Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Question of the Day: Why does the Library offer programs and classes?

The full questions: Why does the Library offer programs and classes? If the Library stops offering programs, wouldn’t that pay for a new building?

The Library’s Strategic Plan Vision states:

“The Plainfield Public Library District provides excellent library services to satisfy the educational, informational, entertainment and inspirational needs of community residents throughout their lives. The Library is a community center, where residents connect with resources, with each other and with their community identity. The Library leverages technology and human capital to give residents access to services and resources not only at the Library's physical location but also throughout the community in partnership with other organizations and via virtual services. The Library is a vibrant and visible presence in the community, making residents aware of 21st century library services and our Library's unique character.”

Library programs and classes fill the community’s need for informal education opportunities. As public libraries evolve, the traditional educational and informational roles are increasingly incorporating entertainment and inspiration. Just like the Library’s collection reflects a wide variety of information and interests, the programs and classes offered by the Library reflect the diverse community we serve. Most programs are directly in response to requests from the community, such as travel, gardening and cooking.

Annually, the Library spends about 2% of its budget on programming, $65,659 last year. Cutting all programs and classes (everything from storytime to computer classes) would not cover the annual payment on a 20 year loan to address the repairs and system replacements identified as necessary to keep the current building functional for the next 20 years by the 2012 Building Evaluation. And that report only addresses the building and its systems – nothing cosmetic like carpet replacement or address and space issues.

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