many resources and services that you really need to stop in.
Anything else you want the people of Sioux Falls to know about you, your job or the library system?
Nearly 90,000 people in Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County have library cards; if you don’t have one yet, you are missing out.