Tim Wiles took the helm as GPL’s Director in January 2014. At that time, we published this Q&A column, which is a great way to learn a bit about him.

Q: Why are libraries important?

A: Libraries are important for reasons too numerous to  answer in a brief Q & A. But here goes: Libraries are engines  of democracy – ensuring that all community members have  access to the best books, films, music, facilities, computer  downloads, and programs. Libraries are places of learning,  enjoyment, and growth. By banding together to purchase a  large collection of materials, communities ensure that their  citizens can compete with anyone–we have all the information  we could possibly need right here at our fingertips. And  if we get in the habit of turning to the library first for our  information and entertainment needs, we can save a lot of  money in the family budget.

Tim Wiles, Library Director

Q: What do you see as the major challenge(s) facing the  Guilderland Public Library?

A: Our primary task is to continue the process of growing  with changing times. In the last ten years, the world of  information has changed probably more dramatically than at  any time in human history. That any library remains vital and  relevant through such a time period – and GPL has certainly  done so – is a testament to great staff, great leadership, and  patrons who are highly motivated to seek out information  and entertainment. The challenge is to continue to ride this  wave of change, without either falling off the surfboard or  falling behind the wave’s crest.

Q: What are your goals as the library’s director?

A: To begin with, I hope to learn a lot about the library, the  staff, and most importantly, the people of Guilderland. When  I feel comfortable that I understand our community’s needs  and desires for the library’s future, we can go from there. My  biggest asset at the start is my ears.

Q: How can the Library stay relevant in an era of diminished  “print” reading – when it seems everyone is always looking at their  phones, tablets, or laptops?

A: Public libraries in our region have done a great job of  showing up on peoples’ phones, laptops, and tablets! There  are so many more ways to connect to information these  days – and I would venture to say that many members of  the community – including myself at this early point in my  GPL career – don’t know all of the services, databases, and  capabilities to which GPL offers access. Being an effective  consumer of information requires a lot more than being  a good user of the web. There are many rich layers of  information that our community has access to through the  library’s portals – both the physical doors of  the building, and through the website and other  internet resources.

Q: When someone walks into the Library in 10 or  15 years, will they see a facility dramatically different  then it is now?

A: Absolutely. But who can say, at this moment,  how different it will be? If we rewind 10 to  15 years, we would be lacking many of the  capabilities we offer today. One great thing,  though, is that the GPL works at many levels.  Fifteen years from now, we will, I am confident,  still have people checking out good old-fashioned  books, including me. But I’m also sure we will be  offering access to incredible technologies that at  this point are only someone’s dream – or ideas  on a drawing board. It is a very exciting time to  be in the information business.