Archive for the ‘strategic planning’ Category

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January 25, 2011

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– Charlotte Mecklenburg Library


Library gift will help at-risk children

December 17, 2009

The Spangler Foundation presented the library with a $250,000 grant on Thursday, December 17. Read the press release.

What’s the future of reading?

October 15, 2009


Library Director Charles Brown chats with WFAE’s Mike Collins about the role of libraries in a digital age. Other guests include Stanley Wilder, University Librarian for UNC Charlotte and Sarah C. Michalak, Assoc. Provost for Libraries and University Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill.

Listen online:

One step closer to closing the ‘digital divide’

September 30, 2009

On Friday, Oct. 2, the Library will be one step closer to closing the ‘digital divide‘ thanks to a substantial gift from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We invite you to join us at a press conference at 9 a.m. that morning at ImaginOn (get the details) or stay tuned for more information posted here later that day.  Very exciting news, indeed!

Nominations open for 2009 I Love My Librarian Award

September 18, 2009

Is there a librarian at your local PLCMC branch who you think is outstanding? Who goes above and beyond in his or her efforts to help library users and your community? Now you have a chance to not only sing their praises locally, but on a national level. Nominations are open for the 2009 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award. The award invites library users to recognize the accomplishments of librarians in public, school, college, community college and university libraries for their efforts to improve the lives of people in their community.

Up to 10 librarians will be selected. Each will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a $500 travel stipend to attend an awards ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times in December. In addition, a plaque will be given to each award winner’s library. Last year, more than 3,200 library users nationwide nominated a librarian, and 10 librarians received the award.

Nominees will be judged by a selection committee based on quality of service to library users, demonstrated knowledge of the library and its resources and commitment shown in helping library users. Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the ALA in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university, or a library at an accredited K-12 school.

Nominations will run through October 9 and are being accepted online at Nominate your favorite PLCMC librarian today!

Learning a new language is free and easy at your library

September 10, 2009

Ever wanted to learn a new language, but didn’t know where to start? The South County Regional branch of the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County will be hosting drop-in demonstrations of Mango Languages, the free, online language-learning software available to library users. This Friday and Saturday, representatives from Mango Languages will be conducting live demonstrations and giving away free T-shirts. Mango Languages offers instruction in 12 languages and 3 ESL (English as a Second Language) programs with both in-library and remote access for users.

When & Where:
Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road, Charlotte, NC 28277
(704) 416-6600

Libraries to resume regular hours

September 8, 2009

On September 13, seven branches of PLCMC will once again be open on Sundays from 1 – 6 p.m.: Main Library, ImaginOn, Independence, Morrison, South County, University City and North County. That’s very good news for students who use libraries on weekends. You can read the full news release here.

Library Volunteers are urgently needed Aug. 24 – 29

August 11, 2009
Volunteers make an important difference!

Volunteers make an important difference!

Would you like to make a difference in our community? In response to a growing need in Mecklenburg County, the library has launched a new initiative aimed at helping people find jobs. This initiative will include a new Job Center in uptown’s Main Library.  Volunteers are needed the week of August 24 to help move books and other items to make room for the new center.

Volunteers are needed Aug 24 – 29 at Main Library
(310 N. Tryon Street)
•    1st shift-9:30 to 12:30
•    2nd shift-1:00 to 4:00
•    3rd shift-4:00 to 7:00

If you can volunteer for any or all of the above times, please contact Chauna Wall, Volunteer Coordinator at 704.416.0711 or email

Thank you!

Click here to learn more about the Job Center.

It’s all about the search

August 10, 2009

The enhanced library catalog has a lot of helpful new features, including a large text version for customers with low vision and a Spanish-language version. But the biggest enhancement is in how users can find things.

We caught up with Frank Blair, the Library’s Director of Research, Innovation and Strategy to find out more about the catalog’s improved search capabilities.

Improved searching with more relevant results was a key factor in the decision to launch the new catalog interface. It’s important that customers find the information they need whether they are using the catalog from home or come in to the library. The enhanced catalog lets you not only find results that match what you’ve typed in, but it will also present relevant alternatives, and help customers easily refine their search.

So, what has Frank used the enhanced catalog for?

My ninth-grader has to do a book report on “To Kill a Mockingbird” this year.  I typed in the title in the enhanced catalog, and not only did I find a copy of the book, and the Gregory Peck DVD, but also a teen-friendly biography of the author, Harper Lee.  I would never have thought to look for the biography, but the enhanced catalog just suggested it.

My eighth-grader loves horses, and loves to read the “Phantom Stallion” series.  With the enhanced catalog, I can just type in “Phantom Stallion” and the 20+ books in that series come right up.  The ease of use is extraordinary.  In the classic catalog, I would have had to know how to do a special kind of search to find all that information.

I like foreign films.  With the enhanced catalog, I just type in “DVDs” in the search box, and then select a language to refine the search.  Instant access to cinema from around the world!  It also works great if you just want to see English-language releases in the last year.

I was helping a customer about 10 years old find the “mail-order ninjas” graphic novels – very popular with 5th and 6th graders right now, especially boys who don’t want to read a chapter book, or longer fiction.  I typed in his search, and sure enough, all our copies were checked out.  But the enhanced catalog was smart enough to suggest “ninja” as a search term in the visual search pane.  With one click, we found “Blue fingers: A ninja’s tale” as another option, and the Accelerated Reader information in the catalog indicated it was perfect for his age and reading level – and we had it in.  When I got the book for him, he said “I don’t usually read books this long, but in this case I’ll make an exception.”  The delight of discovery is what the new catalog is all about.

Have you had a chance to use the enhanced catalog? What do you think about the new search tools? Leave a comment and let us know.

“Today Show” shines national spotlight on libraries

June 16, 2009

A national story that ran on NBC’s The Today Show last week shone the national spotlight on libraries, highlighting issues such as increased library use and decreased funding that are libraries nationally as well as locally.  

According to a recent American Library Association (ALA) study, “Libraries Connect Communities,” 73% of libraries are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities. This access has become even more important as families across the country struggle economically. As a result, many libraries have begun reporting double-digit growth in computer usage in 2008. This reflects the local picture as well, as the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County (PLCMC) has  seen an 11% increase in library computer use, as well as such as 18% in requests, 8% in items lent, 9% increase in questions answered, and 5% in website use.

The Today Show story also highlighted the funding challenges most public library systems are facing, which is also the case here in Mecklenburg County. On June 11, the Library’s Board of Trustees approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2010 that reflected a 10% (or $3.6 million) reduction in County funding. The major impacts of the reduced budget scenario are as follows:

  •  28% reduction in the books and materials budget
  • 10% reduction in personnel budget (including furlough days, benefits reductions, and unfilled/frozen positions remain vacant)
  • 10% reduction in utilities budget (possible reduced hours of operation)
  • 10% reduction in supplies budget

The Library will await the final decision of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, June 16, before a final determination will be made on the impact to operating hours – however, it is likely that locations will close on Sundays during the summer months while school is out, to have the least possible impact on our customers.

Yet in spite of these challenges, the Library is working to meet the growing needs of our community, and recently launched a Customer Satisfaction Survey to assess how we are meeting those needs. We are also in the process of finalizing a 3-year Strategic Plan and an important reorganization process to realign the Library’s organizational structure with twenty-first century needs. If you would like to stay up-to-date on library news and updates, please visit and subscribe to our e-newsletter.