Every four years, the Bradford Public Library develops a new strategic plan that focuses on its goals and mission for the community.
The current plan ends at the end of December, and the work is underway in helping to create the next plan for the 2020-2024 term.
“The Strategic Plan guides our decision making for the library,” explained Community Engagement Coordinator, Larissa Marks. “From programs to book purchases, it really lets us know what direction we need to take.”
To assist the library in figuring out the wants and needs of the town, they rely heavily on the feedback they receive from various demographics and groups in the community.
Currently there is a teen advisory board of 30 students, who provide insight as to what specific programs adolescents would like to see, in particular ones that can help aide them with resume building for when applying to post secondary schools.
“They are getting ready to apply for universities and colleges and they are looking at so many diverse programs...and they need things for their portfolios and resumes to get job experiences,” explained Marks.
One of the programs that came from the teen feedback group was the Vertical Aeroponic Garden Project, which “is super cool, and all about how to grow your own food, it’s a lot of engineering, programming and electrical work.”
In addition to the teen advisory group, the library consults with the Friends of the Library, a group of volunteers who help fundraise for various programs at the library, as well as the board members to determine what types of programs and events to host and which reading materials to purchase.
The 2016-2020 Strategic Plan had initiatives including strengthening the library's presence and connectedness, enhancing the library's collections to include diverse materials in various languages, and building the technology infrastrucutre.
"I think that the strategic directions last time really were a reflection of what the community wanted," said Marks.
The library is now seeking feedback from the community on their ideas for what the library needs over the next four years, and are hosting two community focus groups for members of the public to come and share their visions for the future of the library.
“We are hoping community members will come because this is all for our community and we want our plan to be a reflection of what they would like for this space,” said Marks. “It’s really about asking people what they want.”
From art shows to computer programming classes, the library is a versatile space used by many in the community.
"We want this library to fill as many needs as possible, my hope is that people will come with big ideas and big dreams, because we have the ability to make amazing things happen here," said Marks about the focus groups.
The two upcoming Community Focus Groups are taking place at the BWG Library on Wednesday Oct. 9 and Wednesday Oct. 16. from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Anyone with ideas or feedback for the library is welcome to attend and share their thoughts. If you are unable to attend but would like to provide feedback, please send an email to Larissa Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org.