Building a Strategic Plan for the Library

A question that librarians are asked over and over again in this day and age is “are digital books the end of libraries?” Another version of this question is “is the Internet the end of libraries?” Most people that work in public libraries will be quick to tell you that neither scenario is going to happen anytime soon, if at all. While libraries do offer a wide variety of formats for reading material, Alamance County Public Libraries, and other public libraries across the nation are finding that print material maintains popularity. These questions have caused public libraries to look at what they do and what their role within their communities are and should be.  In an age in which more people have access to information, how do libraries stay relevant? In the current climate in the United States, public libraries will play an important role in educating people on how to identify reliable news sources, and how to understand the difference between facts and opinions or speculation. A quote making the rounds among librarians and people that work in libraries goes something like this: Google can get you a million answers. A Librarian can get you the right one. With your support, public libraries will always be there to help you find and/or understand the information you are searching for, no matter what the format.

Alamance County Public Libraries is nearing the end of a year-long strategic planning process in which the public was asked what they think are important services the library should offer and what role the library should play in our communities. While technology and electronic resources such as eBooks and eMagazines and downloadable audio books were in the top 10, it was interesting to see that print materials and programs were usually the top two on the list. Data collected from surveys sent out tell us that, for the most part, you are pleased with the customer service you receive from staff. You are interested in expanding the print collection of books and would like to see more programs offered. We will use all the data we have gathered to put together a long range plan that helps us deliver what you want out of your libraries. Right now that looks like providing world class programs to children and adults, a well-rounded and balanced collection of materials for reading and acquiring knowledge, bridging the digital divide, and serving as a community center that is inclusive and welcoming for people from all cultures and walks of life is what is being asked for. As work to finalize the long-range plan progresses, please know that library staff are dedicated to providing Alamance County with the best library services possible.

M.J. Wilkerson, Director of Alamance County Public Libraries.

I am reading Small Great Things by Jodi Piccoult, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman and The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon