Community Stories

Looking Forward: From Intake to Planning

Posted by Carolyn Booker on July 12, 2017 at 8:55 AM

In 2025, Lewisville, Texas will celebrate a major milestone – the 100th anniversary of its founding. City officials saw this as the perfect opportunity to ask the community to do some forward thinking. “We heard from the community about what they wanted their city to look like by the year of their centennial, and we developed our Lewisville 2025 Vision Plan from that,” says Donna Barron, city manager. “The library was included as part of the inquiry, and what we heard was the desire for it to be the gathering spot for ALL members of the community. A focus on multiculturalism was discussed extensively.”

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Striving to Support our Mission

Posted by Laverne Mann on June 01, 2017 at 9:46 AM

The Cherry Hill Public Library (CHPL) is a municipal library in southern New Jersey, across the river from Philadelphia that is efficient and relevant to our patrons and one of New Jersey’s busiest libraries.  Our beautiful 72,000 square foot facility is just over ten years old and is one of the state’s largest municipal libraries.  There were 590,000 library visits in 2016, with circulation of 394,936 items. CHPL embodies the shift in libraries as a community anchor, a center for research, information and entertainment.  We invest in programming, nontraditional circulation items, and downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and video. 

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Meeting the Needs of Member Libraries and the Communities They Serve

Posted by Sara Dallas on May 31, 2017 at 2:46 PM

The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) is a cooperative system with 34 member libraries serving a four-county area – Saratoga, Warren, Washington and Hamilton counties – in New York. Each library has its own budget, board and policies. The smallest community library in the cooperative serves a population of 114, and the largest serves a population of 58,000.

SALS provides connections and resources to small and rural libraries that enable them to take steps to engage their communities and to develop plans and programming based on needs rather than what’s always been done. 

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Planning with Community Insight

Posted by Amie Pilla on May 31, 2017 at 1:27 PM

Berthoud Community Library District serves a population of approximately 10,000 individuals. When I arrived in March 2016, we needed a new strategic plan, but we knew that we didn’t want a plan that focused on what the community wanted for the library, we wanted to know what the community wanted for itself. We turned to the Aspen Institute’s Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library for guidance, inspiration and support.

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The Potential of the Public Library

Posted by Gina Millsap on March 08, 2017 at 2:33 PM

The Topeka Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL) in Topeka, Kansas incorporated elements from the Rising to the Challenge vision report in a series of community conversations in the spring and summer of 2015. The conversations were co-convened with Heartland Visioning, a multi-year initiative that provides a community-wide forum to give voice to resident’s concerns and aspirations, verify community priorities, convene public and private partnerships and communicate with the public. The library used these community engagement events to seek community input as part of the library’s strategic planning process.

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A Better Understanding of Our Role in the 21st Century

Posted by JoAnn LoRusso on March 08, 2017 at 2:30 PM

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.

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The Quintessential Third Space: The Library as An Anchor in the Community

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer on March 08, 2017 at 2:27 PM

The Columbus Public Library in Wisconsin is a small city of about 5,000 people. The library serves an additional 10,000 people from rural areas around our small city. We have deep historical roots in agriculture and manufacturing. We are quickly becoming a bedroom town for neighboring Madison, home of the State Capitol and University of Wisconsin- Madison and need to serve the needs of this more modern, innovative population, as well.

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No Shortage of Ideas or People to Express Them: Starting Conversations

Posted by James Ochsner on March 08, 2017 at 2:25 PM

Sutter County Library, Yuba City, CA

The Action Guide really helped to get the conversation started as the Sutter County Library is just beginning plans to expand services to a community that relies heavily on an agricultural based economy. The community has often struggled with higher than average unemployment but enjoys a rich cultural heritage and a naturally beautiful environment. Many immigrants from Mexico, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan use the library’s Literacy Services classes as a resource for learning English, gaining citizenship, computer proficiency and accessing information. These classes have become a platform for adult learners and new citizens to form friendships that cross many national and cultural boundaries. Countless residents have been bringing their children to the library for generations. Students and job seekers are also regular users of services. Locally, the library has a fine reputation but there is still work to be done.

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Improving and Expanding Conversations in the Community for Youth

Posted by Shelley Walchak on March 08, 2017 at 2:23 PM

Pine River Public Library, Pine River, CO

The Pine River Public Library is located in rural, Southwest Colorado, 20 miles east of Durango. The library district serves over 1,800 people in the small town of Bayfield plus an additional 6,500 in the surrounding areas.

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Developing Relationships with Partners Across the City

Posted by Dara Schmidt on March 08, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Cedar Rapids, IA

The Cedar Rapids Public Library serves a population of around 128,000, the second largest city in Iowa. We began the pilot project with the Action Guide as we embarked on putting a tax levy before our voters for library support. The Action Guide helped us identify our stakeholders and develop relationships with partners across the city. As the tax levy was defeated, we were able to use the SOAR exercise to help staff and trustees focus on the future of the library. 

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