September 25, 2022

Help Develop Strategic Plan for Essex Library and Win an iPad Mini

ipad miniWould you like to win an iPad Mini, and help the Essex Library out at the same time? We need your input; the Essex Library Association is developing a strategic plan, which will guide the Library in serving the Essex community for both the next several years and the next generation. A committee headed up by Association President Fred Szufnarowski and Library Director Richard Conroy is working with nationally recognized Library Development Solutions of Princeton, NJ to address challenges specific to the delivery of library services during this period of rapid transition to electronic media.

Community outreach will be a key element of the strategic planning process as the Library develops service models to meet the needs of patrons and residents. We’re asking Essex residents to take a survey, either on line at or at the Library, on paper or a computer set up for that purpose. Anyone who takes the survey and provides the Library with their email address will be entered in a drawing for an iPad Mini. If you’ve already taken the survey, and didn’t provide an email, you can enter the drawing by calling the Library and giving your email address to the librarian. Community engagement is critical to the success of this initiative.

Some of the questions to be explored during the planning process include:

  • What do residents and leaders of Essex expect and need from the library, both now and in the future?
  • Does the current vision and mission of the library reflect those needs?
  • What are the contemporary roles of the library for the community’s children, teens, older adults and parents?
  • How does the library respond with services, collections, staffing, and facilities to meet identified community needs and expected future needs?
  • How does the library respond to a quickly changing environment in which the issues of library funding, content and collections, and staffing?
  • What are the challenges and barriers associated with creating the Essex Library of the future?

The consultants will facilitate interviews and workshops with key stakeholders, as needed, to ensure the involvement of the community, staff, ELA Board, and town leaders in order to assess residents’ current awareness and satisfaction with library services, programs, collections and the facility and to discuss their ideas for future library services, collections, programs and facilities. Both   online and print surveys may be developed and distributed through which residents can contribute open-ended ideas and feedback to the strategic planning team.

Leslie and Alan Burger of Library Development Solutions have worked with many Connecticut libraries, both municipal and association, consortia and boards throughout the state on strategic planning, facilities and funding projects. The consultants will provide a process that includes the community, staff, and director.

Library Development Solutions was founded in 1991 to assist librarians and library boards with strategic planning, building programs, service program design, improvement and evaluation, community needs assessments, and organizational and staff development. In the past few years, they have interviewed over 5,000 library customers and potential customers in focus group sessions and have surveyed over 25,000 individuals to determine their library and information needs.

For more information or to learn how you can participate in the strategic planning process please contact Richard Conroy at (860) 767-1560.