Fort Collins: July 8, 2013 - The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) announced Poudre River Public Library District as one of its 2013 Top Innovators during the ULC Annual Forum, June 27-28, in Chicago. A panel of expert judges selected the Library's entry on its leadership in response to the 2012 High Park Fire from more than 140 applications in the fourth annual ULC Innovations Initiative.
ULC's Innovations Initiative highlights members' programs, services and operating practices that demonstrate their ability to keep pace with change and expand opportunity for people of all ages. Poudre River Public Library District's Libraries as First Responders won in the new category honoring libraries for leadership in helping their communities respond to crisis.
The Poudre River Public Library District worked hand-in-hand with first responder agencies during the High Park Fire by providing up-to-date and reliable information throughout the crisis and establishing a presence at the evacuation center including a laptop lab and story times, books and programs for children of displaced families.
"The Library District is honored to be recognized for its services in response to the High Park Fire. Without delay, library employees and volunteers stepped up to assist our community in a time of crisis," commented Holly Carroll, Executive Director, who received the award for the Library District at a breakfast ceremony on June 28.
In announcing the 2013 Top Innovators, ULC President and CEO Susan Benton said these libraries and every library that submitted programs for the Innovations Awards this year demonstrate the amazing work that takes place in libraries every day. Other libraries receiving the prestigious Top Innovator award include Howard County Library system (MD), Los Angeles Public Library (CA), Nashville Public Library (TN), Calgary Public Library (AB), Saint Paul Public Library (MN), Pima County Public Library (AZ), New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries (NY), San Francisco Public Library (CA) Sacramento Public Library (CA), Johnson County Library (KS) and Queens Library (NY).
As a membership organization made up of America's premier public library systems and the organizations that serve them, the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) has spent more than 40 years enriching urban communities by strengthening their public libraries. While ULC members primarily represent urban and suburban libraries, lessons from their work are widely used by all libraries. ULC serves as a forum for thought leaders sharing best and next practices resulting from targeted research, education, and emerging trends. Its programs are recognized for creating new frameworks that invigorate public libraries and their communities.
"Become a community leader in sound environmental practices" is one of the Library District's strategic initiatives set forth in the 2012-2014 Strategic Plan. In the past 18 months, great strides have been taken to achieve this strategy beginning with the formation of a Green Team. This team, composed of members from all three libraries and the Webster House Admin. Center, has been particularly active the past several months in furthering staff awareness of how each and every one of us can contribute to a sustainable future.
In April and May the Green Team introduced the Staff Recycling Learning Challenge. Over half of the staff participated in learning more about recycling of materials and what can and cannot be reused. The Green Team was vigilant in finding new ways to recycle materials that previously had be thrown away such as CDs, DVDs and their plastic cases. With the assistance of the City of Fort Collins' ClimateWise program, we are now recycling soft plastics such as shrink wrap, bubble wrap and sandwich bags.
The Drive-less Challenge is now in full gear. Employees are encouraged to walk, bicycle, ride a bus or car pool to work this summer. Last year 36 library staff members logged over 3,500 alternative transportation miles and 525 trips. Of course our goal this summer is to increase participation and log even more miles.
The Green Team gathered this spring to plant a raised bed vegetable garden at Webster House. Ten employees have volunteered many hours to prepare the site, plant and weed.
The Library District has been a proud member of the City of Fort Collins ClimateWise program since 2009, achieving gold status the past three years. Our goal for 2013 is to become a platinum partner. The Library has also partnered with the City in co-sponsoring the Mindful Movies Series and provided parking space at the Harmony Library for the electric car showcase last fall.
The Library District thanks the many library cardholders who took time to complete the recent customer survey. The survey was emailed during the time frame of October 29 - November 12, 2012 to 71,196 library users who have registered their email addresses with the Library. The survey was also posted on the Library District's website. The District received 10,233 responses which represents a 14.3% return rate and is very good percentage for a survey response.
This survey was conducted to refresh market analysis data that was gathered in 2010 to help the Library District plan meaningful services for our customers. Since 2010 there have been many changes in the publishing world, expansion of library services and many physical changes to our library facilities. We want to know if such changes have made a positive difference in how you use the libraries. We also want to know if there are any changes we can make that would increase the value of the library.
Library staff and trustees are thrilled to learn that the survey respondents are very satisfied with current services and the recent changes that have been made including hours of operation, seating availability, staff availability, helpfulness and friendliness of staff, print, AV and electronic collections, safety of buildings and general building appearance. The public appreciates our mobile friendly website, being able to: 1) access materials and information from home, 2) to remotely place holds and/or renew items in our catalog, and 3) download electronic content.
You also shared with us actions we could take that would encourage greater use of the library: Google-like search functions for the website and catalog, increased availability of best sellers, wider selection of eBooks, eAudio books, DVDs and books on CD; larger selection of electronic research resources and more convenient ways to download items to a personal devices.
Finally the Library District learned more about the various customer groups or "clusters" that use our libraries in similar ways. The 2010 data identified 12 different clusters. The current survey identified an additional group that we call the Digitarians or remote users. This segment of library card-holders values our virtual services, represents 8.3% of library use and is growing. Another segment that more than doubled in size is the Grinders, the students and professionals that come to the library primarily to work or study. The recent addition of seating and study rooms at the Harmony and Old Town Libraries has helped us better accommodate the needs of these library visitors.
The Library District received the survey results in early December. Staff and trustees will review the data in planning for 2013 and to update our strategic plan. More information about what we have learned from you will appear in future newsletters. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Poudre River Public Library District with us so that we can continue to provide the residents of our district with the best service possible.
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