By Mike Baker
The Haliburton County Public Library [HCPL] is calling on residents from across the Highlands to assist the organization in shaping its new multi-year strategic plan.
Library staff released a survey in May, asking people to answer a series of questions, including whether they consider themselves seasonal or year-round residents, if they have ever used a facility or service offered by HCPL, or what, if anything, the library could offer or change to convince them to use their services on a more frequent basis.
Anyone who completes the survey and returns it to any of the six branches across the county will be entered into a draw to win one of four $25 gift cards to a local restaurant of their choosing.
Individuals can also complete the survey online at olco.ent.sirsidynix.net/client/en_US/haliburton.
“The survey is important. We’re trying to reach as many people as possible to receive feedback on our services,” Babluck said. “It is part of a bigger process. We are developing a new strategic plan… A library should be a reflection of the community it serves, so it’s really important to us that we get community input on our services. We want to make sure we’re meeting real needs in the community and using our finite resources wisely, and continuing to offer innovative service.”
The library’s most recent strategic plan expired in 2018. Babluck says a new plan will guide local library services over the next several years. She hopes the HCPL board will be in a position to approve a new plan by September.
At present, HCPL has 6,120 active members. Babluck says she’s always looking for creative ways to increase usership.
“It’s not all about library card membership. It’s about what other services can we provide that will meet people’s needs, because we do a lot more than just circulating books,” Babluck said. “We have youth programming, which has had to go virtual this year due to COVID-19, but we’ve also done grab-and-go kits, and different maker-style kits for robotics and things like that. We lend sports equipment in partnership with Dysart [township]. Computer use, also, is huge.”
Currently closed to the public, Babluck says she’s waiting on approval from the provincial government before reopening the libraries.
“We’ve gone through closing and reopening a few times now, so we do have a plan in place… but we can’t make any decisions until we hear from the province what is happening,” Babluck said. “There’s been no word yet. We hear when everybody else hears, essentially. We don’t get any advanced notice.”