The Mesa Public Library rang in the new year by inviting the public to learn about its new mission and vision while also offering a behind-the-scenes look its operations recently.
“Many library users were happy to share what they love about their branch and what they’d like Mesa Public Library to offer in the future. The library will collect all the feedback and use it to develop and expand programs and services,” said Heather Wolf, the Mesa Public Library Director.
There were three “Dreaming Starts Here” open houses at the main library and the Red Mountain and Dobson Ranch branches.
“Approximately 325 people had the opportunity to speak with Mesa Public Library staff and volunteers about the Library’s new Strategic Plan and contribute to a vision board for 2020,” Wolf said.
Wolf said the library’s vision will focus on the words “curiosity, learning, connection, inspiration, creativity and dreaming,” which were written on four-foot by six-foot vision boards on which individuals added their ideas to.
“We have those words on the board, and then we’re hoping people will offer examples of how they would like to see us implement programs or services related to those concepts,” she said.
The new library vision has been in development for quite some time, Wolf said, and came about through collaboration between 15 different focus groups with the library staff and board.
“We really talked about all the things we do at the library and want to do in the future to serve our community. Then we boiled all that down into our vision and our mission, our values, and developed some priorities for the next year,” Wolf said.
She added, “Our library board represented the public and focus groups, and they also completed some surveys for us as a result. And I know some of them did talk with their friends and neighbors and try to make sure they were representing not just their own views, but the people they knew.”
Wolf also said the library is focusing on encouraging innovation in the new year, citing its THINKspot – a “makerspace” where individuals can use technology and equipment, such as a 3D printer or embroidery machines, for no cost.
“We have a THINKspot at Red Mountain and about a year and a half ago, we opened a THINKspot here at the main library. And then as part of the voter-approved bond package, there will be hopefully construction starting on a THINKspot for Dobson next year,” Wolf said.
Another new program the library will be rolling out this year will be what Wolf called “The Best Loved Books Collection.”
“We’re also trying to concentrate on the collection, and really make sure we’re purchasing the materials the public wants. So, we did put forth a proposal and we got additional money this year to spend on children’s materials,” she explained.
“We have a selection of classic and very popular titles. And we’ve made sure we have multiple copies of those titles because children don’t want to put something on hold and wait for it to come in,” she added.
As the new programs continue to roll out at the Mesa Public Library, Wolf encouraged individuals to visit and check them out. She also encouraged the public to continue to share their input with the library staff.
“That will help us concentrate with staff resources and our dollars, what areas we’re going to focus on and really try to improve those areas to meet the needs of the community,” she said.