“City Government 101” is an ongoing series that debuted in April 2023 and highlights different aspects of municipal government as it pertains to Columbus, Nebraska, in hopes to provide information on how the City of Columbus operates.
Every City of Columbus department head was recently asked some questions in regard to their department, the current fiscal year budget and plans for their department in the upcoming fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024).
DEPARTMENT HEAD: Jeri Hopkins
(Interview conducted in September 2023)
Q: How many people are in your department?
Q: How long have you been head of your department?
A: 4 months
Q: How do you think things went for your department in fiscal year 2022-2023?
A: It was a year of transitions for the library. When the previous director left, we had an Interim director, Brad Hruska, who did an amazing job keeping up with the details of moving into the new building. We then had a new director start two weeks before we started the process of moving to the new building. The actual move to the new building went surprisingly well thanks to the organizational talents of Elicia Micek and all the hard work put in by the staff and the Parks Department. Since the move into the new Library and Community Building, we have been working around the ongoing construction. Throughout all of these transitions, all staff have dedicated themselves to providing excellent service to the patrons.
Q: What were at least 2 of your department’s biggest accomplishments in the last fiscal year (and why?)
A: The library staff has continued to provide all services to the patrons during the transition to the new building. They have been working hard to bring all the new services online as quickly as possible. The five new meeting rooms are available to be reserved online or by contacting library staff. The new print stations which allow patrons to print from any of their devices or the library computers are available. Coming soon will be the drive-thru window and the two new maker spaces. There are also many new activities for children and teens within the new space.
Q: What are some of the problems your department faced in the last fiscal year and how did you overcome them?
A: The transition to the new Library and Community Building and a new administrative team. The staff all pulled together and communicated well in order to bring the best possible service to the patrons during this transition time.
Q: What are at least 3 major things you’re wanting your department to accomplish in fiscal year 2023-2024 and how is the new budget going to improve that?
A: The library hopes to increase the amount of programming available in the new space. The new budget will help us to do more as we bring on new staff to cover the four new service points for the patrons including the drive-thru Window. We will be bringing online the new maker spaces with added equipment.
Q: What can the public expect from your department in the next fiscal year?
A: Increased programming and services delivered with excellent customer service. We hope to increase the number of partnerships we have with local organizations. The library staff includes very talented individuals and the new library is a beautiful space. We hope to work with the organizations in the community to combine our talent and resources with theirs. If anyone has ideas on how we could work with their organization, please come talk to us about a partnership with the library.
To reach Jeri Hopkins, email her at Jeri.Hopkins@columbusne.us.
Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus.