Archived Story

Library opinions wanted [UPDATED]

Published 11:15am Thursday, March 28, 2013 Updated 11:52am Thursday, March 28, 2013

A library isn’t necessarily a money maker or a job creator, but it’s the heart, soul and core element of a community, according to Tim Hunt, Fergus Falls Public Library Task Force member.

“You get about a person per minute through here,” Hunt said. “They put out as much product… probably as much as McDonald’s does hamburgers.”

There’s been talk for years about updating the library, Hunt said, but there’s only been such a studied effort recently with the Library Renewal Project. The Task Force was put together in June 2012 and is in phase one of the process, which includes creating a Library Needs Assessment to identify the valued library services and resources and determine future needs.

“Let’s grant that the library needs to be brought into the 21st century. So how are we going to do that?”

Part of the answer to that question will come from the library survey answers, the Task Force hopes. The survey comes out today and is available through April 22. It includes questions about the library’s collections, services, spaces and your perceptions of the library. There’s also an essay question which asks one thing you’d change about the library if you could.

“If you’re going to do something, you need to make sure that’s what’s wanted,” Hunt said. “You just go right down to the people themselves.”

The survey questions stem from multiple focus groups with community groups from the past few months. The goal is for at least 10 percent of the library’s service population (or about 1,000 people) to complete the survey, but they hope to get more, said Library Director Erin Smith. The survey can be taken by those ages 10 and up; parents with younger children can take their kids into consideration when taking the survey.

It’s a chance for community members to make their opinions known and have a voice regarding the future of the library. The Task Force doesn’t just want to hear from people who use the library either. They want surveys from people who don’t use the library as well.

“For all we know… maybe people don’t want books,” said David Grotberg, Task Force member. “So that’s why we’re asking.”

But any kind of plans won’t just be what the Task Force wants, or what the library staff wants.

“We want what the community wants for the library,” Grotberg said. “It really is a core community aspect.”

Both Hunt and Grotberg frequent the library for a variety of reasons. Hunt, a local retiree, received help with using his Kindle, he accessed some computer apps for a home improvement project and he comes to the library to read academic studies of the bible.

“They have some things that are stayed and true for me,” Hunt said.

Grotberg, 16, mostly enjoys the books, because the price is right – free. He loves to read and it’s expensive to buy book after book, he said.

Once the Task Force has the survey results, the next step will be to take a look at that along with staff and space needs before making a recommendation to the library board and city council, Smith said. The earliest the recommendations could be made would be next fall, or early 2014, Smith said.

Take the library survey online.

  • P. Carlson

    It would have made more sense to spend money on the library instead of the elitist ice palace. The city thinks taxpayers are stupid enough to fall for all of it if they start with the least important and work backwards. Sooner or later everyone will smart up and say ”
    We can not the afford this city or the school.

  • birdmanborch

    Here we go again. spend, spend and more spend. We spent to remodeled a golf bar/grill(city owned). probbaly should have sold the whole worksand let private industry do its job. We have 3 private clubs(Eagles,VFW, and American Legion0 in town as well. All struggling to make ends meet. Why not sell all of the city owned bussiness and allow free markets to take over and pay real taxes.The only industry that seems to be growing in the 30 years I have been here is government. Take the city budget and divide by # of residents. its close to 15,000 per person in Fergus Falls. Do you feel you got your share?

  • stupidaso

    “You get about a person per minute through here,” Hunt said. “They put out as much product… probably as much as McDonald’s does hamburgers.”

    A person per minute? Really? Why should we pay for a new library? I do not use it, so why should I pay for it? Oh, wait. That is what people said about the ice arena.

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