Every few years, the Library District holds community conversations throughout Spokane County to ask a few questions and, more importantly, to listen. These conversations are not about the library. Instead, they are about what kind of neighborhoods residents and businesses desire to live and work in.
These public discussions show us the collective knowledge of our citizens and reveal their hopes, dreams, and concerns. Often there are themes that emerge that are shared across communities and these themes shape the District’s strategic direction so that the services and programs of the library are best positioned for those we serve.
“Community engagement is our guide to make sure our work is both true to our mission and closely follows the needs and desires of our communities.”
Our libraries provided 5,618 programs that helped 139,212 kids, parents, and caregivers as kids prepared to enter school ready to learn.
Business & Career Development
We supported economic development for individuals with 559 programs that focused on career growth and provided unbiased financial advice for 6,876 attendees. At the business level, we partnered to hold 130 small business workshops that provided insights and information to 1,492 local entrepreneurs.
Education & Enrichment
For library customers ages 8–108 and up, we planned and presented 3,201 programs that were informational, entertaining, and culturally enriching and were attended by 62,918 people.
Digital Interaction & Sharing
Through digital devices and computers, technology brought the library to where our customers are, both inside and outside the library walls. Customers accessed our digital resources and apps over 2.9 million times to read eBooks, magazines, and newspapers, get help through online tutoring, take practice tests, learn new languages, and so much more.
View the 2017 annual report of the Community Engagement Plan for 2016–2018.
For our next Community Engagement Plan, once again, we held community conversations. We listened to over 50 groups, held one-on-one conversations, shared an online survey, and asked for input from more than 238,000 library visitors.
Here are some of the things we heard that will guide our mission.
People desire a sense of belonging in their community where individuals matter to one another and everyone feels pride in the community where we live.
Residents long for physical and emotional needs to be met. These needs include food and shelter, safety within the community outside library walls, and economic security for individuals and the region as a whole.
Families and individuals of all ages wish to participate in entertaining events and activities that are affordable and close to home.
We are responding to community needs and desires in several ways.
We are using the themes from our public discussions as a guide for the Library District’s strategic direction. The direction includes the programs we plan, the services we provide, and the resources we offer to best support the people we care about and the place we all call home.
The Library District is exploring options for long-term financial stability, which potentially includes asking for a full restoration of the property tax levy that funds daily operations and maintenance of all Spokane County Libraries.