The Appalachian Regional Library (ARL) has received a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Planning Grant to evaluate essential services and efficient operations. ARL serves a population of 149,000 in Ashe, Wilkes, and Watauga Counties. This project seeks to serve all the residents of the region – Library users and non-users; property owners and renters; people of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic classes. All residents benefit from having a public library in their community, whether directly as customers, or indirectly through the economic development, educational infrastructure, and cultural enhancement that the library brings to the area. All three counties are facing varying degrees of financial constraints for the foreseeable future, as is the State of North Carolina, and consequently as is the ARL. Our libraries, like all public libraries, are also dealing with rapid technological and demographic change.
In order to provide the most appropriate services with our limited resources, ARL will conduct a two-phase planning process to accomplish three things: 1) Improve our understanding of our communities’ needs, interests, and priorities (which may have changed since we last formulated a five-year plan, and which may vary from county to county); 2) create service goals and objectives that will meet those needs, and 3) undertake a region-wide study to determine how to best balance regional and local operational control and how to most efficiently and effectively share the resources spread among five libraries in three counties.
The planning to be to carried out will guide Library decision-making and daily operations for the next five years. In the first part of the project, staff and community members will work together through meetings and focus groups, using tools such as interviews and a Region-wide survey, to assess the needs of the people we serve. A service plan will be created with common goals and objectives for the region and with activities tailored to each individual library. These goals and objectives will be translated into work plans and targets for staff appraisals to ensure the work of the plan is completed.
It is necessary to involve a range of community stakeholders in the planning process, such as Library users, Trustees, Friends, community residents, community leaders, local government officials, and Library staff. Potential library users, including some who do not and probably will never use the library, are also invited to participate in the planning process. It is important to understand how the library is viewed by everyone, not just by those who use and appreciate it!
The more local representatives that are engaged, the more local interest and commitment will be generated. Anecdotal wisdom from the last long range planning process suggests that significant local interest was lost when local input appeared to be marginalized by the desire to emphasize “regional” interests. The initial strategy for this project begins with creating local steering committees, then drawing on them for the regional steering committee. This will build rather than discourage local involvement. Ashe Library's Board of Trustees and members of Ashe Friends of the Library will meet on July 14 to review preliminary plans, and community members will be invited to a focus group in the fall.
Ashe Library Dates to Remember in July:
For All Ages:
· Staff from College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC.org) will host a “College Launch” at 1:30 p.m. on July 17 to provide answers about financing for educational needs.
· Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on July 8 and 22. One need not possess or purchase a drum to participate. There are all sorts of drums and a variety of percussion instruments available to share the rhythm with everyone.
· Get Crafty at the library with crocheting on July 12 and knitting on July 26. Classes are for all skill levels from 10:00 a.m. to12:00 p.m. Crocheting supplies are provided for the Great Afghan Project. This month the knitting project is a “Parlor Cat.” (supplies needed for knitting: US 4 needles, and 170 yards of worsted-weight yarn in color preferred for your cat)
· Mountain Music Slow Jam Sessions begin in July on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. Designed for beginners, but all skill levels are welcome. Bring your instrument and join the fun.
· A Prehistoric Party begins at 3:30 p.m. on July 7. Have your selfie made with a giant dinosaur and join the Dion-mite story time. Lots of fun with prehistoric activities.
· Mo Willem Puppet Play introduces Piggy, Elephant and Pigeon at 10:30 a.m. on July 11. Create your own puppets too!
· The Big Bang Carnival and Discovery Fair for children and teens who have earned tickets reading will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the park behind the library on July 26. Call 336.846.2041 for more information.
· Create your own version of Dr. Who's Tardis at 3:00 p.m. on July 9.
· The Teen Screen features Independence Day at 3:00 p.m. on July 19.
· Use the power of heat to create your own Crayon Art at 3:00 p.m. on July 23.
· Geek out with Otaku’s United Anime / Manga Club at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
· Brouhaha Book Club meets at 5:30 p.m. on July 28 at Boondocks.
· Grow Yourself, self-paced computer use tutorial sessions, are held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
· Tai Chi classes, led by Sybil Harmon, are at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays. Bring balance to your life.
· Ashe Wellness Circle meets at 11:30 on July 8 for a program hosted by the National Committee of the New River. Learn about preserving our waterways and conserving water resources. After the wellness program, participants are invited to join in a walk around the park and a discussion of environmental wellness books. Adults of any age and fitness level welcome.
Special Events - In and Out:
· A Glow Party will be hosted by the library at 8:30 p.m. Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area. Learn about bio-luminescence, create glowing bubbles, and search for nature's glowing things.
· Bring a chair of beach towel to the Backstreet Park at 10:30 a.m. on July 16 and see a “snot otter.” Find out about this giant salamander.
· Rainey Rodgers is July's Artist of the the Month. Be sure to stop in at 3:00 p.m. for an opening reception at the library's upstairs art gallery.
· Martha Adams entertains on dulcimer at 2:00 p.m. on July 12 in the library.