Auburn Public Library

The Auburn Public Library Board is looking forward, launching their new strategic plan for the 2021-2024 fiscal years at its regular meeting on Feb. 18. According to Chris Warren,  director of the Auburn Public Library, the new plan, which details recommendations for collections, programs, services, staffing and budgeting, is just the first step in a four- to five-year development process that the library is hoping to execute. 

“Over the next five years, we will implement improvements that will make our facility more welcoming, more accessible and more convenient,” Warren said. “We’ll also offer programs, collections and services that are responsive to our community’s diverse needs.”

Data collected from extensive community feedback served as a priority in the development of the plan, followed by a partnership with the Ivy Group, a consulting firm based out of Charlottesville, Virginia. 

“Working alongside the Ivy Group team, we hosted a series of town halls, interviews (with) community leaders and hosted an online comment card,” Warren said. “We also utilized a telephone survey to hear from Auburn residents, as well as a benchmarking study to see how the Auburn Public Library performs relative to similar libraries in similar communities.

“Most of all, we want residents to know that we built this plan on extensive community feedback. We started the process by asking what’s most important to Auburn residents — what are their needs, priorities and aspirations — and then shifting into how the library can have a role in supporting these rather than starting the conversation by asking people what they want to see from their library.”

According to Warren, this places the Auburn Public Library in a better position as a vital community resource, one that is truly responsive to its residents and their needs.

The strategic plan, which differs from plans debuted by other Auburn departments, does not feature any phases or a specific timeline. Warren said this is to give the Auburn Public Library flexibility in its implementation. 

“The plan itself doesn’t provide phases or a timeline, which actually allows us some flexibility in how we implement it,” he said. “Over the time frame of the plan, the Auburn Public Library Board and the library staff will work together to establish which projects and initiatives to prioritize in any given year.”

Residents can expect to see recommendations executed directly from feedback that the board received during its planning period. 

“One of the key recommendations that came out of the strategic planning process is a space study, which would allow us to assess that current state of the library facility and how we can renovate or adapt that space to more effectively meet our residents’ needs,” Warren said. “Over the next few months, we are working with a separate consultant team on this project.

“For our part, we want to understand how we can make our library facility as welcoming, accessible and convenient as possible, so that we can take all those considerations into account as we plan for a renovation.”

While the plan is limited to a four-year time frame, the Auburn Public Library is taking steps now to allow quick execution once the 2021 fiscal year arrives. 

Warren hopes that the new plan will not only attract new uses to the library facilities but also show Auburn Public Library’s interest in the Auburn community.

“I hope that we’re able to attract new users, people who may not be aware of everything that the library has to offer,” Warren said. 

“I truly believe that we have something for everyone, and our strategic plan will help us deliver more of what Auburn residents expect from their library.”

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