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Help Shape the Future of the Grayslake Library

The Grayslake Area Public Library is seeking residents to participate in a community focus group.

Are you a resident of the Grayslake Area Public Library District? Do you have ideas on how to make it even better?

Then join the library's community focus group and let your voice be heard!

The library, which is currently working on its 5-year plan, invites residents from high school age to senior citizens to help with the long-range planning process.

You don't have to be a library card holder, just reside within the library district.

For those interested in participating, there will be a two-hour orientation session at 7 p.m. Wednesday followed by a planning session led by a facilitator from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.

"This is a great opportunity for community members to share their ideas and have input into future programs and services of their home library," said Roberta Thomas, library director.

The focus group will review current social, demographic and economic trends and analyze the community’s and the library’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The group will then select and recommend to the library board a few strategic initiatives they believe should become the primary focus of the library’s activities for the next five years.

"Ideas generated by the focus group will help us decide how to change the services and collections we offer," said Thomas.

In 2008, the focus group recommended the library use its resources to help residents cope with the negative economic conditions. As a result, said Thomas, the library increased spending on popular materials such as bestselling DVDs and books. The library also increased its collection of job-hunting and career books, added eBooks and started circulating some eReaders so patrons could try them out and decide if they were worth spending their own money on.

In addition, said Thomas, the library gave patrons the opportunity to receive email notification of upcoming due dates and renew their items online to save them from owing fines.

"The focus group also recommended we find ways to make the facility as comfortable and welcoming as possible," said Thomas.

"To that end, we've lightened up on beverages in the library, rearranged shelving to make more room for AV, and reupholstered worn chairs. In addition, we filled in a skylight area, creating additional floor space in the preschool area and converted a public computer room into a quiet study room for adults"

Budget for improvements

So where does the money come from for library improvements like those recommended by previous focuc groups?

Funding for small projects come from the library's operating budget and surplus funds (about $40,000), from the construction of the building for the infill project, said Thomas.

"We’re just starting the process of replacing worn out carpeting. We don’t have money for large projects or any kind of additional space without holding a referendum or dipping into reserves we’ve set aside for long-term building maintenance needs like replacing all 14 rooftop heating and air conditioning units, the roof and portions of the parking lot. Our next strategic initiatives, whatever they end up being, will need to fit within our existing building and budget."

Library stats fiscal year ending June 30, 2012:

Grayslake Library population (based on 2010 Census): 28,172

Grayslake Library Resident Cards: 21,751

Circulation: 599,970

Items Owned

Books: 179,221

Videos: 15,774

Audios: 17,378

eBooks, eAudiobooks and eVideos: 19,836

Programs

Offered: 937

Attendance: 20,988

Staff

Full-time: 13

Part-time: 50

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