Harris-Elmore Public Library & Genoa Branch Library Strategic Plan (2016-2020)
The Mission of the Harris-Elmore Public Library & Genoa Branch Library is to engage all of our communities, inspire lifelong learning, and provide universal access to a broad range of information, ideas, and entertainment.
After discussions at the meetings of the Board of Trustees of the Harris-Elmore Public Library, the Board decided to begin the strategic panning process to ensure that the libraries in Elmore and Genoa were responsive to community needs. Evan Struble, a consultant from the State Library of Ohio, visited the library in April 2015 and met the Director and Trustees Judy Zimmerman and Lori Skees. Mr. Struble outlined the strategic plan process and suggested several options for gathering community feedback. After discussion, it was decided that we would distribute a survey in our communities, and follow up with a focus group meeting, led by Mr. Stuble. Mr. Struble provided several examples of community surveys and the director and Mrs. Zimmerman compiled a survey tailored to our libraries and library services.
After Board approval of the survery, copies were made available at both libraries. The survey was distributed throughout the the library's service areas as an insert in the Suburban Press weekly newspaper. The survey was also made available online via the library's website. We also purchased an ad in the newspaper to further draw attention to the availability of the survey. The "Vote Yes for Elmore & Genoa Libraries" levy committee had rented a booth at the Portage River Festival in Elmore, and copies of the survey were also handed out there. Respondents could mail their surveys or drop off at the library. To encourage participation, four surveys were drawn at random and those respondents received an Amazon gift certificate. The Friends of the Elmore Library provided two of the certificates. The survey was open for the month of June and the responses were sent to the State Library for tabulation. We received a total of 174 responses, including about 20 from the web survey.
The library survey results were received in November and were distributed to the Board of Trustees and to senior staff for review.
Mr. Struble returned in February 2016 to hold a focus group meeting in Genoa. The focus group was made up of library patrons, the mayor of both communities, and the media specialist from the Genoa Area Local Schools. Mr. Struble guided the group through questions based on the results of the survey ad mailed a proposed Guiding Document of four Service Responses, which was distributed at the April Board of Trustees meeting. It was also distributed to senior staff and other interested staff members. The service responses were discussed at several meetings of the Board of Trustees and the following goals and objectives were chosen.
Service Response #1 : Online Connections/Public Internet Access
Continue to ensure online access to the community and look for opportunities to grow and expand online services and technological devices.
Ensure Online Connectivity
1. Upgrade and maintain public access terminals
a. Update outdated desktop computers as needed
b. Purchase updated software as needed
c. Purchase additional public access computers to ensure supply keeps up with demand
2. Expand online capabilities and services
a. Investigate the feasibility of wireless hot spot devices for patron checkout
b. Track patron wireless usage for state reports and patron usage data
c. Update the library website fore usability
Service Response #2: Encourage Teen Literacy
Teenagers and "Tweens" will have resources, programs, and services designed to promote reading, writing, and literacy in a welcoming environment.
Foster literacy skills in youth and encourage life long learning
1. Provide programs and services for teen literacy
a. Continue sponsoring poetry contest and explore other avenues to encourage writing
b. Explore offering games
c. Stay abreast of new and emerging technology
d. Attend workshops and stay current with library literature to be informed of new trends and ideas in
2. Offer a welcoming environment
a. Meet with representative from State Library of Ohio re: space planning recommendations
b. Weed outdated materials and stay current with teen bestsellers
Service Response #3: Improve Partnership with Schools
Develop, maintain, and grow school partnerships for the greater good of the community
Students, teachers, and administrations will rely on the libraries as quality resources
1. Explore ways to grow collaboration with local educators
2. Offer additional programming at the schools
3. Remain abreast of trends and topics in education
Service Response #4: Improve Recognition of Libraries as One Entity
Brand the Harris-Elmore Public Library and Genoa Branch as a system
Citizens will know that both libraries provide quality service to all residents of Western Ottawa County
1. Consider outreach opportunities
2. Provide a physical presence at community events
3. Consider changes to the webpage to increase visibility of libraries as a system
4. Consider uniformity in program offerings
Service Response #5: Visit a Comfortable Space
Provide a welcoming environment for all users, including digital users
Library patrons will have a safe, clean place to read, relax, and use available technology. Digital visitors will have an easily navigable website with access to accurate information and resources
1. Seek advice from a consultant from the State Library of Ohio on how to work within current physical
space or possible expansion
2. Consider updating furniture to make more patron friendly
3. Utilize all potential space efficiently by removing equipment, furnishings, and miscellaneous items no
longer of value
4. Improve staff knowledge of vendors to contact in case of emergency
5. Consider changes to website and social media to make sure information is easily accessible and correct