Now that the Garfield County Public Library District has completed the construction of new library facilities in each of the six communities its serves, users are being asked how the libraries are serving their needs.
“We’re at the end of our current strategic plan, which was intentionally timed with the end of our construction projects,” district director Amelia Shelley said of the 2007 plan.
“We thought that would be a good time to go back to our communities and ask what they would like to see in the way of services, programs and materials, and just hear what it is they’re interested in,” she said.
A series of community input meetings kicked off in Glenwood Springs Tuesday night and continued in Rifle on Wednesday. Additional meetings are planned later this month in New Castle, Silt, Parachute and Carbondale.
About 50 people attended the community meeting in Glenwood, Shelley said.
“It was a good opportunity to hear what programs people like or would like to see returned,” she said. “It was also a good exercise in how we can communicate better about what we are doing.”
For instance, the library has heard criticism recently about a decision to end the annual used book sales that once took place at each of the branch libraries.
Rather than ending the sales of donated books completely, though, the libraries now have an ongoing used book sale.
“We made that transition because of storage issues,” she said. The annual sales required that books collected over the course of the year be stored until the sale took place.
She said the ongoing book sale in Glenwood will also now include the return of a magazine exchange, which also had gone away with the move into the new library last year. One of the problems, though, is that it’s hard to guarantee a certain magazine will be available when relying on private donations, Shelley also said.
To gather the input and develop recommendations for a new strategic plan, the library district has hired JVA Consulting, at a cost of $20,000. Members of the consulting team are leading community meetings.
In addition to the community meetings, the district is gathering input through an anonymous survey. The survey is available online at www.gcpld.org (click on the “Community Meetings” link). Paper copies of the survey are also available to library patrons.
The survey will be available throughout August. Participants can also register their names for a $25 local business gift card drawing and other prizes.
“We hope to find out why some people don’t use the library, and understand what programs and services might be attractive to those who are not current users,” according to a description of the project in one of the district’s recent newspaper columns.
Shelley said the district will report on the results of the survey and community input sometime this fall. The new strategic plan is expected to be in place by the first of the year, she said.