District residents will soon have a better idea of the current and future needs for their libraries. The DC Public Library has begun developing a Facilities Master Plan that will guide the planning, design and maintenance of the Library’s spaces over the next decade.
The Library Facilities Master Plan will help the Library’s leadership, elected officials and the public understand the current condition of the District’s library buildings and plan for long-term facility needs.
“While demand for library services in the District is growing, it is also changing,” said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, the executive director of the DC Public Library. “Beyond ensuring that our buildings are in excellent repair for generations to come, this plan will ensure that this Library continues to reflect the evolving needs of the residents in our unique neighborhoods.”
As a key component of the Library’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, “Know Your Neighborhood,” the Facilities Master Plan will provide information about the performance of existing buildings; offer recommendations for improving services in these locations; and determine if there are opportunities to provide new library services that are beyond the current footprint.
Over the last 10 years, the District has spent or allocated more than a half-billion dollars on library construction. The result has been that 19 of the District’s 26 library buildings are new or fully renovated. Today, District residents make nearly four million visits a year to their libraries for a variety of reasons that include programs, services, meetings, performances, technology and books. The Facilities Master Plan will ensure that all of the District’s libraries remain relevant and keep pace with needs of District residents.
Community Input Critical to Plan Development
District residents will be able to contribute to the development of the Facilities Master Plan through focus groups, surveys and community meetings. Also, the information that is collected will be made available for residents and stakeholders to use in their work to help the Library improve its services.
“Community input, which has been an integral component of the success of the new and rebuilt libraries across the city, will be critical as we create this facilities master plan,” said Reyes-Gavilan. “While data about how people use their Library is helpful, data alone doesn’t fully capture the impact or the importance of some of the work that libraries do. Ultimately, we are creating this plan to serve our customers, so it’s crucial that their voices are included.”
Focus groups will be held in the first two weeks of December. These small group interviews will help the Library learn about people’s attitudes, feelings, beliefs and experiences using the Library. The Library will conduct focus groups with Library customers, D.C. residents who currently face barriers to library access and customers who do not speak English as a first language. Feedback from the focus groups will help inform surveys that will be issued in early 2019 to gain more in-depth insight into what residents want from their Library.
The Library will host community meetings in March to help develop the Library Facilities Master Plan and again to share the final report with the public in Summer 2019.
Residents that are interested in being considered for a focus group should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates on the Facilities Master Plan will be posted online, in the Library’s monthly Beyond Words Newsletter and in the District’s neighborhood libraries.
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