Coffee and Conversation About Library Facilities

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We’re looking toward the future here at PLCMC, and we want you to help us do it. From November 1 to November 6, we’re holding a series of “Coffee and Conversation” workshops to help us develop our Facilities Master Plan for the next 10 years.

What’s a Facilities Master Plan, you ask? Basically, what this means is that the Library is planning our recommendations and goals concerning our buildings. We’re looking not only at our existing buildings and how we can improve them, but where we might like to build new branches as well. The dates and locations of the workshops are:

  • Saturday, Nov. 1, 9-10 a.m., Carmel Library, 6624 Walsh Blvd., (704) 416-3400
  • Saturday, Nov. 1, 12-1 p.m., Mint Hill Library, 6840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, (704) 416-5200
  • Monday, Nov. 3, 7-8 p.m., Independence Regional Library, 6000 Conference Drive, (704) 416-4800
  • Wednesday, Nov. 5, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Beatties Ford Road Library, 2412 Beatties Ford Road, (704) 416-3000
  • Thursday, Nov. 6, 7-8 p.m., North County Regional Library, 16500 Holly Crest Lane, Huntersville, (704) 416-6000
  • DATE ADDED!!! Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, 12-1 p.m., Morrison Regional Library, 7015 Morrison Boulevard, (704) 416-5400

We’re planning for the next decade, so we don’t want to do it alone – that’s why we need your help. You, the residents of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, are the people who benefit from our resources; you’re our “stakeholders,” if you will. As the people who will be visiting these buildings, it’s only fair for you to have a voice – which is where these workshops come in. If you attend one of the hour-long sessions listed below, you’ll be asked which libraries you use, the strengths of those libraries, and ways we can improve those libraries to give you a more satisfying experience. You’ll also be asked how the Library can be a more convenient resource – this could be anything from ideas for renovations or expansions to existing libraries to locations for all-new branches. Those are just a few of the things we want you to share your opinions on; more than just a survey, we want these workshops to be a dialogue, a conversation with our community on how we can serve them better.

We’ve scheduled five sessions thoughout the county, so please join us at the location nearest you. There’s no need to sign up in advance; just come in ready to share your thoughts with us. We’ll have refreshments; after all, a little free food and drink always makes things more enjoyable.

We look forward to seeing you at one of these sessions. Again, your opinions are very important to us as we move forward in this process, and we’re excited to see what you have to share with us. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. Thank you!

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23 Responses to “Coffee and Conversation About Library Facilities”

  1. susan green Says:

    Locations for coffee and conversation are all suburban, not in the gas-cautious realm of those of us in the inner city, in my case Elizabeth.

  2. Linda Rose Says:

    I appreciate the technology classes offered at the main library. I would like to see these maintained and expanded.

    As you look toward the future, please provide space and equipment to continue to grow these programs.

  3. John McGirt Says:

    Suggestions for the downtown branch (I visit weekly).

    It seems to have turned into a community rec center or hang-out spot for folks to get out of the cold (or heat) of the day. The bathrooms are awful. Often, guys are in there changing clothes, brushing teeth or shaving. I guess they’re tax payers too…just doesn’t seem appropriate for a library.

    Very often the themes are Afro-American in nature. I welcome that, but also would like to see some variety (how about Scottish-American for a change?).

    Suggest that the large tables be replaced with smaller ones that accomodate 1-2 patrons rather than a large table for 4. Rarely do we share a table- unless it’s particulalarly crowded.

    The 2nd floor computers (near the magazines) seem to be going to waste. Not sure if they have internet access, but the 1st floor ones are usually full. Perhaps those resources could be reallocated.

    Seems the int’l business section takes up valuable space but is rarely used for int’l business work. Should it be relegated to a smaller, less popular area?

    The quiet area on the 2nd fllor is a nice touch. Same for the 3rd floor NC room. Same suggestion as above concerning the smaller tables and more comfy chairs.

    Anyway to expand or recyle some of the old CDs and DVDs? The classical section seems huge compared to the tired poplular offerings.

    The staff is great! Megan and others always seem eager to help and are always approachable. Overall is a nice place to take a break or spend a few hours.

    Thanks for all you do. Again, the staff is top notch. I’m sure your resources are limited and the product you guys put out is really a nice part of the community.

    Best,
    John

  4. guinea pig Says:

    We love and value ImaginOn and spend lots of time there, participating in many of the programs. We would love to see ongoing programs for teens, in particular, as well as at branches in the community beyond The Loft.

    We spend an extraordinary amount of time at ImaginOn and find it quite limiting for the adults who accompany their teens, especially, to library programs or merely to spend time with books, materials, facilities. The designated adult area is small, dull and not conducive to wanting to stay there.

    The seating in the Teen Loft is much more appealing, as is a more enclosed location … the area now is just out there in a sort of open, exposed, noisy and drafty spot, as if an after-thought. Which, perhaps it was, since it is a children’s living and learning center. But, since parents still provide transportation and often don’t have errands to run in uptown or nearby or it isn’t feasible to do so, it would be nice to offer more in the way of materials, outreach, interaction or comfort to the adults whose children are old enough to explore ImaginOn by themselves but whose parents remain on-site.

    This is the biggest issue with us, and we would love to see PLCMC address this. I know that the Main Library is only blocks away, but it is often not practical or possible, for many reasons, to leave kids for another branch.

    We also find ourselves in a bit of a library “black hole,” as we are in the Davis Lake area, which isn’t particularly close to either University City branch nor North Country Regional … nor any of the other branches. It would be great to have a Mallard Creek- or Northlake Mall area outlet/express that would offer a closer pick-up for holds and access to PLCMC resources.

    Additionally, we find logistical/practical access to North County and University City difficult. Both need a “back way” or alternate entrance/exit that could avoid or ameliorate some of the traffic issues that interfere with getting to/from the library (especially North County).

  5. James A. Rogerson Says:

    I always my visits to the University City Regional Library. The facilities are always well kept adn I always find more interesting books than I could ever read. The sales books are good too.

    Jim Rogerosn

  6. Todd Says:

    I would love to see more activities to help adults choose and enjoy books. You have many valuable programs geared toward children, but I think it would be great to have more for adults. It should be available so that there are things for readers with varying interests – too much (typical book clubs) tend to be geared toward women only (I know that sounds sexist, but it’s unfortunately true) and with a narrow range of the types of novels or other books that are included.

    I know you include book information in your email newsletter, but I’d love to be able to participate actively in book clubs or at least be able to exchange book recommendations with people.

  7. MCW Says:

    My only comment is on the voting situation. In the future, could you please plan ahead for early-voting? Realize that parking at none of the library locations is sufficient, but you should see what it is like trying to go to Cornelius library right now. I drove by 4 days in a row, because there was no parking in the lot or on the street, and I had a book being held to pick up. Why was no planning done for extra parking and to allow room for actual library users?

    I’ve shared my comments on the locations I visit in some of the first threads that were posted on this website, but none of them were really addressed, so I don’t expect this one to be taken too seriously. I just hope it gets read and taken into consideration next time voting is allowed at the library.

  8. Stephanie Gay Says:

    I am not sure which locations have more updated things like a coffee shop. I would like to see the bigger branches have a big coffee shop with cafe style tables for eating a pastry and having a good cup of coffee. I have in mind the Barnes and Noble book store atmosphere. Soft music playing is nice. Also their needs to be a bigger area of lounging and comfortable seating for readers in the magazine section Also their needs to be some updated magizines for the teens and “tweens” too. I think the areas need to be themed and age appropriate. It would be nice to have a teen section with cool posters and arts from today’s time as well as a quiet section for older adults wishing for peace and quiet away from the teen section. I think large water fountains are peaceful and beautiful. I saw a large wall water fountain and it was beautiful. I think their needs to be several locations for bathrooms. One important thing for public libraries, is it lacks a “moms place.” A mother brings her children their for projects and mom and me time or to read with them when they are small, but often enough, today their are a lot of moms that need a good meeting point to hang out and catch up and maybe pick up a few books while enjoying a great cup of coffee or two. It would be nice to target those “moms” because we really do so much for our kids. Just a note for moms with small ones, It would be nice to have a breastfeeding area/changing room for the babies. (keep it separate) from the other restrooms!!! I think an entry area is important. Sliding glass doors are always nice. A waiting area with benches and chairs in the entry area are nice for those rainy days. I always like to have my husband pull up and get me on those nasty rainy cold days and if you could see out of the large glass doors, it would be easier to know when to go out. (A covered pull up area) would be awesome and benefit the handicap people as well.

    Hope these ideas help!!!
    Steph

  9. Mandi Says:

    We LOVE the University library’s children’s programs, especially those led by Mr Jim. Both of our children have come to love, books, verse and rhyme, and the library from Mr Jim. As our older son approaches the pre-teens we’d love to see more programs offered to bring him back into the library more. I also have learned from the various technology classes offered.

  10. kb Says:

    I feel blessed that my tax dollars are working to benefit me and others. woudl like ot have attended a forum at morrison, scaleybark or main. Would like to have more access to dvds. Fantastic selection of books. Love the access I can get from home and the classes that are offered to the public. Always feel like there is more I could be leveraging.

  11. Barb Says:

    I usually go to the North County Library – a really great facility. It would be nice to have a quiet area in that library – the tables on the lower level, especially when school is in session, usually have kids doing homework and talking with no regard for people who want to read/browse in quietness. I never see the staff asking for quiet, in fact, the staff talks, too, however out of necessity, since the reference desk is right there. A designated quiet space would be nice. I am glad there is no coffee shop, etc., in the North County Library. I don’t think a coffee shop in the library is a good use of our tax dollars. I would rather those dollars be spent on keeping the library collections up to date. We have lived here for 13 years and have always been impressed by the Mecklenburg County library system. It’s a great resource for the community.

  12. Frank Blair Says:

    Susan: Beatties Ford Road would not be considered ‘suburban’ by many people, as it is just five miles north of Elizabeth’s Independence Park. The session there is Wednesday evening (Nov. 5)

    Bus routes 7 and 30 travel Beatties Ford Road. If Wed. evening is not possible for your schedule, call me at the library (704-416-0101 is the general number) and ask for me, if you need a ride.

    MCW: I really hope you can make it to one of the forums in person and talk about the parking needs that you see. The one at North County is this Thursday, (Nov. 6.). If there are any barriers to your attending, again feel free to call the library at 704.416.0101 and ask for me.

  13. Sadie M. Says:

    I greatly enjoy the university City library, especially our book club there. Well run by Julia.
    I attended two speed dating events, one at main library uptown and the other at University city library. They were the perfect venues for us “older folks” (50 + years) seeking new friends. Sure wish this could continue. I am sure if advertised, some of us would surely volunteer to help out.

  14. Thom Mason Says:

    I echo Barb’s comment about coffee shops and public libraries and best use of taxpayer dollars. Libraries are not set up for retail. Such a space could not be kept current and modern based on the budget of the public library. Leave serving coffee to the retail stores that reap profit from it. Use our combined dollars for collections.

  15. Mildred Swift Says:

    My concern is less about building designs and more about library services which currently offer no Sunday open hours at any of the library branches located in West Charlotte. This large vicinity of adult & younger patrons need the same convenience of a 7-day schedule as is available in several other regions of the city. It’s actually long overdue that Sunday hours be included at either Beatties Ford Road, Freedom Regional or West Boulevard libraries.

    This comment is made online because of my being unable to attend the community workshops.

  16. Jason Wheatley Says:

    Sadie: We’re glad to hear about your interest in our speed dating events. Hopefully, you’ve already noticed that University City is hosting another speed dating event this Friday, November 7. If you haven’t already, visit http://www.plcmc.org/Programs/SpeedDate.asp to register.

  17. Taz Says:

    I am not able to attend any of the current planning meetings. Will others be offered?

  18. David Singleton Says:

    Taz, there are currently no additional planning meetings beyond this week; however, we do welcome your feedback and suggestions at any time. If you have specific suggestions about services, facilities, or access (or anything at all), please don’t hesitate to write me at dsingleton@plcmc.org.

  19. Erin Says:

    I agree with Barb that the library is not a place for a coffee shop. I don’t really think it should even have a “coffee shop feel.” I personally go to the library to read, study, research, write, and think. Now, I looooove coffee, but I can’t do these things in a coffee shop primarily because of the noise level. It is great to have a place to hang out with friends, yes, but there are plenty of places available for that. There are very few places (if any) other than libraries where one can go for silence, knowledge and reflection.

    I’m glad to see that there are so many technology classes available to the community, but I would like to see some more advanced classes offered, perhaps in something like coding. I’d definitely take advantage of those.

    I’d also like to see classes on citizenship, civics, and political process. Even between elections, it is important to be informed and involved in our own government.

  20. Bonnie Stewart Says:

    I am so sorry I was unable to arrange my schedule to attend one of the workshops. Hopefully, it isn’t too late to respond.

    Q: Which libraries you use? What are the strengths of those libraries, and ways we can improve those libraries to give you a more satisfying experience?

    A: Mint Hill has been my primary branch library for the past 10 years. I visit this branch at least once a week, often more. The librarians who have been serving this location faithfully during all those years have had a tremendous influence on the children in this community as their love of books and learning have grown. The staff has always been friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. Although Mint Hill is a small branch with limited space, they maximize their resources to provide ongoing programs and maintain a good selection of materials. The Mint Hill area is growing in population and the library is in need of additional space.

    I also spend a lot of time in the Spangler library at Imaginon. The staff in the children’s section are incredibly talented and encouraging to your young patrons. The variety and quality of children’s programs is excellent. The staff members are so inthusiastic and imaginative, that their only limit is the budget. They have successfully integrated museums and exhibits into educational programs, as well as the arts, both visual and performance, providing a well-rounded range of activities and experiences for children. As a homeschooling family, I appreciate that the Spangler library has reached out to the community to provide workshops and enrichment classes during traditional “school hours” when children’s libraries are typically underutilized, thus boosting your efficiency. The 90-minute free parking is an added plus for the uptown location.

    I frequently visit the Matthews branch which is a beautiful facility with a helpful staff. Their children’s programs are exceptional, both during the school year and in the summer months. This library offers a calm atmosphere with a working fireplace and comfortable chairs, as well as working tables and cubbies.

    Q: How the Library can be a more convenient resource?

    A: I am fortunate to live in an area that is equally convenient to two branches (Matthews & Mint Hill), and I am very willing to travel occasionally uptown for the benefits offered at ImaginOn. The technology available on-line at http://www.PLCMC.org to search for materials, request materials and have the materials delivered to a nearby branch for pick-up is tremendously useful.

    Many branch libraries offer computer classes for adults. It would be most helpful if the branches would also offer computer classes for children. This would be more beneficial than the programs I’ve seen supporting the Wii, Webkins and Guitar Hero (although that’s from a parent’s perspective, not a child’s).

    Thanks for all you do to support the community and bring enjoyment to all who pass through your library doors.

  21. Elizabeth Lankford Says:

    My comments regard the on-line system. It is wonderful to access my account on-line. I love it! I’ve noticed that in the space where one can pay a fine, the library card number is “remembered” so I don’t have to type it in. It would be FANTASTIC if the card number were “remembered” when one clicks to go to one’s account!! I have to type my number over every time I go into that system!! Additionally, it would be great if there was an option to select an email reminder of upcoming due dates.

    I usually use the Carmel Branch with my child and Miss Sandy is THE BEST!!!!

  22. Sarah Poole Says:

    Elizabeth, thanks for your great suggestions. And we really appreciate the kind words about Miss Sandy at Carmel Branch.

    You’ll be happy to hear that we will soon start sending email reminders of upcoming due dates. This will be a brand new service and we expect that it will be very popular.

  23. Helen Says:

    I visit the Independence branch and would love to see a better selection of books. Currently I have to put in requests from other branches.

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