On behalf of the Easton Public Library staff and Board of Trustees, I would like to thank everyone who completed our Library User Experience Survey this fall. In order to continue to meet the changing needs of the community, it is imperative for us to gain feedback from the public.
Our most recent survey addressed many aspects of Library service, including the collection, programs, digital resources, the staff, and the general atmosphere of the Library. I am happy to say that most of the results were overwhelmingly positive, which reassures us that we are doing a good job of serving the Easton community.
I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the comments and suggestions that were submitted by the survey respondents.
With regard to the Library’s collection, we strive to maintain a variety of materials and formats on a broad range of topics, including many newly published materials. Many people probably do not realize that we have a historical collection housed in our Conference Room. This includes publications by current and former Easton authors, as well as historical information about Easton and the surrounding area.
This collection, along with our “Dolly Curtis Interviews” series of DVDs, will be highlighted in our upcoming winter newsletter. Our new adult books are housed prominently in the front area of the Library, including a separate display rack for New York Times Bestsellers. I agree that our Large Print collection needs to be moved in order to make it more accessible, and my staff and I have been working on a solution.
The Library offers several platforms for digital resources. Through Bibliomation, we have access to a shared collection of digital content from Overdrive (Libby). Several respondents mentioned the long waiting times for certain titles. In response to this, we regularly purchase extra titles for Easton patrons only. The Library also offers Hoopla, which makes the titles available on demand.
The Library website was cited as not being easy to navigate. My staff and I will be looking at this in the months to creating something that is more user-friendly. We will also be looking into acquiring “hotspots” for residents to borrow.
We offer a robust schedule of programs for adults, teens, and children through the year. Offerings for children include Babies Boogie, Toddler Be-Bop, Preschool Storytime, book clubs, arts & crafts, and Lego Master Builders. The Youth Services Department attempted to offer a reading support group for elementary students, but it was cancelled due to lack of interest.
For middle schoolers, The Library Squad is a group that recommends materials and programs they would like to see in the Library. High schoolers have a similar group called Teen Library Council (TLC). Programs for teens also include college preparation and information sessions.
For adults, the Library offers two book clubs – one in the morning and one in the evening. Other adult programs include a weekly afternoon knitting club, movie nights, paint nights, and speakers on various topics. Programs are evaluated on a regular basis for relevancy and interest.
Several survey respondents asked about increased evening and weekend hours. The Library is open until 7 p.m. on Thursday nights to accommodate those who are unable to visit during the day. Unfortunately, very few people come to the Library during this time. Regarding weekend hours, the Library is open until 3 p.m. on Saturdays and it has never been open on Sundays. This is mainly a budget issue. Just before the pandemic, I had begun to explore the idea of extending weekend hours. Perhaps this is an issue that can be explored again.
There were a few comments about noise in the Library. Unfortunately, it is difficult to control the noise level when large groups of young children are here, or when school or other community groups visit the Library. The staff and I do our best to remind children to use their “Library voices” and try to model appropriate behavior.
The creation of quiet spaces is something that is desperately needed, and the Library was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a study pod with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant. My hope is that we can find a way to create additional study spaces in the future.
The Children’s Expansion Project, which was initiated before the pandemic, remains on hold due to rising construction costs. We are grateful to those who donated funds towards the project. These funds are still being held in anticipation of the time when we are able to revisit this endeavor.
Thanks again to those who responded to our survey. For more information about the Library, please visit www.eastonlibrary.org, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203-261-0134.
Lynn Zaffino is the director of the Easton Public Library.