A Library for Community Futures

Author

Abigail Becker

Metrics

Our goal for this report is to assist the Brown County Library in strategic planning. The original questions posed by Brown County Library director Sarah Sugden were: • What measurement and assessment tools accurately measure outreach services?
• What role does library programming (virtual and in-person) play in supporting
community learning? Will this change?
• What are effective strategies to assess and address local needs and priorities?
• How can a county library system support its community creators?
• How can the library partner with local municipal governments and regional
organizations?
• What are the ways the library can use technology to connect communities in a third
virtual space?

Much of our report addresses the realities and challenges of creating a welcoming environment for patrons and answering the above questions considering the health and safety restrictions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While our report was conducted during the fall 2020 semester, which of course influenced our findings, the virtual programming and creation of a third virtual space is a worthwhile pursuit even without the presence of a pandemic.

Our report suggests that the Brown County Library lean on the idea of “library as space,” physical or virtual, to create a community learning environment. Partnerships with local municipalities, organizations, and community groups will be vital; we suggest methods of partnering. We also examined peer and rival organizations for how they have created the types of programming and spaces that the Brown County Library desiresB, and have made recommendations accordingly.

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