Residents Can Voice Their Wishes For Local Library Through Survey

By Elsie Walker

Where can one find a Lego Club for kids, a Tai Chi program for those with arthritis, a writer’s group, a display of a local artist’s work, plus stories to whisk away a reader and provide that break from the daily grind?
That and more is available at the Washington Township Public Library in Long Valley and virtually through its website at https://wtpl.org.
For those who wished that the library had even more such as extended hours, certain programs, etc., now is the time to let voices be heard. The library is starting to look at a new three year strategic plan and it wants the public to share in the process. How can people do that? They can complete the library survey; its link is found on library’s homepage, under News and Announcements. The survey only takes a few minutes and lets the participant share in what he’d/she’d like to see in the areas of offerings, hours opened, and more. In addition, people can email the library if they’d like to be included in one of the focus groups giving input to the plan.
“The current mission of the library is ‘to meet the cultural, educational, recreational and informational needs, in all its many formats,’” said Jacqueline Zuzzi, Director of the library. “The library is a place for people to come for free resources, both for enjoyment and educational purposes.  It is also the physical center of town, and acts as a community center.  The library is a place for people to gather and socialize.”
Zuzzi shared that the figures from the 2016 annual report showed that patron visits were at about 70,000 and Virtual Visits, which are external website visits, were 110,475.
The reason for the new strategic plan is that the old one had expired. Also, plans need to be visited periodically to make sure they are in line with needs.
“As times change, so do libraries, creating a strategic plan provides a focus for the library for the next several years, hence providing the Board and staff with a series of goals to set and achieve,” said Zuzzi.
While the plan will not involve changes to the physical building, Zuzzi explained that the plan will address all areas of the library, including such things as materials, programming, hours, staffing, technology, outreach, and marketing. The plan will be funded by the library.
When asked about the timeframe for the beginning of the plan, Zuzzi said, “We are holding a series of focus groups throughout the month of September and into October. The complete plan should be completed and voted on by the Board of Trustees in November.”
Zuzzi noted that the focus groups are made up of Washington Township residents broken down by age, as that was the breakdown chosen by the Strategic Planning Committee. It is looking for responses from different age demographics as each is probably interested in different things. Invitations were sent out to Washington Township residents, and the 55+ focus group has already met, but if a resident is interested and would like to sign-up to be on one of the remaining focus groups, they can contact Zuzzi at info@wtpl.org.  
The groups and meeting dates are as follows:
Strategic Plan Focus Group 25-55, Sept. 19, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Strategic Plan Focus Group 15-25, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Strategic Plan Focus Group Parents of School Aged Children, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Strategic Plan Focus Group Non Users, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.-8 p.m.
Strategic Plan Focus Group -School Aged 8-14 on Oct. 5, 4 p.m. 5 p.m.
As for the online survey, the library had received 600 responses as of the beginning of September and the survey will up on the home page of the library’s website until the end of the month.
Want to see certain resources, services, or times available at the Washington Township Public Library? Now is the chance to have opinions heard by sharing in its survey and/or a focus group.

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