Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2009, 9:12 am
We are currently working to develop the next strategic plan for Worthington Libraries.
A key feature of the planning process is community input, and we have provided many opportunities for patrons to share their feedback and suggestions with us about how we can improve the Library.
As part of a joint information-gathering process with the City of Worthington and Worthington Schools, we conducted focus groups and a telephone survey in September and October. As part of our own process, we distributed a services and programs survey to registered borrowers and library patrons, and received more than 5,000 responses! Community forums held on October 28 and November 5 were attended by many people eager to have a conversation with library leaders about the future of the organization.
We've learned that people are, overwhelmingly, very supportive of the Library, recognizing its importance in their own lives and to the entire community. Even if they don't participate in the summer reading program, for example, they still believe it has value for children.
Despite the availability of information in many different formats, the surveys also reaffirmed that access to books is the most essential service provided by the Library. People may borrow other types of items, attend programs and use the library's computers, but books are still the heart and soul of Worthington Libraries. People love being able to reserve books from the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Southwest Public Libraries, too!
They also see the Library as having an important role as equalizer, providing people without the economic means with access to information and other resources they cannot afford to buy.
At the same time patrons were being asked for their feedback, the library staff was engaged in trend tracking, a process of looking at how trends in technology, demographics, education and other areas could potentially impact the Library in the future. This information also helps us position the Library for change.
We know, for example, that technology is impacting the printing and publishing industry and books are now as likely to be made available online as they are in your local bookstore. How this trend will eventually impact the Library and a community that loves books has yet to be determined, but we need to begin thinking about it now.
We also need to continue to cope with an increasing demand for library service and reductions in state funding.
All of these issues, opportunities and challenges will influence the development of the next strategic plan. I hope you'll influence it as well. Feel free to e-mail (email@example.com) or call (614-807-2601) me to share your ideas, suggestions and even critiques. It will help us build a better a future for the Library and the community.