On Monday, November 14, after three hours of deliberation, Ventura City Council voted 5-2 to adopt the recommendations made by the city’s Library Advisory Commission and Library Strategic Planning Committee.
The recommendations were jointly developed by the Library Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Library Advisory Commission in a joint session on October 12. Both bodies worked to modify the language of the recommendations made by Santiago Library Consulting to reflect their preferred language and direction. Specifically, the group determined they did not support the consultant’s proposal to downsize E.P. Foster to operations to one floor.
The recommendations as approved unanimously by the Committee and Commissioners
include the following 9 points and are not listed in a priority ranking:
- Refresh the entire collection in both locations in consultation with City representatives and County staff. Exception: local history, rare materials, reference
- Refocus to adopt a more patron-centric work focus. Staff will be working to develop programs and to increase one-on-one interaction with the public to raise the level of engagement with patrons. There is a need for increased bilingual staff to serve an increasingly diverse community.
- Refurbish the library furnishings to accommodate all ages with low shelving,comfortable seating and flexible technology. Signage, book displays, tables,conversation areas, magazine and newspaper areas all need attention.
- Merchandizing ideas should be incorporated into the design of the library. The displays will encourage higher circulation and collection use.
- Reallocate existing funds to acquire “fresh” materials for the collection with special attention to DVD’s, current titles, paperbacks for teens, adults and children.
- Reconfigure the technology area to make the space more inviting. Provide new technologies like e-book readers, laptops, tablets and educational computer games. Provide strong Wi-Fi throughout the facilities and meeting rooms.
- Rethink how programming can be provided to the community. Increase PR and marketing efforts and internet presence to provide greater awareness of the current services offered.
- Reach out to the Latino population in our community. Current service does not provide a focus to this growing community demographic. Programming and material enhancement is needed at all locations.
- Prioritize the creation of a plan to establish a library presence on the east side of town, and determine the resources necessary to implement the plan. The Committee recognizes that the east side of Ventura is underserved, and that a stable source of revenue, including potential use of private funds, will need to be raised and set aside to correct this deficiency.
The Library Advisory Commission formulated two additional recommendations to present to the City Council.
- LAC recommends that Council accept as endorsed the nine points forwarded to the Council in the Staff Report and to work towards implementation immediately upon Council’s approval.
- LAC recommends that Council direct staff to work with the Commission and Ventura County Library Services to seek any and all funding sources and community partnerships to support the achievement of the long-term goals of this process.
City Council also adopted a proposal to form a committee consisting of representatives from City Council, city staff, Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Library Advisory Commission to work with the County Library System to implement the adopted recommendations. This committee will report to the City Council in April 2012.
San Buenaventura Friends of the Library president Kathy Thomson comments appeared in the Star: Bring ‘great equalizer’ into tech age.
Berta Defren Steele, Chair of the Ventura City Library Advisory Commission and vice-president of SBFOL commented: Proposals can be achieved within Ventura’s budget.
Michael Tapia, member of the Library Strategic Plan Steering Committee and principal at Montalvo Elementary School, commented: Public library a treasure for kids and community.