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Community Conversations : cc recap BRO

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Community Conversations Recap: Broadview Branch - Oct. 5

What are we hearing at the City Librarian's Community Conversations?


Background: City Librarian Marcellus Turner has invited Library patrons to join him at informal meetings in libraries across the city to talk about service improvements. The third of 12 Community Conversations was held at the Broadview Branch Library from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.


Recap: Turner first shared information about increased Library hours, collections, technology and building maintenance made possible by the 2012 voter-approved Library levy. He also discussed the Library's five current service priorities: youth and learning, technology and access, community engagement, Seattle culture and history and "re-imagined spaces," which he described as redesigning service areas to accommodate changing patron needs. Turner spent the majority of time listening to suggestions and answering questions from the public. He reserved the last 15 minutes for getting input on the five service priorities. Outlined below is the Q&A in brief, followed by highlights of the service priority discussion.

Questions and Answers:


The Broadview Historical Society meets at the Broadview Branch. Will you reach out to them as part of your focus on Seattle Culture and History?


Yes. We plan to involve stakeholders from around the city in this effort, including neighborhood historical groups, cultural institutions, archivists, genealogists, museums and other libraries.


Senior Services held 12 community gatherings as part of its "Aging Your Way" initiative. Does the Library use the findings of this effort in its own planning?


Staff members from The Seattle Public Library were involved in the Aging Your Way series and as a result of the findings, the Library offered several health and wellness programs. The Library continues to be interested in providing health and wellness programs.  


Simple things can be barriers for seniors.  For example, the doors at the Broadview Branch are very heavy and difficult to open and there are a number of obstacles outside the entryway. Can improvements be made? 


The Library is committed to providing fully accessible buildings that are ADA compliant. At the Broadview Branch, both west and east building entry doors have ADA door operators and doors with closers are operable with five pounds or less of force (periodically checked and adjusted) so they comply with ADA. With regards to the entryway, we appreciate you bringing this to our attention and we will evaluate this area.


Can you increase programs for those who are aging, as well as for families – not just students?   


The Library is very interested in expanding programs for all ages. In the coming months, the Library will hire a community engagement manager to help us develop new programs and partnerships. Your suggestion for providing additional support to seniors and families will be shared.


The Broadview Branch used to provide ESL programs. Can you bring those programs back to this branch? 


The Broadview Branch did offer an ESL class at one time. The class was cut in 2010 because our partner agency was unable to continue to support this effort. We currently provide two classes at the Northgate Branch and both are at capacity. We remain committed to offering ESL programs and will continue to look at ways to provide more of these services throughout the system.


It would be great to have more collaboration between the Library and other local institutions, such as the Bitter Lake Community Center and the Carkeek Park Environmental Education Center. Would you consider extending evening hours at the branch so that the Broadview Community Council could hold its meeting here?


We are always looking for more and better ways to collaborate with existing and new community partners. We are currently exploring how we can provide after-hours access to meeting rooms at our branches.


The landscaping around the building has suffered from vandalism and lack of maintenance. Can this be addressed – perhaps through the use of volunteers?


Public spaces are often heavily used and libraries are no exception. The Library is happy to have the help of generous patrons who volunteer their time to help care for these public spaces. Just last month (9/27/13), volunteers pulled weeds and picked up litter at the Broadview Branch on the United Way’s Day of Caring. We are always interested in hosting more volunteers to help care for the landscaping. Patrons interested in volunteering can contact the Library’s Volunteer Services coordinator Anne Vedella at 206-386-4614.


The newly remodeled UW Library included some collaborative workspaces. Can the Library add collaborative work spaces?


As part of our work around Re-Imagined Spaces, we are looking at ways to support collaboration in our libraries. The Broadview Branch is fortunate to already have a meeting room that can accommodate up to 50 people, a quiet study area at northeast corner of the building, two independent study rooms, and a large study/conference room that seats up to eight people – all of which support patron collaboration at the branch.


Does the Library look at the changing demographics of a community when planning for programs and resources?


Yes. We are increasingly considering community data in our planning. This year we hired a new director of marketing and online services who is conducting a study of millennials, as well as a market segmentation project in 2014 to inform our marketing and outreach efforts.


The Library needs to take services out into the community. Are you considering that?


Yes. In addition to librarian visits to schools across the city, we have a mobile services unit that provides services to senior facilities and early learning programs. Other librarians are engaged in outreach to the business community, community events through Books on Bikes and outreach efforts to underserved communities. In the coming year, you will see more efforts to bring the Library to the community in new and innovative ways.


Seattle doesn’t always do a good job welcoming our newest residents to the city. Can the Library play a bigger role in connecting with our newest neighbors?


Yes. Working with the new community engagement manager, we look forward to a wide range of new and innovative programming to engage residents new and old in the Library. We are open to collaborating with realtors and others to connect our newest residents to the Library.


What is the future of books and libraries?


The world is changing in many ways and libraries are impacted just as are individuals and other institutions. Technology is driving much of the change, but it is not the only dynamic. Libraries have always provided information and access and we will continue to provide both, but we will need to adapt to new ways of providing it – new formats, new tools – adapting to how our patrons wants to access library resources and information. Some will be digital, but physical books will be here as well. As long as the need for information, the love of stories, and the desire for community are present, libraries will have an important role to play in our communities


Support of elected officials is important to the Library. Do you connect with the Mayor and City Council on a regular basis?


Yes. We were fortunate to have tremendous support from the mayor and City Council for the Library levy in 2012. In addition to regular meetings with the mayor, the Library also provides periodic reports to the City Council’s Libraries, Utilities, and Center Committee which is currently chaired by Councilmember Jean Godden. We are also fortunate to have strong support from the Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library, who are tireless advocates on behalf of the Library.

Five service priorities:

Community Engagement and Youth and Early Learning were identified as the two most important priorities to participants (although Re-Imagined Spaces was a close third).


Suggestions around Community Engagement:

  • Take Library staff and resources into the community where people are meeting and gathering.
  • Bring a coffee cart to the Broadview Branch - this community needs a community gathering space.


Suggestions around Youth and Early Learning:

  • More collaboration and partnerships with community centers and schools.