Community Stories

Anythink Dialogue on Public Libraries

Posted by Pam Smith on February 22, 2018 at 12:00 PM

On a late summer afternoon in September, a group of 30 state and local elected officials, business leaders and civic movers and shakers joined representatives from the Anythink Libraries Board of Trustees, Foundation and leadership team to explore ways in which public libraries can help build stronger communities. The event, Anythink Dialogue on Public Libraries, was held at Anythink’s flagship Wright Farms branch on September 11, a date of remembrance for all Americans and a fitting one for discussions about public cooperation for the common good. The gathering was inspired by the Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries and sponsored by the Anythink Foundation. The theme of the event was community resilience.

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Our New Library: How the Aspen Report Paved the Way

Posted by Cynthia Berner on February 07, 2018 at 1:38 PM

The new central Wichita Public Library is scheduled to open at the beginning of summer 2018, and it’s been 17 years in the making. Life’s events resulted in a variety of stops and starts but the outcome is well worth the wait.

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Building Relationships: That’s the Secret

Posted by Elinor Barrett on January 09, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The Daniel Boone Regional Library (DBRL) is a two-county regional public library system located in central Missouri. DBRL has a 1,200-square-mile service area consisting of rural areas and communities centered around independent public school districts. Callaway County Public Library, the Columbia Pubic Library and the Southern Boone County Public Library provide full-service library facilities and are augmented by a book mobile that brings services to 10 additional locations throughout the county. There is also a system of library-to-go lockers and book drops throughout the service area.

In creating the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, we developed a strategic planning process using the Aspen Institute Action Guide and working with Maureen Sullivan, our planning consultant. Our planning process began in November 2016, and the board adopted our new strategic plan in July 2017.


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Listening to the Community: Thinking in Different Ways

Posted by Alice Knapp on October 26, 2017 at 11:59 AM

The Ferguson Library was undergoing leadership transition when the Aspen Institute report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Your Public Library, came out in October 2014. I had been president of the library for just two months. The report motivated me to work with the Connecticut State Library on hosting a public dialogue on the future of public libraries, which was held in March, 2015.


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A Board’s Approach to Re-Envisioning Their Public Library

Posted by Mark Butler on October 11, 2017 at 9:56 AM

East Hampton Library (EHL) is in the Town of East Hampton which is located in southeastern Suffolk County, New York. The population is about 21,000 and is largely comprised of a growing Hispanic community. It became clear that additional and more robust programs were needed to address the increasing minority population of the township served by EHL. For instance, we needed to keep in mind two important realities: first, that 80% of the 500 average daily EHL visitors came into the EHL to engage in an activity and not to source an item to take with them, and second, that the Latino population of the township now comprised over 50 % of its elementary, middle school, and high school student populations.

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Out of the Box and into the Community

Posted by Anna Yount on September 28, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Transylvania County is a southern Appalachia community of a little over 30,000 people. We pride ourselves on having a rural mountain town feel while also having a diverse selection of education, arts and cultural opportunities. All of this is set against the backdrop of rich, natural resources that provide opportunities for recreation.


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Looking Forward: From Intake to Planning

Posted by Carolyn Booker on September 20, 2017 at 10:01 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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