Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mustang news | Opening a new chapter: Library staff looks to take close read on users’ needs

Opening a new chapter: Library staff looks to take close read on users’ needs
Longer hours and more books are top concerns for Mustang Public Library users who identified concerns on a survey questionnaire that is being circulated until the end of September.

Patrons also have have the chance to help Mustang’s Library Board shape the facility’s five-year plan, in a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Town Center or by completing the 15-question survey available at the library. Also, the survey was mailed out with 5,900 city utility bills.

Library Director Desiree Webber said she’s received 316 responses and hopes more are returned before the Sept. 30 deadline.

“We are a community library, so we want to know what people are thinking,” she said.

Bill Edwards, long range planning committee chair, said he doesn’t believe the library has ever tackled a process like this before and isn’t certain how many will turnout for the town hall session.

“We are hopeful we will have a roomful,” he said. “Maybe we can think about doing that (more town hall meetings) in the future too.”

After considering survey responses, Webber said the library board plans to hire a consultant — most likely a library director from a highly-rated facility in growing suburban community, slightly larger than Mustang, which has already considered many of the same decisions Mustang will face. The Friends of the Mustang Public Library will fund the visit using a $2,550 grant they were recently awarded from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

“What kind of recommendations do people who are serving similar-type populations outside a metropolitan area, a growing community — What have they done to meet those demands,” Webber said.

Then the library board will develop a five-year plan in time for city budget hearings in the spring.

The top concern listed so far by survey respondents is a need for increased weekend hours. With 334 responses, some patrons chose more than one option, 78 said the library needs more evening hours, 69 wanted longer hours on Saturdays and one asked for Sunday hours. Of respondents, 178 answered existing hours are adequate.

One respondent wrote more hours are needed to cater to the large number of professionals commuting to work in Oklahoma City each day.

Webber said to add hours the library would have to add staff...

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