Riverside Public Library

Riverside Public Library officials are looking for input from their patrons – and those who may not be patrons – as they launch a new long-range strategic planning effort to sharpen their focus for the next three to five years.

Perhaps the easiest way to provide that input is to take the online survey that will be conducted through March 31.

The library is looking to compile some demographic information about who is taking the survey along with basic info on the survey taker’s library habits, what reasons they use library services, which of those services they find valuable and what services the library might add.

In addition, the survey seeks to find out why people might avoid using the library or if there are any barriers to accessing services, such as technology. It also seeks to find out how or if those taking the survey get their news about the library and its programs and services.

The library posted the survey in mid-February on its website. People can also pick up a print copy of the survey at the library, 1 Burling Road, during business hours: Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

“We have sent postcards and used social media posts [to direct people to the survey], but would love more responses,” said Library Director Janice Foley.

To entice folks to complete the survey, the library is offering people the option of providing their contact info once they submit their answers for a chance to win a gift card to a local business. The survey answers remain anonymous, said Foley, because the contact info is collected on a page separate from the survey.

The library’s board of trustees last adopted a long-range strategic plan in 2019. And while some of the goals in that plan are likely to be similar to those moving forward – like emphasizing customer service, diversifying outreach, maintaining fiscal stability and staying on top of technological changes – the new strategic plan won’t focus as heavily on physical improvements to the library.

The 2019-22 strategic plan specifically called out focusing on the lower-level renovation that was completed in 2021-22. The new strategic plan no doubt will focus on leveraging those improvements to provide a wider range of services.