Library Urged to Keep Current by Focus Groups
Focus groups involved with Crystal Lake's needs assessment study want more electronic materials and access to computers.
The Crystal Lake Public Library is looking at the results from volunteer groups to help plan the library's future.
Focus groups formed to advise the library have indicated patrons want a balanced collection of books and electronic materials in the library, more access to computers and more power sources for people to use their laptops and drive-up book drops located throughout the city.
The results of the four volunteer citizen groups — two general, one with parents and children, one with seniors and a community opinion group — were formed in April to help the library with its needs assessment findings project analyzing its collections, staffing, facility and technology.
The library board hired library consultant Anders Dahlgren to conduct the needs study. The company has worked with the library in 1992 and 2002 for its needs study.
On Sept. 20 the findings were presented to the public with about 65 people in attendance, including library officials and the library board.
“It was really great to have as many people participate in this whole process and tell us what we needed to do with the library,” said library board trustee Don Peters.
Other issues brought up by the focus groups included frustration people experience accessing the library from the parking lot to the building due to the stairs and more hours.
“People would like to see it more open year-round,” he said, which would include Sunday hours during the summer and extending Friday evening hours past the 5 p.m. closing time.
The meeting was not a place for decisions but for discussion of the consultant’s study, he said.
“It’s not whether the library will be in the years to come, but rather what the library will be,” the consultant’s report said.
The report indicated circulation of library materials and visits to the library had increased since 2001, but that it needed to avoid becoming “another Borders, another Blockbuster” by responding to the community’s needs and keeping current.
“The library board will review the findings and develop priorities based on the information in the report,” said Linda Price, library spokesperson.
Peters said long-range planning will begin in October, wherein priorities will be narrowed down.