A Better Understanding of Our Role in the 21st Century
The Middlebury Public Library is located in a small to medium size suburban town in Middlebury, CT. Our population is 7,575 and our budget consists of 1.4% of tax allocation and is shrinking. The Middlebury Public Library is staffed by four full-time and four part-time employees and volunteers. We are a stand-alone library that relies on our State Library for additional support.
Our participation in the 10-week pilot program for the Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library resulted in a better understanding of our role as the Middlebury Public Library in the 21st century and how we can better serve our community. When we gathered to share and discuss the 2014 Report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, it opened lines of communication with our town officials and community leaders. Upon completion of the Action Guide, we discovered the library’s current areas of strength and weaknesses. As a result, we are evaluating our current programs and services to define new goals and to pinpoint areas of need and sustainability. This will aide us in strengthening our engagement with the Middlebury community. A patron survey is being conducted to expand on this evaluation and provide a better understanding of the community’s aspirations. Patron feedback and updated demographics based on a new way of thinking will ensure future relevancy.
In addition, we are actively re-evaluating current policies with the Library Board of Trustees. By using the people, place, and platform concepts provided, we negotiated budgetary needs to the Board of Finance and reached out to the Superintendent of Schools/Board of Education.
Jo-Ann LoRusso, MLS
Middlebury Public Library