Public library aims to be social, educational hub

HARLINGEN — Like many institutions, public libraries have struggled with the disruptive innovation of new technology.

But this week, the Harlingen Public Library Board signed off on a strategic five-year plan that embraces the changing ways we communicate.

The five-year plan covers growing and sustaining readers, training library patrons in technology, improving accessibility to library programs, enhancing the library experience and working on staff development.

“I have this vision of taking the library to the community,” library Director Dauna Campbell said yesterday. “We are a destination place, but we don’t have to be just that.

“We can take the library to where they are, and show them what we have online and what resources we have to offer,” she said.

Much of what is in the Harlingen library plan mirrors recommendations made by the American Library Association, the national umbrella for public libraries across the country.

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Highlights of the 5-year library master plan

Goal 1: Grow and sustain readers and lifelong learners

Expand programs to promote reading for enjoyment and learning

Pursue events that reflect community interest

Strengthen youth literacy programs

Remain focused on collection development

Goal 2: Establish the library as social hub

Café/snack bar

Work to meet user needs

Promote services using social media

Better marketing of what the library is and does

Goal 3: Innovative technology and training

Improve access to and patron understanding of tech

Improve digital infrastructure by increasing bandwidth, computer numbers

Improve digital holdings

Goal 4: Improve accessibility within community

Enhance the library experience

Better access to underserved areas of city

Goal 5: Staff Development

Train staff to answer tech needs

Develop staff well-trained in digital services

Develop staff well-trained in customer service, needs analysis, communication skills and more

Continue to evaluate staffing needs

Improve productivity by reassessing procedures

Source: Strategic Plan for 2016-2021