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Library part of state pilot program

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

The Lincoln County Public Library has been selected to participate in a Community Needs Assessment pilot project by the State Library of North Carolina, one of only eight libraries chosen as lead participants in the statewide initiative.

As a result, input is being sought from area residents through both a survey and a series of forums, the first of which takes place Tuesday.

Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS), the project has the goal of assisting libraries in aligning their services and programs with the needs and wants of the community.

“We are especially excited about this opportunity since the Lincoln County Public Library is now an independent county library system,” Library Director Jennifer Sackett said in a press release announcing the project. “As we establish our vision and goals for the future, we want to know what the community’s priorities are and how the library can help address those issues and needs.”

The initiative’s first phase focuses on needs assessment and is scheduled to be completed by December. Sackett, along with a steering committee chosen from the community and a state-provided consultant, Bill Millett, will work to evaluate the library and collect relevant data through conducting interviews, focus groups, community forums and surveys.

A final written report summarizing the needs assessment will be provided by Millett at the conclusion of this phase.

A second phase, to be completed by June 2013, will involve reviewing the collected data, identifying strengths and weaknesses and developing a strategic plan. Further work will be geared toward establishing measurable goals and objectives that support the library’s mission and vision for the future.

The library must submit annually a long-range strategic plan in order to qualify for State Aid to Public Libraries and grants, with the assessment process designed to better enable it to focus on the community’s needs and values.

“We encourage members of the community to share their thoughts and ideas by participating in our “It’s YOUR Library!” public forums and community survey,” Sackett said. “We want the residents of Lincoln County to help us plan the future of the library to ensure that their needs are met.”

The public forums are scheduled for Tuesday at the Howards Creek Community Center on Howards Creek School Road in Lincolnton, Nov. 1 at the Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton and Nov. 8 at the East Lincoln Community Center on Optimist Club Road in Denver, all from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

To participate in the community survey, pick up a copy at any branch of the Lincoln County Public Library or go online to www.mylincolnlibrary.org.

For more information on the project, call (704) 735-8044.

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