Report on the project to reinvent public libraries in the Wayne Library Alliance (Wayne, PA). This project was made possible by LSTA funds provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries.
Project Questions1. Being essential to our users2. Choices to kickstart change3. Impacts of competition4. Impacts of technology5. Advocacy and funding6. Staff competencies7. New roles and “traditional” roles
About the Wayne Library Alliance Before 1999 • 7 independent libraries competing for patrons, donors, attention • 5 of seven were not state-aided 2000-2011 • 7 members of a federated system sharing a catalog, county delivery, online resources, and political recognition
Why Wayne We are • Rural, estimated population 52,000 • Low-income, limited economy, transportation issues • Libraries are underfunded. • In townships, the local library is often the only thing. It may be small but it is valued. We are like many other rural counties in PA.
Why Now After state aid cuts in 2010, conversations were about the growing gaps we faced • Between funding and standards. • Between funding and demand for services. • Between boards that were functioning and those that were not. • Between the past and the future. Deal with stress fractures by letting go of what isn’t important and focusing on what is important according to the community itself, not boards or staff.
Project TimelineMay 2011! Jul 2011!Project Kickoff Focus Groups Interviews Library Visits MeetingAug 2011! Sep 2011! Nov 2011! Reinventing Scenario Planning for Review and Libraries Planning Transformation Implementation Workshop
Project Kickoff What and how? Project objectives, questions, approaches Who? Users, community partners, mix of board and library staff What else? Board member engagement More nonusers/leaders
Community Research Highlights Teens, “Stayers” andUsers Nonusers Hollowing Out the Middle• Home schoolers • Sportsmen and• Parents women Libraries, newcomers and• Seniors • Teens making connections• Teens Image, transparency and effective decisionsLeaders Internal Fail proof spaces and• Entrepreneurs • Friends• Health and • Trustees mentoring for entrepreneurs Social Services • Volunteers Local agriculture, business• Recreation• Schools and economy
The Central Question Local Communities A Model for Smarter Other Collaboration Libraries Sustainable Success A Clean Slate PA Forward
Key Factors Technological change Fast paced Increasingly mobile, functional and easy to use Moving digital divide eBooks and streaming media Mainstream publishing will be digital/streaming Direct to mobile distribution Aging population Growing need for assistance with change (e.g. eGov) Increasingly complex health management issues Increasingly complex personal finance issues Increased strain on community social services
Key Factors Rural economy Hollowing Out the Middle: stayers Disenfranchised groups Workforce development Entrepreneurship and innovation Connecter and convener Families and communities Social discourse, community challenges
Other Outcomes Public Relations Library Image Open Challenges• Media and modes: • Assessment, • Bye bye Dewey Where are they? accountability and • No no signs and• Measuring transparency policies effectiveness • Bias and • Online card• Change and controversial registration traditional users programming • Nature of the WLA collaboration
Three Day AgendaDay One Day Two Core values Community connections Timeless purpose Capacity Hedgehog concept PA Forward rankings
Three Day AgendaDay Three Delivery models Organizational structure Community factors and service priorities Stop list
Preliminary ResultsCore Values Hedgehog Concept Open access We build connections Community involvement People Consistent quality of Information service to all Community Empowering people Partners
Workbook for PA Libraries Documentation of this process, our successes and lessons learned Reading list Opinions: Key factors Optimal structure for library collaborations Implementation guidance Worksheets to use and adapt for your libraries
Doing it all over againLessons Learned Successes Reinventing Libraries Never enough time workshop Logistical support Recruitment for focus Face to face meetings groups Private Google site Community Readiness for change participation More coming!