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Commitment and Growth for the Future

The Parkland Community Library exists as a valuable resource in our community, since we were first housed in a converted building in Guthsville, South Whitehall Township. We serve all Parkland School District residents from small children to senior citizens. We will continue to connect with the community and foster a love of reading and lifelong learning for the next 40 years and beyond. To remain relevant, we must strategically prepare for the future needs of our community. Serving our community means building on the strong foundations of our past and focusing on resources such as staff, services and reputation. In order to keep up with the needs of our residents and our changing world, our library will plan for evolving technological advances as well as maintain the services library users enjoy.

Vision:

Parkland is a thriving community where all residents are empowered to connect, discover, and grow.

Mission:

The library connects people to each other and the world, serving as the cornerstone of our community by providing access to information, technology and cultural enrichment for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment.

Core Strategies:

1) New Building:

We will continue to pursue a larger facility. The Parkland Community Library serves the second largest population in the county but is the smallest in physical size and number of volumes per capita. Currently, our library is housed in a 5,400 square foot building with limited parking.

Metric: We look forward eventually to providing our community with a larger building that meets your needs.

2) Provide a comfortable and inviting environment:

While planning for a greatly enlarged space, we will renovate our current facility to create a more comfortable and user-friendly environment, while also providing separate spaces for technology and events.

Metric: By 2018, we will replace flooring, furniture, painting walls, replacing doors and windows, and rearrange the library’s layout.

3) Offer current and cutting edge technology:

We will offer cutting edge technology for our patrons to have a better overall experience both at the library and through our online offerings. Over the next three years we will update the library’s website to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate. We will focus on making library events, research databases and downloadable media accessible from our main page and have all social media connections in one place. We will add more downloadable media including eBooks through Freading and streaming music through Freegal downloadable services. We will include additional computers/laptops for in-house use, a self-checkout machine for patrons as well as iPads to be included in programming.

Metric: By 2018 we will increase our website traffic by 25% and computer usage using the library’s computers/laptops by 25%.

4) Increase programs and attendance through outreach and partnerships:

We will continue to reach out to our residents by attending community events such as National Night Out, Parkland Festival of the Arts, Senior Fairs, Family Fun Day, etc. We will continue to partner with the school district to provide information for school projects, commuicate with residents for exciting library programs and ensure all students have a Parkland Community Library card.

Metric: By 2018 we will increase our program attendance by 15%.

5) Focus on offering themed children’s programs:

We will change how we offer some of our programs for children. We will continue to offer story times and early childhood programming but we will also offer themed programs and clubs at times when different age groups are available to attend. We will continue to poll parents regarding their children’s interests and availability in order to mazimize attendance.

Metric: By 2018 we will increase our attendance at children’s program by 10%

6) Increase patronage:

We will increase cardholders which should in turn increase overall usage. We will also partner with the school district and other organizations in the community for library card drives.

Metric: By 2018 we will increase our cardholders by 15%.

The Planning Process

The planning process began by having the Library Board and the Executive Director ask the community about its needs. Steps included:

1. A strategic planning committee was formed made up of the Executive Director and two board members. Additional ad hoc committees were also created to address different services and demographics. They are:

  • Technology Committee
  • People Committee
  • Place Committee
  • Outreach and Services
  • Underserved populations

Each of these committees was comprised of staff, board members and the executive director. Committees met and discussed how we could better serve the community of Parkland.

2. Focus groups were formed to include different stakeholders:

  • Parents
  • Teens
  • Seniors
  • Staff
  • Parkland Community Library Board of Directors
  • Friends of the Library Board of Directors
  • Advisory Council Member

3. Public surveys were created to address the following demographics:

  • Patrons who use our library
  • Library website users

4. Each participant in a focus group or survey was asked the same three questions:

  • What do you like about the Parkland Community Library?
  • What does your dream library look like?
  • How do you find out information about the library?

5. Results were tabulated for each focus group and survey. The top 5-7 items mentioned by participants in the first two questions were chosen as goals and objectives for the library when deciding on appropriate future activities and offerings. When asked about what their dream library building included, the following were the most mentioned in all groups and surveys:

  • More parking
  • Bigger space
  • Availability of food/drinks to purchase
  • More comfortable seating
  • Larger children’s space
  • More privacy by computers
  • Community meeting space

When asked what library resources their dream library offered, the following were the most mentioned in all groups and surveys:

  • More computers including both macs and pc’s
  • More programs for all
  • Book vending machines
  • Tablets for public use both in house and to check out
  • Movie streaming
  • More materials
  • 21st century library offerings

Factors

Survey and focus groups results revealed a number of key factors have been identified as essential to serving our community’s needs in the most effective way. They are:

Marketing:

Due to the internet’s accessibility, libraries have changed what they do and how they serve. It is our job to make sure our community knows and values their library. To do this we must communicate who we are and what we do in a way that reaches all residents. We will begin to communicate to every resident what the library has to offer them by sending quarterly newsletters to every household. We will include information not only about what services we offer but also online database resources and downloadable services such as eBooks, downloadable magazines and music.

Programs:

For many years we have offered programs for children and adults. We will continue to offer story times for babies through preschool while also offering programs that will be relevant in a 21st century library including technology, workforce development, and the PA Forward initiative. We will also make sure we continue to offer new and dynamic programming that reflects the needs of the community.

Building:

Through library surveys, our community has indicated a need for a larger space, additional programs, materials, children’s spaces, parking and community gathering spaces.

Staff:

Our community has told us that we have talented staff; they are welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable and offer exceptional customer service. In order to continue to be informed and current, staff will continue to develop their skills in an ever changing technological world.

The Parkland Community Library is excited to move in these new directions and have a greater impact on our Parkland community. With dedicated staff, board of directors, friends of the library and volunteers, we are prepared to meet the goals outlined above. With a renovation of our small space and optimism that we will have the support of the Parkland community to move to a larger space in the near future, we are committed to fulfill the goals presented here.