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Greenwich Library Prepares For The Next Chapter

GREENWICH, Conn. – Lovers of the Greenwich Library will see improvements over the next five years as its new strategic plan aims to emphasize its collection, build relationships with community groups and stay up-to-date technologically.

Changes can already be seen with the addition of an e-newsletter and a self-pickup station for books on hold. The library's growing collection of e-books has yet to rival printed books, but the demand is growing.

“We know technology is going to change in the next three months. We wanted to be flexible — not that we are going to be on the cutting edge,” said Carol Mahoney, executive director of the Greenwich Library. “We’re making sure that we do it in a very mindful way, and that it’s the appropriate technology for us.”

The plan is the culmination of an 18-month-long process, which included a communitywide survey, focus groups, a trustee survey, a staff survey and retreat, as well as analysis and evaluation by the Strategic Plan Steering Committee. Staff and trustees worked with consultant Maureen Sullivan, now the president of the American Library Association, and Berk Associates, a Seattle-based consulting firm.

The Strategic Plan identifies five areas of focus: collections, technology, lifelong learning and enrichment, service and community space, and community and connections. Initiatives within each of these five areas outline short- and medium-term efforts to improve operations.

It was a relief to learn through the surveys that the collections are the library's most valuable asset, Mahoney said.

“Everything you read says libraries won’t last or the printed word won’t be around," she said. "Libraries have closed for a variety of reasons. We really want to take our collections and curate them, then provide easy access for the public through mobile apps and electronic newsletters to highlight them.”

In the coming years, she said the library plans to create and use partnerships with other community organizations, digitize local content and historic material, possibly set up a library kiosk in the community, increase social media and add new technology, as well as address space planning.

“It’s timely for us to look at all the spaces in the library and see who they interact with in the public,” said Mahoney. A Mac computer lab or a business center may be in the library’s future, she said.

The library mission statement was revised, and a value statement was added. “The idea of delivering superior library services — we wanted to emphasize those things," said Mahoney. "We thought they were statements we had to make to the community.”

The plan's cost will have minimal effect on the library’s combined public and private budget, according to Mahoney.

“Between the public and the private we try to be very good stewards of the funding we’ve received,” says Mahoney. “Putting this together was really to develop the roadmap for the town of Greenwich and for donors to understand that we do have a plan, so if you do want to make an investment, this is where we’re heading.”

To read the complete plan, visit the Greenwich Library website.

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