HENNEPIN — The Putnam County Library District has a new addition to their library staff: A new library director. Jay Kalman is a former area resident who assumed his position on Jan. 14. He replaces former Director Bobbi Morgan who left at the end of December.
“I was raised in Spring Valley, so I am local basically,” Kalman said. “I went to Hall; I went to IVCC. I went to Western Illinois University for my undergraduate degree in music education, then went to Northern Illinois University for my master’s degree in library science.”
Kalman had previously been employed with the Harvey Library District for close to 25 years. Kalman said when he saw the news Putnam County was looking for a new library director, he knew it was time to come home.
Kalman has settled in LaSalle with his wife and two dogs. His brother lives just outside of Hennepin, so he feels he knows a little bit about the community as he starts his position.
He brings a strong technology background to his position.
“I was one of the first people in the state of Illinois to bring all this technology back in the day into the library when it first started,” he said. “Most of the libraries at the time didn’t have computers and technology back them. I have been doing that for years. Harvey was one of the leaders in the whole country basically for bringing technology into libraries.”
Technology is not only about the computer, but also the programs the computer can access. With eReaders being popular, Kalman has some ideas of where Putnam County patrons can access books to enjoy.
“We have what is called eRead Illinois which is a program for eReaders coming out,” he said. “We will be bringing that out in a couple of weeks I think.”
With the libraries at different sites as well as the amount of patrons he will serve through the Putnam County Library District being unique, Kalman feels he wants to help potential patrons learn about all the library can do for them.
Programs he is thinking about bringing into the libraries in Putnam County include digital magazines online and starting to offer computer classes for residents. Libraries are evolving, and Kalman wants Putnam County to keep up with the modern day version of what libraries can be.
“The library itself is becoming more of a gathering place than it is being the old book warehouse in the old days,” he said. “It’s a place where you can collaborate on ideas. Digital media labs are very popular now. People come in to make videos and record music and work on photos in Photoshop. We will try to implement some of these ideas here. At least, libraries can provide those things that people can’t have at home,” he said.