APL 2011-15 Strategic Plan, Part 2 - Our Past


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Looking back at the previous 5 year plan

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APL 2011-15 Strategic Plan, Part 2 - Our Past

  1. 1. On March 23, 2006, the Arlington Public Library Advisory Board adopted a 5-yearstrategic plan, the first for the Library. The plan was based on documented needs of thecommunity, ongoing citizen input of desired services, and diligent work of Library staff.Its foundation was a legacy of library service going back to 1922.The Strategic Plan Committee choose six service areas that would be the focus forLibrary staff, Advisory Board, Foundation, and Friends for five years. For each of these,specific goals (where do we want to go), objectives (how do we measure progress), andactivities (what will we do and when will we do it) were developed.On the following pages you will find summary reports from each of the six focus areas,detailing their successes, challenges and performance measures. 15
  2. 2. General Information Materials per Capita 1.67 1.69 1.67 GOALS: 1.64 1. Become a community resource of choice for information on a wide range 1.47 of topics related to work, school, social, civic, and personal life.FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 2. Build a collection of Library Card Registrations information resources in 159,434 multiple formats and in multiple languages that 148,620 effectively covers the broad array of interests and 134,075 information needs of our128,679 127,130 community.FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 3. Provide quick, courteous and accurate responses to a wide range of information Database Searches requests, in person, over105,851 103,607 the phone, and through the Internet. 91,004 85,602 73,713FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 16
  3. 3. A library that offers General Information helps meet the need for information and answers to questions on a broad array of topics related to work, school and personal life. Opening the Southwest Branch Library in 2008 ensured thatOUR SUCCESSES: most residents now live within two miles of a library building. Because the greatest predictor of library usage is proximity toThe goals of the General Information focus area were a library, the opening of this building was the final step in thedirected at getting the message out into our community plan envisioned in 1993 to bring convenient library service toabout the wide range of resources and services provided by all Arlington residents.the library. Progress was made during the period of the planas library card registration, after hovering at around 30% ofthe population for the last decade finally began to climb OUR CHALLENGES:upward to an toward the objective of 50% of the population. The per capita spending for collection materials in 2010 wasWhile library card registration certainly does not portray the $2.25, which, as illustrated in the later section discussingentire story about the community’s perception of library resource allocation benchmarks, is strikingly lower than theresources and services, usage indicators such as circulation of expenditures of other similar libraries, both locally andmaterials and facillity and website visitors continue an even nationally. In analysis of library statistics, library circulationmore marked upward climb, serving to confirm inroads made (i.e. library usage) is clearly correlated with a higher numberin “market penetration.” of materials per capita and higher collection expenditures perTwo library card campaigns—the GOCard campaign for K-6 capita. In order to remedy this situation, library staffstudents and the MYCard campaign for teens in grades 7-12 continues to focus time on developing grant and gift fundinghave assisted greatly in building card registrations and sources for collection development.encouraging entire families to use the library together. In Marketing continues to be a challenge in a community whereaddition to the card campaigns, staff assigned to collection many citizens may not be familiar with the concept of a freedevelopment projects have spent time analyzing community public library, or where citizens do not have convenientneeds and borrowing patterns and have directed the access to a library building. Educating citizens on what the$1,250,000 in bond fund available from the 2003 bond library offers them will continue to be an area for explorationprogram toward purchases that expand the depth and and improvement.breadth of the collection. 17
  4. 4. Basic Literacy ESL Contact Hours GOALS: 6,088 1. Provide materials and programming that will build pre-literacy skills 1,961 in children and assure their readiness for 0 0 101 beginning elementaryFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 school. Homework Center Sessions 2. Support families and educators in their work 1,961 1,761 to build a strong foundation in basic literacy skills for 619 494 366 children in the early elementary grades.FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 3. Provide educational opportunities and Early Literacy Materials Borrowed resources for residents 435,781 424,866 of all ages learning to read and speak English 368,662 as a second language. 338,882331,341FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 18
  5. 5. A library that offers Basic Literacy service addresses the need to read and to perform other essential daily tasks.Our Successes: In addition to providing literacy services to our residents, theThe creation and extraordinary success of Arlington Reads is a program has also assisted faith-based groups with startingmost profound highlight of the Library 2006-2010 Strategic their own literacy programming and providing support andPlan, exceeding our expectations and continuing to grow resources to existing literacy programs within Arlington. Theeach year. Hundreds of students have been reached, other Arlington Reads program is supported by an Americorpsliteracy and ESL providers in the community have a new VISTA program grant from the Corporation for National andsource of support, training and resources to help them and Community Services. This program provides full time VISTAnewly trained volunteer tutors are impacting lives every day. members who commit to serve full-time for a year at aStudents are achieving citizenship, earning a GED, nonprofit organization or government agency, working tosuccessfully getting jobs, connecting the world in new ways fight problems such as illiteracy, improve health services,and improving their self-esteem and ability to master basic create businesses, strengthen community groups and muchlife skills. more. In addition to this strong support, the Arlington Reads program also works closely with the Arlington IndependantCurrently, the Arlington Reads literacy program consists of a School District, United Way of Tarrant County, United Way -number of initiatives, including: 1) The Learning Zone Arlington, the Tarrant County Literacy Coalition and the Northtutoring program for grades 1-3, held at both the East Texas Future Fund. These partners have providedArlington and Southeast Branches; 2) Early literacy collaborative programming, training, as well as funding for joint initiatives. Our Challenges: One of the largest challenges we face with our literacy programming is in meeting the vast need we have to fill in the community. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy Survey, one in five adults in Tarrant County cannot read well enough to succeed at a 4th grade level. However, less than 10,000 adults are currently enrolled in literacy programs in Tarrant County and those programs that do existprogramming, including Wee Reads and Le Seras; 3) Life often have a waiting list. Like many literacy programs, theThrough Literacy: a partnership with an infant mortality non- service capacity of the Arlington Reads program is dependentprofit and the Arlington Independent School District Parent on the number of volunteer tutors able to provide assistanceEducation Program (PEP); 4) English as a Second Language and on grants and donations raised by the Arlington Public(ESL)and Basic Adult Education programs – both one on one Library Foundation.tutoring and small group; 5) Conversation Circles programsfor adults to practice their language skills; 6) GED instruction:an online program supplemented by small group tutoring; 7)Citizenship instruction; 8) Youth enrichment programs suchas the Fittnesista’s health literacy programming for tween-age girls, youth summer science camps, writing enrichmentprograms, etc. 9) Workplace literacy programs held atworksites such as Arlington Memorial Hospital 19
  6. 6. Lifelong Learning Adult Program Attendance GOALS: 11,701 1. Provide increased 9,247 8,488 opportunities to 4,933 5,888 Arlington citizens of all ages that foster interest in acquiring newFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 knowledge and skills. 2. Support educational Juvenile and Student Library Card Registrations institutions and families 54,097 with materials and 49,743 programming that will 42,920 ensure that Arlington’s39,347 37,959 children and teens will become life-long learners.FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 Educational Resources and Databases Used (in sessions) 12,031 5,783 3,342 1,458 940FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 20
  7. 7. A library that provides Lifelong Learning service helps address the desire for self-directed personal growth and development opportunities.OUR SUCCESSES: In addition to providing learning opportunities for children and teens, a greater focus has been placedOne of the greatest changes that has taken place in on making sure that learning does not end withlibrary resources over the last decade has been the formal school enrollment. Program offerings haveaddition of online learning tools that library expanded to ensure that adults of all ages have thecustomers can utilize from the comfort of their own ability to continue to learn new skills and interests.homes. These services are not only convenient, but An activity of note has been the addition ofalso interactive. Services added during this time numerous book clubs in all library locationsperiod include: Live Homework Help: an online tutoring service for students in grades K-college. Learning Express: test preparation and practice service, including SAT, ACT, TAKS, GRE, and professional certification tests. Language Learning help: the vendor providing this service has varied over the years from Rosetta Stone to Tell Me More and finally to Mango Languages, but the service has always offered a variety of languages (including ESL) for OUR CHALLENGES: users to choose from. This area has been an area of many successes asAs mentioned under the General Information explained above. Our greatest challenges to thissection, the GOcard and MYCard campaigns, focus area has been in prioritizing initiatives tofocusing on students in grades K-12 have helped to ensure greatest impact. Marketing the high qualitysupport the formal learning offered by our local learning opportunities offered for adults has roomschool districts and ensure that the lifelong learning for improvement and selecting cost-effectiveprocess is started off right. In addition, increased methods to reach the most users is an area forfocus on collections for students has resulted in a further development.43% increase in the circulation of materials to ouryoungest learners. 21
  8. 8. Culture and the Arts The Studio Attendance GOALS: 1. Offer a collection of 6,294 materials and a 5,046 selection of 3,429 programming that Opened in 2008 reflect and celebrate the 0 0 cultural diversity of the FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 residents of Arlington. International Language Collection Borrowed 2. Provide the 71,949 environment and 65,867 facilitate opportunities 59,322 for engagement in arts and cultural activities. 51,56846,646 3. Foster a greaterFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 appreciation and understanding of the Cultural Program Attendance arts in Arlington’s 3,582 3,509 children and teenagers. 839 828 526FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 22
  9. 9. A library that offers Cultural Awareness service helps satisfy the desire of residentsto gain an understanding of their own cultural heritage and the cultural heritage of others.OUR SUCCESSES: The addition of The Studio: teen arts underground, has been a notable success within this focus area and has allowed teenagers throughout the community the ability to pair their knowledge of technology with their artistic, musical, and Hispanic Heritage Month and Chinese New Yearwriting talent. This initiative continues to expand programs at all library locations.and develop and usage of The Studio resources andprogramming has grown at a steady rate since its OUR CHALLENGES:opening at the Central Library in 2008. In assessing the gains made in this focus area, oneThroughout the last five years, the library has of the conclusions drawn has been that the numbercollaborated with numerous community of other organizations contributing to the arts in theorganizations such as TCC, UTA, AISD, F6 Gallery community lessens our need to allocate resourcesand the Boys and Girls Club to display artwork in all toward developing arts initiatives. Instead,library locations, but most notably at the Central increased efforts will be made to partner with artsLibrary and the Southeast Branch. Display of organizations to ensure that they gain a higherstudent artwork especially has brought new visitors profile in the community and to give children andto the library, as well as adding to the enjoyment of teenagers the ability explore fully their talents incurrent library users. these areas.In order to promote cultural understanding andlearning, numerous cultural celebrations have beenfurther developed during the last five years andothers implemented for the first time. Notablecelebrations include the Central Library’s MedievalFair, the East Arlington Branch CourtyardCelebration and El dio de las Niños programming atboth East Arlington and Southeast Branches, Shareyour Passion programming at the Woodland WestBranch, as well as various Black History month and 23
  10. 10. Current Topics and Titles GOALS: Materials Borrowed 2,239,268 1. Provide rewarding 2,125,974 recreational experiences 1,865,0021,616,515 1,678,902 by supplying easy access to popular material dealing with current issues and popularFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 culture in appropriate languages, formats and Visitors quantities. 1,597,549 1,612,189 1,463,788 2. Modernize facilities, furnishings, and 1,320,647 technology to ensure1,175,375 that our libraries provide welcoming andFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 positive experiences for browsing, reading, or studying or meeting. Summer Reading Club Participants 4,842 3. Foster a lifelong love of 4,121 reading for pleasure in 3,837 Arlington’s children and 3,574 3,329 young adults by providing opportunities for families toFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 participate in recreational reading activities together. 24
  11. 11. A library that provides Current Topics and Titles helps to fulfill community residents’ appetite for information about popular cultural and social trends and their desire for satisfying recreational experiences.OUR SUCCESSES: order to produce a stronger collection in eachSuccesses in the Current Titles & Topics focus area language. The proportion of fiction to nonfictionwere numerous and served to bring new users into and children’s to adult materials has also beenthe library as well as increasing the satisfaction and adjusted according to usage. . Because not allenthusiasm of current users. Circulation of fiction library users can “read” in the same way, libraryfor children, teens and adults has increased by staff obtained grant funding to hold a “Low Vision46.8% over the five-year period and attention to Fair” to ensure that all citizens, despite theirdeveloping designated “bookstore-like” spaces for physical challenges are able to access and enjoynew popular materials in all library locations has library services.contributed to these gains. Library staff continue to find cost-efficient methodsOne of the initiatives begun during this period was of improving the physical space of our librarythe addition of digital material to the library’s facilities and work closely with the Arlington Publiccollection. Downloadable audiobooks were a Library Foundation to obtain funding to that end.natural extension to the Library’s offering of books During the strategic plan period, the Northeaston tape and books on CD and have offered a greater Branch Library received a “facelift” with newconvenience to users. Additional digital offerings carpeting, paint and furniture and planning isinclude online book clubs and blogs that offer underway to obtain a similar effect at the Lakereaders a place to talk about books and get reviews Arlington Branch.and recommendations.The “One Book, One Arlington” annual program OUR CHALLENGES:offered library users the opportunity to all read thesame book at the same time and to come together Balancing popular materials with more “serious”to discuss and share perspectives. This program lent learning support material will continue to be aits theme to the Library’s READ posters, featuring challenge given the Library’s limited budget forlocal “celebrities” with their favorite books. collection materials. Recognizing that all of us, especially children, become better readers when weLibrary collections have become more community- read material that we enjoy continues to lendfocused as we monitor suggestions and circulation support for developing strong popular collections ofpatterns at the different branch locations. Over the fiction for all ages.past five years, the number of languagesrepresented in the collection has been lessened in 25
  12. 12. Information Literacy Computer Class Attendance GOALS: 1,558 1,327 1,155 1. Develop the skills of 903 students (K-12) and senior 488 citizens to find and evaluate informationFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 necessary to make informed decisions and to Public Computers communicate successfully 188 184 in an electronic 174 161 environment. 129 2. Make certain that Library staff achieve competencyFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 in information literacy skills and stay up-to-date in this rapidly changing Computer Usage (# of sessions) environment. 378,435 371,566 366,052 3. Ensure that Arlington job 282,852 seekers and small222,244 business owners have the skills to locate electronicFY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 FY 2010 information necessary for their success and can interact efficiently and effectively in an electronic environment. 26
  13. 13. Providing Information Literacy services helps address the need for skills related to finding, evaluating, and using information effectively.OUR SUCCESSES: OUR CHALLENGES:Wifi is now available in all Library locations in Technology and information literacy classes, whileaddition to access to public computers during all popular in throughout the period of the plan, werehours the libraries are open. In 2010, internet limited in their scope, only reaching a smallaccess was expanded to include the computers in percentage of library users, compared to otherthe Childrens Learning Centers of all libraries. This services such as borrowing materials, children’saccess provides children with online resources for programming and general public computing use.homework, exploration, and creativity. When staffing reductions were necessary in 2008, a decision was made to discontinue information literacy and software productivity coursework offered in the training center at the Central Library in order to allocate staff to other functions. When Arlington Reads VISTA/Americorps staffing increased in 2010 and workplace literacy became a prime focus, this coursework was reintroduced at both the Central Library, as well as the new Family Learning Lab at the East Arlington Branch Library.Web 2.0 features (blogs, RSS feeds, Facebook and Limited measurement and assessment haveTwitter links, videos and surveys) were added to occurred regarding the usage of public computingpromote better patron communication options, as and the need for information literacy programmingwell as to give insight and advice on information for various citizen groups. Greater efforts in thissources and reading materials. Virtual reference area will be called for in the next five years.service through email and chat was implementedproviding real-time customized service whenphysical access to a library is not possible.A new Library website debuted in FY 2010,improving access and functionality to digitalinformation. Since 2006, total “virtual” use oflibrary resources (online catalog searches, webpagevisits, downloads, and use of databases) increased70% to 3.7 million in FY 2010. 27
  14. 14. Fiscal Responsibility While Fiscal Responsibility was not a designated focus area in the Library’s FY 2006 – FY 2010 Strategic Plan, each focus area did contain objectives and activities that underscored the need to develop the most cost-effective programs and processes possible to deliver library services. The introduction of RFID technology and self-checkout systems in 2006 began a trend toward self- service for many manual and repetitive tasks which once called for staff intervention such as checkout of materials, renewal of materials, logging of hold requests, library card registration and payment of fines and fees. This has allowed staff to spend more time with library customers in answering requests for information and developing and implementing programs and has greatly changed the configuration and organization of staff, leading to a newly structured organization in FY 2011 to carry out the Library’s next plan of service. Resource allocation is discussed in greater detail and from a comparative perspective in the thirdsection of this document, Library Resource Allocation and Usage Benchmarks. The majority of the Library’s operatingbudget is allocated from the City of Arlington’s General Fund; additional monies are received from the Friends of theArlington Public Library, the Arlington Public Library Foundation, the Texas State Library and Archives commission.Individual and corporate donations are received both through the Foundation, as well as directly to the Library.The issues arising from the results of FY2006–2010 plans, as well as from general econimic conditions suggest that areas forfurther development in the FY2011-2015 plan include: 1) enhanced regional cooperation in order to reduce cost of servicedelivery; 2) increased community partnerships, focusing on the development of volunteer efforts to assist with servicedelivery; 3) focused attention on developing alternate sources of revenue, including individual and corporate donationavenues, as well as increased attention toward recovering revenue from overdue patron accounts; 4) investigatingbudgetary avenues for collection development purchases, including the use of one-time funds for this purpose. Operating Budget Summary in Years Grant and Glift Funding $8 Millions $7 Collection $6 Development Bonds $5 Library Materials $4 Collection $3 $2 Maintenance & Supplies FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 Salaries & Benefits FY 2009 FY 2010 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010Salaries & Benefits $4,167,347 $4,692,860 $4,708,984 $4,869,949 $4,730,594Maintenance & Supplies $918,726 $1,222,944 $1,106,332 $1,242,897 $1,313,631Library Collection Materials $692,984 $787,781 $785,385 $835,385 $835,035Collection Development $250,000 $250,000 $250,000 $250,000BondsTotal Collection Funding $942,984 $1,037,781 $1,035,385 $1,085,385 $1,085,035Grant/Gift Funding $217,634 $249,327 $286,201 $359,360 $191,796Total $6,246,691 $7,202,912 $7,136,902 $7,557,591 $7,321,056 28