Message to the community from Luren E. Dickinson:
Five years ago, Shaker Library began a strategic planning process to guide the library through 2011. That planning process resulted in the development of our vision statement: “Shaker Heights Public Library will be indispensable to every member of our community.” While our vision remains the same, it is now time to go back to the drawing board and to re-imagine, to reflect, and to record how we can continue to be “indispensable” in the future.
We must answer several questions, and we can only do that by learning how you—our customers—view and value us. To learn what our customers need and want, we will develop an online survey that will be available on every computer within the library. In addition, we will publicize a link to the survey in the October/November issue of Shaker Life magazine in order to reach every household in our service area. We will also seek volunteers to help our customers complete the survey. Please watch for it and complete it. We need and value your opinions!
Our primary question is “Where should we excel?” Where should we focus our energies that will make the greatest difference for you—our customers? While technology will always require our attention, we believe that excellent customer service is a paramount goal. To help us improve the way we deliver computerized access, as well as to learn better ways to make our customers feel welcome and comfortable, we will examine demographic studies and survey results to ascertain what services the target groups in our community need and value the most.
Another essential question is “How should we continue to improve what we do in order to create value for our customers?” News reports indicate that more and more people are online and have the capability of connecting to the library without ever entering our buildings. More than half of all new cell phones sold are smartphones, and one in eight Americans owns an e-book reading device such as the Kindle™ or Nook,™ or computer tablets like the iPad® or Xoom.™ Part of our efforts will be to reach out to these users through social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Shaker Library has been a pioneer in collaborating with other library groups and community organizations to leverage our funding. We were one of the first members to join CLEVNET, a library consortium that includes 31 member institutions spanning nine counties in northern Ohio. We have also been a leader in providing digital library material, through our CLEVNET subscription to Overdrive and through our Advantage account for Shaker Library cardholders only.
Ultimately, our residents offer our most reliable support. Thanks to our taxpayers and to the Friends of the Shaker Library, a volunteer organization that continues to provide key funding to supplement our tax-supported budget. This month, we will open an expanded Computer Center and Training Lab on the Main Library second floor made possible by a 2004 school-library bond issue. I invite you to check us out!
Luren E. Dickinson, Director
Photo credit: Caydie Heller