August 11, 2012

Our Community is at the Heart of Our Service

Neill Public Library has much to be grateful for, and the community is at the heart of it all.

This year’s Summer Reading Program for adults and children was a huge success thanks to our R.A.D.I.C.A.L. teen volunteer group, Friends of Neill Public Library, and local merchants.  Our teen volunteers donated an amazing 304 hours to this library program alone. The Friends provided the funding for performers like Reptile Man, Mr. Bubble Illusionist, and of course, our favorite celebrity musician, Victor Johnson.  We heard researchers talk about the affects of sleep on productivity and personal health.  And local merchants generously provided armfuls (literally!) of fabulous prizes to help our community celebrate the joys of reading.  From all of us to all of you – thank you for your generosity! 

The spotlight remained on our community throughout July’s month-long “10-19-31” library awareness project.  With the reality of budget cuts, we knew remaining funding to library services would need to be re-allocated based on priority.  Through surveys, a public forum, and a city council meeting, we encouraged you, our community, to help us with this prioritization by sharing your thoughts.

And share you did.  Thank you for raising your voices to articulate what matters to you.  Thank you for your flowers, cards, treats, and support.  We are sincerely touched by your strong response and will achieve the best balance we can between honoring your priorities and operating within our new financial reality, a reality we expect to be defined at the August 14th Pullman city council meeting.

Results from the 627 surveys received have been tabulated.  Here is what you told us about library services:
1.  66.6% gave the library a 5 out of 5 in satisfaction with current services
2.  55.1% use the library on a weekly basis
3.  86% would prefer having a large collection of materials in adequate condition over a smaller collection in good condition
4.  Top most-used library services are:
  • Borrowed library materials
  • Asked a librarian for assistance
  • Used the public computers or WIFI
  • Read newspapers or magazines
  • Attended a youth program
 5.  The top five prioritized services are:
  • Access to materials on a wide array of subjects
  • Children’s library programs
  • Access to materials in a variety of formats
  • Circulation staff to check out your books
  • TIE between Reference staff to assist with research & Public internet computers
These results will also be useful as we launch into the next phase of strategic planning.  The Advisory Committee has recommended a prioritized service focus of “satisfying curiosity through lifelong learning”.  Out of 15 different foci, the committee felt this particular focus offered the broadest depth of activity, benefited the widest array of people, and had the best chance for success given available resources.  Once again, those we serve are taking an active role in helping us define library services.  As a public service department, this level of ownership is appropriate.  To our community, I say, thank you for being at the heart of it all.  

by Joanna Bailey, Library Director
published 8-11-12 in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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