The Library Links the Community -- People, Programs, Books, Materials, Information, Ideas, Ideals.
The vision for the Library is to be both a place and a service that helps make a strong and desirable community.
The City of Mountain View Public Library is the information center for our diverse community providing a dynamic place to share resources and ideas, to find joy in reading and to experience the power of lifelong learning.
The mission statement leads to the Library's service responses.
There are four "service responses" that the Library is uniquely suited to providing to meet expressed community needs:
- A Community Destination-The Library provides a physical place, opportunities for group experiences and connections to the local community.
- A Collection of Popular and Enduring Materials-The Library provides books and other materials for customers to borrow and use.
- General Information on Many Subjects and Interests --The Library provides materials, staff and resources to help customers find and use information to meet their information needs.
- Lifelong Learning/Learning Support-The Library provides opportunities, resources and services to help people with formal education and self-directed personal growth.
Woven into these service responses are common themes reflecting both community and staff values and underscoring how the Library will work towards accomplishing its priorities and strategies.
- Cultural appreciation
- Technology as a tool
- Age appropriate activities
- Outreach to underserved populations
- Service Excellence -- We provide excellent services to our community.
- Respect for Diversity -- We celebrate diversity in our collections and services and treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
- Learning Environment -- We are an open environment for learning, communication, self-improvement, exploration and enrichment.
- Values are the foundation which shapes the vision, mission and service responses of the Library
In the spring of 2002, the City of Mountain View Public Library began the strategic planning process. A committee of 15 community members and stakeholders was selected and included representatives from the Library Board of Trustees, the Friends of the Mountain View Library, the Mountain View Library Foundation and Library staff. The charge to the Strategic Planning Committee (Planning Committee) was to develop a vision for the Library and determine what Library services would best meet community needs for the next three to five years.
The Planning for Results guide from the Public Library Association was used as a model for the planning process. After identification of the Library's vision and mission, this model suggests focusing on what the Library is uniquely positioned to do in the community and identifying what the Library's "service responses" are going to be to meet community needs.
To assess community needs and help determine service priorities, a variety of survey methods were used to collect data. Surveys were administered by an attendant within the Library and outside at the Centennial Celebration Ice Cream Social event where the survey was also available in Spanish. A targeted youth survey was given to students at the local middle and high schools. Newspaper and web-based surveys were also available for community input. In total, almost 800 responses were received to the various surveys. Two focus groups were held in the Library, which provided an opportunity for more in-depth discussion about Library services.
The responses from all of the surveys and focus groups were strikingly similar and indicate that the Mountain View Public Library has a valued and well-loved place in the fabric of the community. Current efforts and services were validated as being useful and desirable. Most respondents wanted more of what the Library is already offering. The following key findings were consistent in all of the responses:
- The Library is viewed as a place to visit by the residents of Mountain View and surrounding communities because of the spacious, beautiful building; park views; and services offered, including unique technology resources such as data ports for laptop computers.
- Most people want services at the Library, rather than services delivered to them. There was little interest in delivery services, although those who already use the Bookmobile service are very pleased with the collection and staff.
- More than 50 percent of the respondents, many of whom visit the Library, also accessed the Library's web page to search the Library catalog and access their own account.
- The most frequent request for new services was for more Library-oriented activities and programs for adults, such as book discussion groups, reading clubs and author programs. Respondents also wanted classes or training on how to use Library resources and the Internet.
- The most frequent request for improved/enhanced service was to have more of all types of materials, including books, magazines, DVDs, videos and other media.
- The Library is viewed as an important resource for youth and education services in the community. Increasing capacity in the youth services programs was identified as very important because demand currently outpaces the available resources.
- Ties to the formal educational structure are also important. The Library is considered a "reading place," not only for children but also for adults through literacy programs and tutoring opportunities. Teens indicated a desire for a place to do homework with the resources they need.
- The Library is perceived as an information place for the residents to find out about their community and what is happening. Information referral, the History Center and community information postings are examples of community-related information services people want the Library to offer.
Some survey findings did not match internal data or expected responses. For example, providing materials in other languages was not as high a priority as might have been expected based on the demographics and requests received in the Library for such materials. It is assumed that this was due in part to the survey being available in English and only once in Spanish. To more accurately assess the need for materials in other languages, the Library will have to conduct a more detailed and focused survey out in the community.
An important component of the Strategic Plan is the evaluation and follow-up process. An annual report by the Library Services Director, ongoing review by the Library Board of Trustees, evaluation during the budget process and a future review by members of the Planning Committee are the evaluation methods and tools that will be used to measure progress and refine the Strategic Plan.
This Strategic Plan will be the blueprint or road map for Library programs and services for the next three to five years. By clarifying the Library's service responses to community needs, the Library can better focus its resources-even in lean budget years.
Building on existing strengths, this Strategic Plan for the City of Mountain View Public Library is an important milestone towards identifying priorities and beginning the work of providing the most appropriate and very best service possible to the community.