Pickerington Public Library to online launch survey April 5 to help set strategic plan

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Pickerington Public Library staff recently took part in a development day to prepare for the library's next strategic planning initiative. As part of the process, the library will launch an online survey April 5 that will seek input from the community about library programming and how people use the library.

Pickerington Public Library is seeking feedback as it looks to shape programming and projects for the next three to five years.

Beginning April 5, the PPL will solicit input from the community through an online survey to kick off strategic planning. 

The survey is at surveymonkey.com/r/XM6XGXT and can be found on the library’s website at pickeringtonlibrary.org.

“Staff at both (library) locations are ready to assist community members that either come in or call in and help them complete the survey," said Colleen Bauman, PPL community engagement manager.

According to PPL Director Tony Howard, the survey will seek to better understand community demographics and the types of programs and services patrons and potential patrons want from the library.

Additionally, it will ask patrons what types of materials they use from the library and how they get information, be it online, in person or in print.

“The library develops a strategic plan in order to provide a focus for services, classes and events and overall library operations,” Howard said. “Our strategic plan gives staff long-term goals to work toward, thus ensuring we are meeting the needs of the community and being good stewards of taxpayer funding.”

As part of the survey process, the library will hold community focus groups in late May to early June. Additionally, the Library Board of Trustees will have a focus group session during its retreat in May.

“The more responses we have, the closer our organizational goals will be aligned with the community’s wants and needs,” Howard said.

The library last conducted a strategic plan in March 2018.

Howard said regular strategic planning helps the library better model programming that patrons want as well as set timelines for capital projects and equipment purposes.

He said the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has led administrators and the board to seek an updated assessment of the library, its 22,034 cardholders and the overall community.

“We know that the pandemic has changed many habits among library users and non-users,” Howard said. “Our annual goals this year have us focused on three areas: retain, regain and recover.

“This year, we are looking at our business model in order to retain the customers who’ve continued to use the library during the pandemic. We are making adjustments to regain customers lost due to changing habits. Finally, we are looking for opportunities to help the community recover from the pandemic through partnerships and outreach.”

Survey and other feedback will be compiled and shared with the public as soon as this fall.

From there, the library trustees will be aided by the State Library of Ohio, who will  disseminate the data. A final plan is expected this fall, as well, Howard said.  

“The purpose of this process is to help create an unbiased plan that meets the needs of the community as a whole,” he said. “Once the new strategic plan is approved, the library’s executive leadership team will create a tactical plan to focus our short-term efforts.”

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate