What Is Working Well In the Gloucester County Library System

Strategic Planning
Our Library, Our Future
Session 1
November 13, 2012
What Is Working Well In the Gloucester County Library System

On November 13, 2012, fifteen Gloucester County residents met for the purpose of strategic planning. The purpose of this planning is to seek contributions to efforts of the Gloucester County Library System to engage community members in future thinking improvement needs for the Library System.  The November – meeting is the first of three community engagement sessions.

During this session, What is Working Well in the Gloucester County Library System, Participants worked in small groups.  Their first task was to think individually about this topic and to record their thought.  Following this, participants shared their individual thinking, and following discussion, they reached consensus on 3 to 5 points of agreement on what is working well.  These consensus points were then presented by the small groups to the full group of meeting participants.  Members of the large group then discussed, compared and contrasted the results of thinking across the small groups.

Following is the meeting summary of the work of meeting groups.  The first section for each small group includes consensus points.  The second section for each group represents a summary of individual thinking.

Consensus Contributions

Friendly staff
County-wide reciprocal borrowing (+ statewide)
Services:  databases, children’s programs, computer classes, LVA etc.
Community interactions
Third space

Individual Responses
Children’s Programming
Clean, safe environment
Meeting rooms
LVA tutors
Lots of computers
Sitting areas for public
Public book sales
Friendly staff
Good opening/closing hours
Availability of newspapers and magazines
Teen room
Quiet study access
Good online databases
New/latest DVD’s and books
Ability to get the latest books and DVD’; if not available in county system can look for them through NJ catalog.
The helpfulness of library personnel
Proud of library staff they try to bring the most useful new technologies to the library
Collaborative efforts with other libraries in Gloucester County
I like the universe catalog and reciprocal borrowing
Many staffers are willing to experiment with new programs, new materials etc.
Exhibits at Mullica Hill often give a glimpse of the personalities and taste of county residents
Friendly staff
Computer classes
Librarian – by – appointment
Varied collection
Weekend hours
Chat reference
Shared borrowing across county
Databases available from home
Notary service
Adult summer reading club
Facebook page

Consensus Contributions

Great approachable staff
Programs for all ages –
    Pre-school literacy
    PAWS for reading
    Cultural programs
Computer availability – (not at Glassboro)
Good summer reading programs

Individual Responses
Friendliness of staff and willingness to include patrons in activities and try new activities as requested by patrons
Everything can be “looked up – reserved – renewed- searched – etc. online
Ability to request materials from so many libraries and have it delivered.
Up to date on collection
The library is open to so many activities – there is always something going on for all ages.
Great staff
Preschool/family literacy programs
Help for job seekers
Reference librarians
Welcoming environment
Public computers/computer training
Business resources
Support for life-long learning
EBooks and content
Programs for teens
School partnerships
I am most proud of the attention paid to the children’s learning dimension of my library.
The books, the computers and the special programs devoted to early childhood development and learning.
The computer availability is great.  There is not a long wait now to use a station. 
Loans from other libraries come in a timely manner.
There are programs for all ages (and pets too!)
Computer workshops are helpful but too short a time to “get” all the information.
Gloucester County has great stuff that is helpful.
Teens have a place to go at main library.

Consensus Contributions

The hub of the community
Great staff – friendly and educated
Business Resources
Online tools
Lifelong learning opportunities

Individual Responses
Free for the most part – some such video rental does cost but very low cost
Friendly and educated staff
On-line resources
Business Tools
Onsite research available through staff
Centralized locations
Available technology for those who may not have access at home
Promoting early literacy with children’s programs
Resources and relationship with the business community
Resources for job hunters
Materials to supplement individual learning
Materials for recreational reading
Programs for learning and enjoyment
Place for meeting
There is a great community room that benefits so many local groups who wouldn’t otherwise have a home.
The staff is friendly.
There is a lot of creative energy – the displays change often and are always interesting.
The library is upon the latest technology and offers patrons many different formats for books, movies and music.
It is a great place for families! Whenever I come there are parents with their kids are engaged.

Consensus Contributions

Inclusive services for all ages
Warm and nice environment
Maintains relevant and current trends in terms of new technologies for information delivery
Very community focused programs, meetings, agendas and philosophy
Forward – thinking library management

Individual Responses
Branches are staying open
Efforts to improve library spaces is underway
Resources are growing and are available online
The main branch is clean and bright – very inviting
Staff demonstrates a commitment to excellence and customer service
The library system is looking forward as evidenced by this strategic planning effort
GCPS participates with other systems in the state to maximize value while saving tax payer funds
Computer lab with reservation system
Staff (very nice)
Video rental
Community focused, but it need to be global with combine TED elements
(TED = technology, entertainment and design)
Online catalog, placing holds
EBooks, audiobooks
Children, tween or adult programs
Availability of CD’s – movies, also educational PBS, music
Development of teen and children spaces/areas within the library
Services for handicapped (audio, large print)
Mp3 downloads
Book clubs (adult and tweens)
Musical concerts
Internet access for patrons
Meeting rooms for community groups and organizations

Next Meeting
Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 6:30PM
Gloucester County Library, Harrison Township
Topic:  Future Thinking the Gloucester County Library System

“If we were here together three years from now, what would have needed to happen for you to feel happy about the improvements made in the Gloucester County Library System.  What roadblocks might you have experienced?  What strengths does the Library System have that have enabled success.”