Woodstock Library charts priorities for next three years

Jessica Kerr (photo by Dion Ogust)

The need for more youth outreach and people-friendly space were some ideas shared by focus groups for the Woodstock Public Library’s three-year plan of service. At a workshop held December 15 at the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center, patrons offered suggestions for library services and facilities as board members and staff facilitated.

The plan of service is a guide for the library in serving the community for the next three years. It was created based on surveys and community input gathered from 2011 through 2017. The plan of service is separate from the master facilities plan, which was recently updated and focuses on infrastructure.

Though past plans of service spanned five years, trustees decided to move to three years because of changes in technology and other ways the library serves its patrons.

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“To me libraries are incubators of creativity, of dreams,” said Jessica Kerr, Library Director.

The former plan of service was also based on construction of an annex across Library Lane at the former Library Laundromat, so it needed a rewrite. “The plan of service is the argument for the budget,” Kerr said. “There’s goals and objectives.”

Kerr will consider the focus group input and finalize the draft plan, which will then be considered by the board of trustees.

Goals include providing for more public discourse and more comfortable seating so patrons feel that they can come and get work done. The library also aspires to “engage children to develop an interest in reading, learning and making.”

Also a big focus will be on better utilization of the front lawn. “We have definitely learned through this process that people love it and so do I,” Kerr said.

Whatever is done with an expansion, renovation or new construction, Kerr agreed communication on the different square-footage options.

“The greater the expansion, the more room for collections and programs,” Kerr said. For example, the library does not have an enclosed children’s space or any collaborative space. “Modern libraries have spaces where people work together,” she said.

Plugs, teens, seniors, laptops

Focus groups suggested items such as more outlets to plug in laptops and getting teens more engaged by partnering them with seniors to provide computer help.

Some suggested setting up an endowment to supplement taxes and the contributions from the Friends of the Library, something the board is considering but there needs to be work around regulations because it is a public district.

Another focus group suggested the library, in its expansion or renovation, should partner with the town and be a model for zero carbon footprint.

Community space and rooms to conduct small meetings were issues that came up in all the focus groups. Many also noted in this modern economy, many people work remotely, but the town is lacking a place where people can come and set up a teleconference. Such facilities might attract more patrons.

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