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Improving the experience of the Kingsport Public Library

Matthew Lane • Jan 22, 2020 at 12:30 PM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Public Library wants you to read this story. Not only will the information be beneficial to you and your family, it'll also help meet one of the library's main goals for the next four years.

That goal being to make the community better aware of the library and the resources and programs it offers every day.

“People knew (the library) existed, but they couldn't tell you what we did,” said Library Director Chris Markley, referencing a library survey conducted last fall. The survey asked the community about the library's resources and programs, along with what folks would like to see happen with the library. About 350 people responded.

The survey was done as a precursor to the library crafting its strategic plan for the next four years. That plan was unveiled Monday during a Board of Mayor and Aldermen worksession. The four main goals of the plan are as follows:

Goal No. 1: To foster lifelong learning and increase literacy across the community. Markley said this goal could be met by increasing the number of programs offered at the library and expanding programs and services out into the community.

“We're going to be taking what we do and do it better,” she said. “We need to do a better job with offering programs to the community and where we're offering them ... doing more outreach to the schools and the senior center.”

Goal No. 2: Advance the “ease of use” for the collections and programs. This could be done a number of ways: by restructuring the hours of operation, increasing the self-checkout options for patrons and planning for the future use of the building.

Markley said the four-year strategic plan does not call for any expansions or renovations, though Kingsport has earmarked money in the 2023 budget for capital improvements to the library. The strategic plan will help identify what those improvements could be, Markley said.

Goal No. 3: Enhance and improve the library's collections, both the physical media and the digital media. Here, library staff will review and right-size the physical collections, rearrange the items for better access and ensure digital services are maintained and up to date.

Goal No. 4: Increase the public awareness of the library and what it offers. This goal basically means helping the community know about the library, what it does and what items can be found within its walls.

Markley said this could be accomplished by traditional advertising, through social media and by actively promoting the library at community events.

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