Faced with unprecedented growth in the demand for services combined with budget cuts and continually evolving changes in technology, Charleston County Public Library is working on a project to determine how it can best serve area residents in the future.
The Library, with the help of a private consulting firm that specializes in library planning, is working on a five-year Strategic Plan that includes a detailed look at current operations and solicits input through community meetings, interviews and telephone surveys to get input from library users and non-users.
Six community meetings are scheduled for the week of May 9-12, and it is key that
both library users and non-users speak up because their input will shape the Library’s future, said Board of Trustees Chairman Janet Segal.
“CCPL is at a crossroads, and we are facing big decisions about the Library’s buildings, programming, services and future funding.
To make sure the Library fulfills the community’s wants and needs, we need to hear from you,” Segal said. “Let’s face it, budgets are tight. Smart planning is a must
if we’re going to make any improvements.”
In addition to the six community meetings, the Strategic Planning process includes a random telephone survey by Opinionology, also scheduled for the week of May 9, plus residents can visit the Library’s website to submit comments online or email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dates and times for CCPL community meetings
Monday, May 9 6:30 p.m. – Dorchester Road Regional
6:30 p.m. – Mt. Pleasant Regional
Tuesday, May 10 6:30 p.m. – Otranto Road Regional
Wednesday, May 11 6:30 p.m. – St. Andrews Regional
Thursday, May 12 6:30 p.m. – Main Library
6:30 p.m. – John's Island Regional
The Library’s Board of Trustees hired Providence Associates Library Planners, a firm that has worked with libraries since 1979, to help with the massive Strategic Planning process. After gathering both internal operational details and community feedback, Providence will provide an independent assessment of the Library by applying “best practices” and looking at trends in library service and technology to develop the five-year Strategic Plan.
The need for a Strategic Plan came after a series of informal community meetings held by CCPL’s Executive Director Douglas Henderson last fall, shortly after joining the Library in August. He met with area residents, asking them what they thought about the library and what they’d like to see improved. The input from those meetings, along with the desire to define and improve library services in the future, prompted the board’s decision to pursue a Strategic Plan that would identify specific changes needed and the best way to achieve those changes.
Segal said residents at those meetings expressed support for the library and talked about wanting more space, more branches and more services. It’s vital that those comments become part of this Strategic Plan.
By hiring an outside consultant, the Board is able to bring in nationally recognized leaders in public library service to provide a fresh, independent look at the Library and help develop a plan for the future.