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.