Library survey will help shape programming, services for years to come

Jul 23, 2021

MARION — Elizabeth Taber Library’s Long Range Planning Committee met on Thursday, July 23 to announce that they had finished collecting data for a survey that will help the library design new long range and five-year plans.

The survey data includes responses from 620 community members, including 358 adults, 146 elementary school students, and 116 junior high and high school students. The results are now being analyzed to help redesign a plan for improving services and “basically everything the library does,” according to Library Director Elizabeth Sherry.

“This will give us a really great road map for the future,” said President of the Trustees of Elizabeth Taber Library Elise Frangos.

The committee members said that it was very important to them to get feedback from both frequent visitors of the library and those who rarely use it at all so that they can design programs and services to attract new patrons and keep the regulars happy.

In order to reach a wider audience, the library had the surveys distributed at Sippican School, at ORR High School and Junior High, and online.

The committee members also incentivized the survey by entering participants in a raffle to win either a book bundle arranged by Tri-Town Against Racism President and Library Trustee Tangi Thomas or a $25 gift card to Kate’s Simple Eats or Uncle John’s Coffee. Raffle winners were chosen during the meeting, but their names could not be given because they were not collected in the survey.

Though the results of the survey have not been released yet, committee members did share some insights from the data.

One library trustee, Laura Dadagian-O’rourke, was surprised by how much positive feedback the library received for its handling of the pandemic.

“I think people really appreciated it,” she said.

Sherry said that even though the library was closed to the public during covid, many people took advantage of its electronic services, like e-book borrowing, as well as its curbside pickup services.

“We did over 12,000 curbside transactions,” she said.

Trustees were also surprised by how many respondents suggested adding services that are already offered by the library.

“That was kind of a wakeup call for us,” said Sherry, adding that part of the planning will have to focus on marketing the library’s programs and services to the community.