Okanagan Regional Library seeks feedback during Library Month

October is Canadian Library Month, and the Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) is honouring this annual celebration by asking the public what they would like to see in their local library services. Throughout the month, the ORL will be conducting telephone and web-based surveys, focus groups, and Facebook discussion groups as the first step in developing a strategic plan to guide the library region’s service in the coming years. The ORL’s last comprehensive strategic plan was completed in 2003.

“Changes are so fast now that we need to check with library users and taxpayers to find out if we are keeping up with their changing needs and wants,” says ORL Executive Director Lesley Dieno.

She said in a statement that the strategic planning process, which covers the entire ORL region from Golden to the US border including 29 branches, involves a thorough audit of the library’s usage, a research review of best practices in other libraries, and staff input. During October, the ORL will gather public input through a variety of means.

A thousand households throughout the region will be randomly sampled and asked to participate in a 10-minute telephone survey, and six focus groups bringing together people of various demographics will be held in communities served by the ORL. Additionally, all members of the public are able to provide feedback through an online survey and Facebook discussion groups that will go live October 5.

“All of this information will help guide us – what types of programs should we enhance and which aren’t valued, where do we focus budget and energy?” Dieno asked.

This year’s Canadian Library Month theme is Your Library: Your World: Opening Doors to the Future, emphasizing the ways that libraries are entry points to knowledge and new ideas using both traditional and emerging technologies. There are approximately 23,000 librarians and library clerks working in over 22,000 various libraries throughout Canada, and two-thirds of Canadians have a public library card.

In the ORL region, Canadian Library Month will also be celebrated with a tour by children’s author Margriet Ruurs starting October 12, ORL speakers at Okanagan Institute events in Kelowna and Vernon, author Caroline Woodward speaking at Vernon and Salmon Arm branches, and many other events; check www.orl.bc.ca for details.