Models of Demonstrating Impact: Independence, IA (description)
Our library is far below average in facility and budget as compared to libraries in Iowa towns of similar size. The library is housed in what was once a beautiful building, and is now 109 years old. Over the years the facility has not been maintained which has led to the public only being allowed on one floor that is 2341 square feet in size. For a town of 6000, this is far from adequate.
I have been the public library director at Independence, Iowa for seven months. As I've started to learn about the community, it has become clear to me that one of my major responsibilities is to increase our visibility and credibility in the community. Without convincing the public of the worth of the library, we won't be able to improve a great deal. With public relations being such an important part of my job, I have done a lot of work with statistics and comparisons.
In a recent meeting with state representatives, city council members, the mayor, county supervisors, and other librarians from our county, I gave a two-page written fact sheet to the decision-makers. We also verbally discussed libraries and how they impact economic development with company and career resources, computer access, computer classes, self-improvement, and as a drawing point for people considering moving to the area.
In the report, I included evidence that our patronage and circulation was increasing while our budget has been reduced. I also included graphs showing how our library budget and square footage compares with others similar to us. I am hoping that the visuals and statistics would bring the point home to our local, county, and state representatives. The budget decisions are still in process and final decisions haven't been made, so I don't yet know how effective these fact sheets will prove to be.
The handout is available as a downloadable PDF at the following URL: http://webjunction.org/do/DisplayContent?id=881
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