Library board assesses progress toward goals

The James B. Brown Library board on Thursday reviewed its 2017 year, including an overview of how it met its 2017 goals.

The library took on a 2017-2019 goal plan last year that included:

• Provide a welcoming, engaging, updated and secure facility for the families of all abilities.

• Implement a community partnership plan that significantly expands its reach to school age children and underserved populations.

• Create better awareness and connections to library programs, services, resources and the ways in which they benefit the community.

• Ensure organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Barbara McGary, executive director, said that the library offered 902 programs that served 13,261 parents and children in 2017.

The summer reading program reached 356 babies, toddlers and preschool children; 826 kindergarten through sixth-grade children; and 114 teens; and it included 68 outreach classes with three new home care locations.

In adult summer reading, 805 adults participated in 44 programs.

In 2017, at least 179,062 people physically walked through the library’s doors to borrow 370,901 physical items. The library has also had some difficulties with the door counters, so the number of walk-ins could be greater.

“Our door counters … some of them have been down periodically. The batteries go or whatever. We lose those statistics for that piece of it,” McGary said. “But even losing, as they were down a couple times last month and previous months … There’s still over 179,000 people walking through those doors.”

The library borrowed 35,485 electronic items with 241,801 people visiting online, and the website had 166,209 pages viewed in 2017.

The library’s public computers and wireless access were utilized by 121,111 people in 2017.

For the year, over 7,139 volunteer hours were given to the library by 150 volunteers.

“We want to expand our reach to the school age and our underserved children that we are yet to connect with. As we evolve over time learning more about our community, we want to reach out to the underserved and make sure we are doing our due diligence to do that,” McGary said.

She said the focus for 2018 will be trying to reach the “tween and teen” area of students to try to help serve them. Currently, the library also offers programs like Star Wars clubs, CSI nights, comic clubs and more.

“I absolutely love our ‘Because’ statements … Pretty awesome getting our community to personally fill out these statements about why the library is important to them and their families,” McGary said.

The Libraries Transform Initiative was used heavily in the library’s social media in 2017 to show locals’ responses as to why the library matters in the community.

The 2017 author gala with Louise Penny raised $38,501 for the library, more than any previous year.

The library was also recognized with awards, including being a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

“One of the things we are the most proud of is being a finalist for the IMLS,” McGary said. “That was pretty amazing … Still very proud of the work that we did.”

In 2018, the library hopes to focus on completing the one desk service area, advocacy campaigning, fund development, role in education and literacy, technology infrastructure, reach and connections, staff development, facility management, library security and digitalization.

Part of that can include more video camera systems to help maintain the building, more outreach to help with literacy and digitizing the microfilm.

“Advocacy campaign is really to do that communication piece,” McGary said.

She said it can involve calling elected officials with the Friends of the Library and asking for tax dollars to go to support the library.

“Our goal of education and literacy … everything we do in our programming is intentional,” McGary said.

She said the meeting in February would talk more about the technology and infrastructure.

The next meeting will be at noon Feb. 15 at the library, 19 E. Fourth St.