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Library wants your thoughts about future plans

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The Pierce County Library System wants your thoughts about what you want from your libraries. Comments can be given through a short online survey, or at any of the meetings in the works.

“We can’t predict the future, but we can be ready for whatever it brings,” said Georgia Lomax, the library’s executive director. “We want to know what matters to people­–what they enjoy, what complicates their lives, what’s important to them and how the library can be part of their world. Then we can match our services with their reality.”

Pierce County Library is creating a roadmap to guide the system through the years ahead, with a strategic plan under development for release this summer. But the first big step in that process is to simply ask customers what they want from their public libraries.

A five-minute online survey focuses on residents’ lives–their challenges and joys–and their communities as a way to being out-of-the-box with potential new programs or procedures.

“We didn’t want to lead with the standard ‘what do you want from your library’ question,” explained Lomax. “We want our residents to challenge our thinking. What do they need? What will make their lives better? There might be something very un-library-like that would make perfect sense for today’s modern library to do, along with tried and true library standards like good books and helpful staff.”

The library system is currently working from a strategic plan first drafted in 2005, and technology and demands have likely changed in just the last few years. Each branch has an annual review of its programs and services, but this latest effort will look at the whole system as well as each branch individually.

Some branches, for example, are located in diverse communities that may require more multi-lingual programs, while others serve mostly older customers who might want basic computer skills classes, and yet other communities might serve customers who commute to work. That would lead to the idea that stocking shelves with audio books might be in order.

“We are always going to be a library,” Lomax said. “We are always going to be about books and learning.”

But the way and variety of those learning opportunities might differ between branches.

For more hands on discourse, libraries are hosting open houses to listen to customers and potential customers. The local meeting is set for 5 to 7 p.m. on March 1, at the University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W.

The University Place branch has 31,417 regular customers who tally 50,635 checkedout items. The branch is 15,000 square feet and opened in 2011.

The system as a whole tallied 6.7 million checkouts last year, with more than a million items on its shelves and 480,951 downloadable materials. The system has 313,949 cardholders, 455 public computers and an operating annual budget of $29.7 million. The nationally acclaimed Pierce County Library System serves more than 575,000 people throughout the county with 20 branches and online services. The system is the fourth largest in the state and is funded primarily through property taxes.

The open houses will run through the spring and then be analyzed through the summer, so any new programs or changes could be presented in the fall as the district prepares for the 2017 budget.

Survey options

Take the survey at future.pcls.us.

· March 1, 5-7 p.m., University Place Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W., Suite 100, 98466 • (253) 548-3307

· March 5, 1-3 p.m., Gig Harbor Pierce County Library, 4424 Point Fosdick Drive N.W. 98335 • (253) 548-3305

· March 5, 1-3 p.m., Tillicum Pierce County Library, 14916 Washington Ave. S.W., Lakewood 98498 • (253) 548-3314

· March 7, 4-6 p.m., Buckley Pierce County Library, 123 S. River Ave. 98321 • 253-548-3310 or (360) 829-0300

· March 7, 5-7 p.m., Fife Pierce County Library, 6622 20th St. E. 98424 • (253) 548-3323

· March 8, 4-6 p.m., DuPont Pierce County Library, 1540 Wilmington Drive 98327 • (253) 548-3326

· March 8, 5-7 p.m., Graham Pierce County Library, 9202 224th St. E. 98338 • (253) 548-3322

· March 9, 3-5 p.m., Sumner Pierce County Library, 1116 Fryar Ave. 98390 • (253) 548-3306

· March 12, 1-3 p.m., Eatonville Pierce County Library, 205 Center St. W. 98328 • (253) 548-3311 or 360-832-6011

· March 14, 6-8 p.m., Administrative Center and Library, 3005 112th St. E., Tacoma 98446-2215 • (253) 548-3300

· March 15, 4-6 p.m., Parkland/Spanaway Pierce County Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma 98444 • (253) 548-3304

· March 19, 1-3 p.m., Milton/Edgewood Pierce County Library, 900 Meridian E., Suite 29, Milton 98354 • (253) 548-3325

· March 19, 1-3 p.m., South Hill Pierce County Library, 15420 Meridian E. 98375 • (253) 548-3303

· March 21, 5-7 p.m., Key Center Pierce County Library, 8905 KPN, Lakebay 98349 • (253) 548-3309

· March 21, 4-6 p.m., Orting Pierce County Library, 202 Washington Ave. S. 98360 • (253) 548-3312

· March 21, 4-6 p.m., Steilacoom Pierce County Library, 2950 Steilacoom Blvd. 98388 • (253) -548-3313

· March 23, noon-2 p.m., Anderson Island Pierce County Library, Anderson Island Community Club, 11319 Yoman Road 98303 • (253) 548-3536

· March 28, 4-6 p.m., Bonney Lake Pierce County Library, 18501 90th St. E. 98391 • (253) 548-3308

More information about the Pierce County Library System is available at piercecountylibrary.org.

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