A team effort made the planning process both possible and successful and included library patrons, staff, Board of Trustees members and members of the leadership team.
Between June and October 2015, consultants Karen Miller and Karen Vrabec from KMD Associates assisted library leadership in brainstorming, identifying questions and conducting focus groups.
From September 9-11 2015, a total of 73 individuals responded to questions and engaged in dialogue concerning the strengths and hoped-for improvements in library services. Participants in eight community focus groups included public school administrators, community businesspersons, educators, high school students and teens, senior citizens, and residents living in all portions of the county. Four additional focus groups included library staff members, as well as one focus group with board members and the leadership team.
Focus group discussions centered around five questions developed by KMD Associates:
- What do you love/value about the Athens County community?
- What types of opportunities are missing within the Athens County community?
- What are the most beneficial resources, services and programs offered by Athens County Public Libraries?
- What types of opportunities are missing with the library system?
- What would your dream library look like?
A total of 140 people responded to an Athens County Public Libraries survey, both online and in paper form. Respondents were primarily active library users (95%), although there were select respondents who were not currently active (5%). Due to lower survey participation in the smaller communities served by ACPL, the libraries are dedicated to looking for ways we can continue to engage with more rural patron voices as we move forward.
The following library usage patterns further describe ACPL patrons who responded to the survey:
- They primarily use the library buildings for checking out books and other materials.
- Most visit a library branch at least once a month, and many visit more than five times.
- The vast majority use the Athens branch, followed by Nelsonville.
Strategic Planning Team
The Strategic Planning Team met October 15-16, 2015. The group consisted of several ACPL employees from various branches and with unique responsibilities within the organization. After reviewing the gathered information, the planning team discussed common themes; outlined strengths and opportunities for growth; discussed potential hazards to the library system’s future; identified strategic goals; and determined the first layers of possible measurable objectives.