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Kingsport Public Library wants to hear from you

Matthew Lane • Aug 24, 2019 at 10:30 AM

KINGSPORT — If you’re not a regular visitor to the Kingsport Public Library, the staff there wants to know why.

That’s one of the reasons the library has launched a community survey on its website: www.kingsportlibrary.org. It’s to ask folks who come to the library and those who don’t about what services and programs they use and what they would like to see happen with the library.

The survey went live last week and will remain open until Sept. 25. If you’re not comfortable taking an online survey, there are paper copies available at the library.

“We want to know what the community wants and needs. Our mission is to serve the community, and if we’re unsure of what the community is really looking for, then we’re not meeting our mission,” said library Director Chris Markley. “We want to reach out to not just library users. It’s those who don’t visit. It’s really key we get information from them, why they aren’t visiting and what they’re looking for.”

ABOUT THE SURVEY

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and includes 15 questions, such as asking how often you visit the library, what services you use and why you don’t use the facility or its online services. You’re also asked about what improvements you would like to see, your age and number of kids in your household.

There’s also space for any additional comments you’d like to make about the library. Markley hopes to receive 300 to 500 responses to the survey.

The survey was developed by Library Strategies Consulting Group, an independent firm based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. All responses are directed to Library Strategies and are confidential. No survey responses will be connected to particular individuals in the aggregate reports provided to the Kingsport Public Library.

THE END RESULTS

Markley said the information from the survey will be compiled and crafted into a strategic plan and will be the focus of everything the library does moving forward. A strategic plan should be completed by December and will cover all aspects of the library, including its programming, services, policy and outreach.

Expanding and renovating the library is a project that dates back more than a decade. At that time, consultants recommended Kingsport have 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of library space to meet the needs of the community for the next 20 years.

A later plan called for an additional 16,000 square feet of space and the renovation of the existing 37,000-square-foot facility. However, the $12 million project never got a complete funding package and city officials decided a few years ago to take “small steps” in improving the library, which included completely renovating the children’s area and enclosing the colonnade.

Markley said the library is back in the city’s capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2023.

“Before we do any expansion, we want to make sure we’re expanding for the future. The world is changing so quickly. We want to make sure the building is set up to meet the needs now and for 20 years into the future,” Markley said.

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