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Pendleton Public Library cracks open multi-year plan

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on October 19, 2017 7:09PM

Adan Gomez, 12, and Weylin Walton, 8, play video games on computers at the Pendleton Public Library on Thursday in Pendleton.

Staff photo by E.J. Harris

Adan Gomez, 12, and Weylin Walton, 8, play video games on computers at the Pendleton Public Library on Thursday in Pendleton.

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The Pendleton Public Library has more to offer than books.

That’s the message conveyed by Library Director Mary Finney and the library’s 2017-2020 strategic plan, which was recently completed.

“We have so much to offer,” she said Thursday.

Among the plan’s goals is to increase adult programming, boost library card holders and increase participation in library surveys to assess what the public wants.

According to the plan, the library will aim to schedule six author visits per year, collaborate with community partners to bring in 2-4 issue-based programs per year and work with the Pendleton School District and Blue Mountain Community College to assign extra credit for attending these events. Additionally, the library would like to bring in more health care, work skills and parenting education programs to the library.

The goal is that these increased programming options will culminate in a 10 percent increase in the number of adult programs participants per year.

With its plethora of informational resources and lack of bias, Finney said the library is the ideal venue for these types of events.

“It’s a neutral place,” she said. “That’s one of our strengths.”

The problem is that many of these happenings are poorly attended.

To get a better idea of what the public wants, the plan calls for the library to create a new survey asking patrons questions about adult and teen programming and increase participation in the library’s annual survey by 10 percent.

“I know what I want to go to, but that’s not necessarily what my neighbor wants,” Finney said.

The library also wants to better utilize its social media accounts and website.

Already maintaining a Facebook and Twitter account, the library is one of several city departments that its own social media accounts, along with the police department, fire department, parks and recreation and the airport. The library wants to increase its social media contacts and website visits by 10 percent each year.

Along with a social media plan, the library intends to start a “selfie with my library card” contest each year to help stoke library card membership by 5 percent each year.

Finney said library card membership is important because when people get library cards, they can also be informed of all the services the library has to offer. Library card membership has been flat in recent years, with the library required to purge cards that haven’t been used in three years.

Other library card membership ideas include sign-up drives during community events like school registration and the Pendleton Farmers Market and an incentive program for things like free coffee or copies.

Besides books and other media, Finney said library cards offers other services, like access to information databases.

At a Tuesday council meeting, Pendleton Library Board chairwoman Rachelle Johnson said circulation has dropped from 112,263 books and media rentals per year in 2016 to 109,424 in 2017.

Johnson attributed the drop to a decrease in the purchase of new books and media by the library, with Finney adding that circulation decreases are being seen at libraries all across the region.

In the Thursday interview, Finney said the library intends to rectify that issue by making more purchases in the coming year.

Although the strategic plan only addresses adult programming, Finney stressed that didn’t mean the library was ignoring its children’s programs.

Finney said the children’s programming was in good shape and the strategic plan measures would be in addition to the library’s current youth offerings.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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