CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Three years after taking a community survey to help the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library with its strategic planning its staff is once again asking for community input to help plan the future of the library.
Anyone who has spent time in a public library in the last 15 years is aware that they have become much more than simple lending libraries. They are places where people hold meetings, use the internet, enjoy programming for children and adults, listen to live music, watch movies, meet for coffee, borrow DVDs and CDs, and cool off in extremely hot weather.
In many cases trying to book a room for a meeting in the local library requires early planning and blind luck.
To keep up with a changing demand the Clifton Park and Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park took a community survey in 2016 to get a feel for what was desired, what was needed, and how it was doing. The questionnaire garnered 1,000 responses. This time the staff is hoping more people respond.
Assistant library director Jim Foster said that in the summer of 2016 the library hired a consultant, held focus groups, put out a community-wide survey and found that many people were unaware of the library’s breadth of programming and other offerings.
“What we found was people who come for the programs with their kids or grandchildren were unaware of our adult programming, our concerts, or our plays and the adults and seniors who come for adult programs were unaware of all the programs and activities for kids,” he said. “Seniors would come for an adult program and be totally unaware of programs we offered where they could bring their grandchildren.
"In many cases we looked at the surveys and said, ‘We’re doing that’.”
Foster said that earlier survey helped library staff realize that better communication with the public was needed. With the 2019 survey the library is again asking the public to give it insight on where it should go in the future but also looking to see how well it has answered those suggestions from 2016.
The survey is now available in the library and on its website as of Aug. 12. Those wishing to take part will have until Sept. 3 to respond. The surveys are anonymous but anyone willing to provide their name and contact information will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad Mini.
The 16-question survey seeks answers to questions like; what barriers are preventing you from using the facility more often, the most pressing challenges or promising opportunities facing the community and how the library can play a part in addressing them, how the library can use its space more effectively, programs attended, activities desired, and suggestions for how additional space should be used were the library to make more available.
“We’re interested in space,” Foster said. “People are as interested in our space as in our books. Increasingly people are interested in not just the books and the movies and the materials but also in having meetings, meeting with tutors, meeting with business associates, homeowner association meetings, Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings, all those types of things. People come her as much for the space as for the material.”
Foster added that the discussion going on within the library and its Board of Trustees is more about what can be done better with space allotment than expansion.
“We’re interested in what people say about how we can best take advantage of the space we have,” he said. “We’re asking if we had more space what kinds of things would you like to see in the library.”
According to Foster, the Board of Trustees has an ad hoc committee on space planning in place. Once the survey’s responses have been reviewed by the committee, the library administration and the full board, a space planning consultant will be hired to give the board input to help with strategic planning.
The survey can be found online at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library’s homepage a quarter of the way down the page. The library’s website is: https://cphlibrary.org. The library is at 475 Moe Road in Clifton Park and open seven days a week.
It can be reached by phone at (518) 371-8622