Notes from July 23rd Public Focus Group–Independence Regional Library

Focus Group Discussions for PLCMC’s Strategic Plan – July 2008

Public Session # 4

Independence Regional

July 23, 2008

1. What positive things or experiences have occurred in the library?

– The literacy bus that goes to Druid Hills provides literacy and technology resources to children. Kids are getting books for the first time and they can build their own library.

– The book sales that the library has help people stock up on personal collection and collections for schools.

– Independence Regional is a great library as well as the library system as a whole. The employees are great and the outreach in the community is good.

– Independence Regional is the easiest library to get to since kids have been in home school. Visits have been nothing but good and the kids enjoy the different things the library has to offer. On one particular occasion, kids came to an event that no one showed up for at library, participated in the event, now they come back every year.

– The library provides great outreach education. The facilities are always open and accessible to people at all times.

– When worked as library director and celebrated 80th birthday of library system, community participated in building world’s longest banana split. The children were so excited in building something and then eating it. The children thought of the library as a fun place.

– People are very passionate and love the library system. They are glad to help the library reach out to the community and envision what it could be. Libraries are important to democracy because it is the one place to go to in which you can be anyone and obtain information about anything, it provides access to everyone.

– Visits always end with a very good experience with library staff. Staff has never been seen sitting down on the job; they are always on the move working. Makes visits feel safe and that the staff is really there to help.

2. What challenges have occurred in Charlotte and how can the library help?

– Since there are people who have high library fines, the library needs to reinstate amnesty day. The library should ask people to make a donation of some sort, i.e. a canned good as a way of giving back to the community. The library should plan for amnesty day and vary the branch location it occurs at. Amnesty day should avoid occurring at the same time every year so people won’t take advantage of amnesty day.

– Students from all types of educational settings (public, private, home school) are no longer coming to the library to obtain information, they now use Google. If the library had tours of the facilities in which they were taught the basic of reference research or genealogy, they would learn how to find things in the library versus going straight to the internet.

– Students may be somewhat intimidated to go into the library to look up information. If library staff could show them how to get started, then they would rely on library resources more.

– It was enjoyed by patrons when branches have themed booked displays. Libraries should have weekly speakers and displays of books revolving around the speaker’s topic. At the end of the event, patrons can be referred to the display of books surrounding what was just talked about.

3. Do you feel safe in the library?

– Most libraries have cameras and off duty police on site, patrons feel safe in branches. The library is like any part of Charlotte, there are good and bad times.

– Children feel safe when they come to the library after school has let out.

– Patrons never feel unsafe at Main Library.

4. What kind of resource is the library for home schoolers?

– If it were not for the library, some could not afford to home school their children. Other home schooling families do not realize what a resource the library is for their teaching.

– The collection of books at the library for home school students is good. Books bought at the home schooling state convention are donated to the library once they (schools) are done using them.

– Most of the time, books with specific or similar information that is being researched can be found in the library. It is difficult to find things that meet the reading levels, attention span and information that a child may need. However, the library’s staff is wonderful in responding to the needs of the families.

– The library has helped create ideas to get children to learn to read. They (staff) always help with any questions families may have. Most of the home school kids know which librarian to go to in order to get their questions answered.

5. How do you like the Independence Regional facility?

– The children’s section should be in another location in the building, this way; the noise that is made during programs is not disruptive to the rest of the library.

– The computer room is close to the 2 round rooms and the children’s room, which echo into the computer room horribly.

– Independence Regional has outside grounds, staff should offer outside reading.

6. Scenario A: High-Tech Library

– This scenario would appeal to kids; it offers new releases, books on DVD, downloadable books, and movies and music. Research should be presented more in this scenario. The technology could be used to show people the basic applications of many types of technology and software that are available.

– The library is still thought of a quiet place, this scenario is highlighted with energy and instant gratification. The library should not be utilized as a social corner; the library should not be a hang out. Libraries should want to attract patrons, but not for the wrong reasons.

– Older adults would not feel comfortable in this technology-based atmosphere because there is so much technology.

– Kids who love technology would be happy in this scenario. Those who like to read may not feel welcome and may feel intimidated by so much technology.

– Background music should not be played, if this were the case, patron would leave the library. Having music playing while a person is there to work would be very distracting.

7. Scenario B: Book-based Library

– This scenario is what some patrons like in a library, nothing compares to holding a book.

– The scenario is more like a Barnes and Noble and Borders, the scenario is encouraging if one likes to read. The only difference is that you can’t talk, eat or drink as much in a library as you can in a book store.

– The idea of encouraging kids at a young age to read is great, it is the best time to reach kids.

8. Final Thoughts and Comments

– Some problems have occurred in the self checkout system that has made patrons more careful in how they are using the library. On occasion, books that have been turned in have still shown up on patron record as being checked out.

– The Check It Out reader is a good resource, it is read all the time. Unless patron is at the library to pick this up, it is never delivered to them. If the Check It Out was emailed to people, patrons would not have to go to branch to pick up when they need it. It should be publicized more because this reader shows how much the library has to offer.

– During early voting and tax season, the library should used this opportunity to tell people in the community what is going on in the library and try to recruit people to work at events.

– Area home schools, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts should be approached to complete service projects for the library.

– The magazine display at Independence Regional is wonderful. Children who are reluctant to read will read magazine and share information they read with their family, good way to have children reading. Some people don’t know that the shelves on the magazine racks lift up and there are more magazines.

– The library should share its success stories and let people know what can be done at the library.

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