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Library director casts vision for new year

The rooftop of the Welch Children’s Wing at the James V. Brown Library would become an event venue. A unique hands-on children’s museum exhibit piece is integrated into the children’s library collection. A revitalized local history collection is developed and made available to patrons of the library. These are just some of the highlights of the vision that Barbara S. McGary, executive director of the James V. Brown Library, cast for members of the library’s Board of Trustees at their first meeting of the new year.

Tagged as vision and focus for 2022, McGary presented a report with ten items to help the library move forward in its mission to be“the place to go, to learn, connect and grow.”

“I wanted to share with you what the vision and focus areas are for 2022 and what we’re looking to do,” McGary told the Board of Trustees at their meeting Thursday held virtually.

First on the list was to construct an implementation plan for outreach and a report on the status of the outreach vehicles.

“The vendor that is going to do the bookmobile build gave us a timeline yesterday and they anticipate have the build complete by the end of the year, if everything goes right,” McGary said.

The vendor will build two new outreach vehicles and a third will be purchased locally.

Keeping the community informed about the progress of the project is also a goal, so that “we can all celebrate together the impacts of their investment,” McGary said.

“The philosophy of campaigns is that we want everyone from the bookmobile campaign to understand the impacts of everything we do before we launch another campaign,” she said.

Positioning the library as a community leader was another goal that McGary shared in her report to the board and with that, the importance of reaching out to other community leaders.

“My goal is to reach out to community leaders to learn from them what they see as the greatest needs of our community and to identify ways in which we can work together to make Williamsport and Lycoming County a place where people choose to live, work and raise a family,” McGary said

Along with being a leader in the community, one of the more ambitious visions McGary shared was to “create a new and remarkable event venue on the rooftop of the Welch Children’s Wing as one of the most beautiful places in Williamsport to host an event, meet with friends and enjoy the beautiful mountains of our beloved valley.”

The plan for the rooftop venue along with the addition of a unique hands-on children’s museum exhibit piece to the children’s library are designed to turn the library into a destination for people in the area and beyond. The research to prepare for a capital campaign to create the rooftop transformation would be done this year and possibly next year before a capital campaign would be launched.

“As I go around talking with staff, I show them the plans that were drawn up that shows the vision of the roof, which would just be absolutely amazing and the coolest thing in Williamsport,” McGary said.

Another area of focus for the year included bringing in a professional archivist to revitalize the library’s local history collection.

In phase one of this project the archivist will evaluate the current collection, collaborate with local historical and genealogical societies and museums to consult on how to build, curate and preserve the local history collection.

A goal of enhancing the library’s efforts in family and community engagement is another focus area.

“Connecting with the needs of families in our community is central to our role as a public library,” McGary’s report noted.

“Our vision is to connect every family in our community and to engage them in a library that is there for them,” she said.

Along with this is a vision to create opportunities for life-long learning with a special focus on business leadership and technology instruction for local small business owners and community benefit organizations was listed in the report.

Implementing innovations in technology management, developing the library’s leadership and staff are two points in McGary’s reports as well as innovate marketing and fund development practices that connect with every member of the community were also listed in the report.

The final vision listed was to “continuously make the library a welcoming place for all with facility enhancements and improvements.

“As we continuously learn about our community we change what we do and how we do it so that every member of our community can feel welcome, respected and valued in a community resource that is there for them,” McGary’s report concluded.

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