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Director: Help White Plains Library Craft New Strategic Plan

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The White Plains Library needs your help to determine its future direction, library Director Brian Kenney said.

In January, the library began work on a new strategic plan and has conducted focus groups with various segments of the City of White Plains totaling more than 100 people. They include adults, parents of children from pre-K through eighth grade and teens.

"For a public library to be successful you really have to align yourself with the community's needs," Kenney said. "And that's what the strategic planning process is all about, is finding out what your community's needs and expectations are so that the library can, in turn, align its resources to help the community meet those needs."

The library last created a strategic plan seven years ago and it had typically been done every seven years. Kenney believes this new plan, when it is complete, will have a shelf-life of about three-to-four years.

"The world's just moving too rapidly these days to say, 'Ok, this is what's going to happen in seven years,'" Kenney said. "How do we possibly know what's going to happen in consumer technology in the next two years?"

Libraries are changing in many ways, including their demographics, funding and, perhaps most significantly, technology.

"When you look at libraries, which are essentially informational institutions, and you have so much content becoming digital and the rise of e-books over the last few years, it really requires us to engage in this type of process to understand how we can accommodate users today," Kinney said.

A few of the ideas already collected include expanded hours, introducing a café into the library, finding more ways to serve the underserved population who may not usually use the library, provide continuing education for adults, resources for creating original media.

A popular comment, Kenney said, has been: "We really needed to communicate on the exterior what's going on in the interior. I'd love to have a big banner running down in front of it that just spells the word library."

Now, the library is turning to you for feedback on the following questions:

  • What is the library doing well?
  • What is the library doing poorly?
  • What aren’t we doing, that we should be doing?

Email your responses, as long or short as you want, to Kinney .

"I think we'll probably be spending fewer of our resources sitting there waiting for people to come in and ask us questions, and be more engaged in creating opportunity to meet people's needs, like classes and instructions," Kinney said.

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