As I discussed last month, the library system has launched its long-range planning process and, just recently, launched the live site for our public survey on library services and facilities. The long-range planning process helps the Library Advisory Board and library administration sharpen their vision of the future, to focus their efforts and resources more effectively.
In addition to an awareness of existing shortages, planning for library facilities and services requires an evaluation of future needs. These needs continue to rise at an accelerated pace. The general population growth is perhaps the most obvious influencing factor, but there are others just as important. The proportion of younger people in the total population continues to increase, and is also the largest group of library users, taking between 50 and 60 percent of the books circulated by the library. Similarly, the rising ratio of retired people with both time and inclination to use library facilities increases demand for services. Other important factors are the generally higher level of educational achievement and increasing leisure time. Finally, concerted efforts on the part of the library to reach a large segment of the public which is now classified among the non-users has a significant influence in determining future public library needs.
I hope you will take a few minutes to complete our public survey, either online through our website or on paper at your local library branch or bookmobile. Your opinions will help us plan our strategy for success over the next five, ten, twenty years. By providing easy access to content in all formats, and aligning our services with the community’s needs, we can ensure the library’s path to long-term success.
Library System Director, Debra Rhodes Gibson