The Allen County Public Library system is thinking ahead, and they want your help doing it.
The library system will hold a series of public forums over the next few weeks to gather public input on whether it offers the programs and services you want and whether there are any things it can do better, said Stephanny Smith, library community engagement manager.
Library leaders also want to know what you want your community to look like in the future, whether you live Fort Wayne or in one of the smaller communities in Allen County that has a library branch, Smith said.
The library will use the feedback to develop a strategic plan for the future and to ensure it provides the programming people want and need, she said.
People who can't attend one of the forums, or who don't want to, can offer input by filling out and returning a paper survey form available at library branches or by completing a survey online (go to www.acpl.lib.in.us/strategic-planning), Smith said. The library also can try to arrange for a translator to be present at a public forum, if needed.
The public forums will be led by staff from Kimberly Bolan & Associates of Indianapolis, a consulting firm the library has hired to help it develop its strategic plan, Smith said. The gatherings are informal and scheduled to last no more than 90 minutes, but whether they last that long depends on the number of people attending and how much they have to say in response to the consultants' open-ended questions.
"We understand time is valuable," Smith said, " ... but we believe this is an important process and a valuable process for us and the community."
The same consulting company also has done a space assessment of the library system to analyze whether space is used in the best way possible and to best meet the needs of library users, Smith said.
To allow people to speak more freely at the public input forums, library staff won't attend in their work role, she said. The library will hold input forums specifically for staff members, or they can attend a public forum in their role as a community resident.
The final public forums are scheduled for Sept. 7. Library leaders then hope to meet with staff in late September and early October to discuss the feedback and how to turn it into a strategic plan, Smith said.
Library leaders tentatively hope to have the plan ready for library board of trustees members to approve it at their Oct. 26 meeting, she said.
Upcoming public forums
The Allen County Public Library plans the following public forums to get your input on what programs and services it should offer in the future:
* 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, Pontiac Branch, 2215 S. Hanna St.
* 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 22, Grabill Branch, 13521 State St. in Grabill
* 1:30-3 p.m. Aug. 23, Room C, Main Library, 900 Library Plaza
* 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 23, Monroeville Branch, 115 Main St. in Monroeville
* 10:15-11:45 a.m. Aug. 24, Hessen Cassel Branch, 3030 E. Paulding Road
* 2:30-4 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 24, Room C, Main Library, 900 Library Plaza
* 10:15-11:45 a.m., 1:30-3 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 6, Room A, Main Library, 900 Library Plaza
* 10:15-11:45 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. Sept. 7, Room C, Main Library, 900 Library Plaza
* 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 7, Dupont Branch, 536 E. Dupont Road
ONLINE: You can fill out an input survey at www.acpl.info/strategicplanning.