Council approves strategic plan for library

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Albert Lea Public Library is planning to broaden its community outreach in the next three years.

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday adopted a resolution adopting the organization’s 2016-18 strategic plan.

The library has five primary goals in the plan:

Peggy Havener

Peggy Havener

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Programming and outreach: The organization wants to broaden adult programming to attract a wider audience, expand resources and programming for pre-teenagers and teenagers, and deliver library programs and projects to community groups.

The library is looking at conducting a teen book club that library Director Peggy Havener hopes will expand their interest in reading. She hopes to expand author programs and innovative programming for adults.

• Technology: Library staff want to expand technological learning opportunities for library users and staff and explore additional or alternative technology needs. Havener said she wants to make sure staff keeps current in technology to supply services.

• Collection: Staff want to make sure space is used as efficiently as possible and make sure the library has a collection that customers want.

• Communication: Staff want to expand general awareness of library resources by conducting a public awareness campaign to promote library resources and review demographic data and community trends.

• Building and operations: Library staff want to effectively utilize the library building, located at city hall, and property by working with city and library leadership to enhance public space and services and conduct a regular review of policies and procedures.

In 2016 the library wants to promote the library’s catalog app that allows users to reserve and order books online, along with other goals. The library is exploring ideas for community Wi-Fi hotspots to assist individuals in Freeborn County that live without Internet and hopes funding for the hotspots is secured this year. She is currently reviewing information in association with the plan.

The plan was formed after a survey was conducted and the library held discussions with staff, Friends of the Albert Lea Public Library, Library Advisory Board and other stakeholders.

“We were very pleased with the outcome,” Havener said.

She said the library offers a variety of services for the community and assists individuals with services they otherwise might not receive.

Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. thanked Havener and her staff Monday night for their effort in completing the strategic plan.

“I think they did an excellent job in going through, doing all of research, getting the background information and sharing the details with us,” 5th Ward Councilor Larry Anderson said. “I think it was really well thought out and a good plan.”

In other news, the city approved a resolution accepting three lots south of Front Street, east of Maplehill Drive, west of Fourth Avenue and north of Plainview Lane donated by George Dress to the city. It is property that has been identified for possible storm water retention and green space.

Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said the property is less than six acres.

“Our primary goal is to keep the area as a natural area, which will continue to serve as a beneficial flood mitigation and stormwater control area,” Adams said. “We hope to make some improvements to the area in the future, possibly with some flood mitigation matching grants. We believe these improvements may help to reduce flooding to properties in the area that see some seasonal flooding with larger rains.”

Adams said the city is seeking public feedback and discussion on some other ideas, including a possible walking trail around the perimeter of the area as a benefit to neighboring residents.

Third Ward Councilor George Marin expressed appreciation of the donation.

“This is a win-win situation,” Marin said.

The city approved a request that a sign be installed on Dress Island identifying the island as Dress Island. The island property was deeded to the city by the Dress family in 1972 and was officially designated as Dress Island. The Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommended approval of the request in November. The Dress family will pay for the sign and installation.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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