Archive for July, 2008

Notes from Public and Staff Focus Group Sessions

July 30, 2008

Notes from the following public and staff focus groups have been posted; your feedback and suggestions are welcomed.

Public Focus Groups:

July 16th Public Focus Group (North County Regional Library)

July 19th Public Focus Group (Freedom Regional Library)

July 22nd Public Focus Group (University City Regional Library)

July 23rd Public Focus Group (Independence Regional Library)

July 24th Public Focus Group (South County Regional Library)

Staff Focus Groups:

July 15th Staff Focus Group Notes (South County Regional Library)

July 16th Staff Focus Group Notes (Main Library)

July 22nd Staff Focus Group Notes (Cornelius Library)

July 22nd Staff Focus Group Notes (West Boulevard Library)

Notes from other sessions will be posted in the near future. Please continue to give us your feedback and suggestions by leaving a comment.

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What is Your Vision of the Library of the Future? Scenario B

July 23, 2008

Scenario B is one of the scenarios discussed at the focus groups for the library’s planning process. This scenario is very centered about books and reading, and is intended to help begin discussion about what participants want for the future of the library. If you click “Read the rest of this entry…” below you can read the comments from the focus groups held at North County Regional Library (7/16/08, in Huntersville) and at Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08, in Charlotte) about this scenario.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts about what seems likely or desirable in this scenario, what is unlikely or undesirable, and what is missing that you would like in the library of the future? Leave a comment to join in the conversation.

Also, check out Scenario A, which paints a very different possible future, and give us your feedback.

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What Is Your Vision of the Library of the Future? Scenario A

July 23, 2008

Scenario A is one of the scenarios discussed at the focus groups for the library’s planning process. This scenario is very technology-centered, and is intended to help begin discussion about what participants want for the future of the library. Here are comments from the focus groups held at North County Regional Library (7/16/08, in Huntersville) and at Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08, in Charlotte) about this scenario:

  • Words used to describe scenario were “electricity,” “colorful,” “cool,” and “fast and accurate.”
  • Scenario was also described as very modern and dynamic, active, and life giving.
  • Libraries are one of the few public resources with free internet. People come to the library to try out new technology.
  • In order to have this type of environment, staff would have to be nice, not mean.
  • Technology is not cheap and will not become cheap. The “worldwide middle class” will want access to new technology. Market won’t allow price drop and people may not be able to perform high tech services at home, will have to come to library.
  • People would be more likely to come to the library if they are able to come out and try a new technology.
  • Will people think it is not worth it to fund technology in the library? Will need to change thought process, step up from a community aspect in order to convince people it is worth funding. Would need to work on explaining how the world is changing and people need to come out of their comfort zone and experience this new technology.
  • Would need to look at having these types of libraries in communities where people can walk to branch and use technology.
  • Missing books, it’s all about technology. Books are needed in the library.
  • Libraries must stay abreast of technology.
  • People are not learning verses the absorbing of materials when they use the computer to read. The library can enhance comprehension for students and adults.
  • There is a tension between technology and books. More things are technology based such as job applications. People have to learn technology skills in order to look up and apply for jobs.
  • Library has resources for anything and staff can guide them to this information. There is a lack of media exposure to community and the library should be out there. Never see anything on television about events; if possible, one may be able to read about it.
  • The library is on its way to the high tech scenario. Any solution that does not stay abreast of new technology will die. There should be access for the tech savvy and non-tech savvy visitors of the library.
  • Would need to look at having these types of libraries in communities where people can walk to branch and use technology.

What do you think? Tell us your thoughts about what seems likely or desirable in this scenario, what is unlikely or undesirable, and what is missing that you would like in the library of the future? Leave a comment to join in the conversation.

Also, check out Scenario B, which paints a very different possible future, and give us your feedback.

Cherished or Valued Library Experiences

July 23, 2008

During the focus group meetings of the library’s strategic planning process, we asked participants to tell us about a library experience that is particularly valued or cherished, and to think about what the library can do everyday to create this kind of experience in every library location. Here are responses from the public focus group sessions at North County Regional Library (7/16/08, in Huntersville) and Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08, in Charlotte).

  • In particular at Mountain Island and Main Library, staff are interactive and more attentive to patron requests. Patrons are able to ask questions, staff will explain and make sure patron has everything they need. Many good experiences burning CDs in Virtual Village.
  • Freedom Regional Staff are professional and friendly. They will greet you as you walk in. At Main Library, a woman spent 30 minutes of their time to make sure information was understood.
  • Help that is received is step by step, that doesn’t happen as much now in some places. This shows where the library is headed.
  • Reading down fines system, appreciative of director helping remedy problem of children with high fines, which prevents them from being able to use computers and check out materials. The reading down system helps get children back in the library. Kids need to be in library, regardless of book or computer use.
  • Received outstanding help from Beatties Ford Road and Freedom Regional staff to coordinate an event.
  • Freedom Regional meeting space is a very positive space for community. It serves as a hub for outward communication.

Join in the conversation. Tell us about a library experience that you particularly value or cherish by leaving a comment.

Changes in the Community, Part One

July 23, 2008

As part of the library’s strategic planning process, we asked focus group participants to identify recent changes or trends in the community. Here are responses from the focus groups at North County Regional Library (7/16/08 in Huntersville) and Freedom Regional Library (7/19/08 in Charlotte):

  • More people are looking online for everything; because of this, libraries have more computers.
  • People want to stay close to and within their community, especially with gas prices being high. This encourages people to go the library for internet and computer resources.
  • This year, libraries have their biggest numbers of attendance for summer reading. More kids are coming in and completing the program.
  • Kids are becoming younger and younger who use the computers; parents are finding things online that interest their children.
  • Families are concerned with the safety of their children; parents feel the library is safe, will leave child unattended. At times, staff need to find parent of child. This needs to change.
  • How central the library is for the community has changed. Higher incomes go to online resources from home to get books, utilizing Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. How relevant the library is to some members of the community has changed. How to make the people more aware of the library and its services?
  • The county has become more diverse; this is certainly true in Mecklenburg County.
  • It has become harder to have affordable housing within the city, which is pushing people out that rely on library services. People can’t continuously be pushed out of the city and sustain businesses in the city.
  • Crime has now become more of a concern; this is a change for people. Crime yields an uneasy feeling about some parts of the community; some areas are not as safe as they used to be.
  • Growth is a dominant factor; how can the library continue to provide services and buildings in areas of growth in the community?
  • Between 3-5 years from now, our schools will be majority poor. This occurs in almost 15 states; sad that library positions were cut in our schools.
  • Community has become more open; ideas and authors we couldn’t discuss 5 years ago are more tolerated.
  • Noise created by library patrons upsets those who want the library to remain a quiet place. How do we address this issue?
  • In the West Boulevard Corridor, crime is down and more people are involved in the community.
  • There is more of an interest in libraries coming from children; it would be nice if this could occur citywide.
  • Children score better on school tests if they attend libraries more frequently.

What other changes do you see in the community? Let us know by leaving a comment.

What is your vision for the community in 2013?

July 14, 2008

In one sentence or phrase, what is your vision for the community in 2013 (5 years from now)? Below are a few of the visions from the Strategic Planning Committee meeting of 7/10/08.

  • Charlotte has prepared for growth in advance.
  • Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will have a plan in effect to draw the community together and will become a true problem solver by 2013.
  • Citizens will become more diverse in activity and social life, because many more resources are available in the community and the Uptown.
  • Citizens will be more literate, be prepared for the best jobs in a changing economy, and be part of a model community that is diverse and thriving.
  • The Charlotte Region is recognized as one of the best places in the world to live, learn, work, and thrive!
  • One vision is to see additional light rail transporting a diverse population to Center City, UNCC and North Mecklenburg so citizens can easily experience all our community has to offer.
  • Our community will be open, welcoming and will work well for all residents.
  • Inclusive. Equitable. Accessible.
  • Engaging, strenghtening, and creating diverse learning communities in a wider world.

What is your vision? Please share it by posting a comment.