Ashe County Public Library 5 year strategic plan zoom

Dr. Anthony Chow, Associate Professor of Library & Information Science at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro discusses the important priorities of the Ashe County Public Library.

WEST JEFFERSON —The Ashe County Public Library planning committee held a Zoom meeting on Dec. 14 to discuss the upcoming events involving their 5 year strategic plan. In this plan, the library conducts various events and ideas such as surveys, interviews and focus groups.

These aspects allow the library to connect with the community to gather input and feedback on their events and general findings.

“I have really been able to talk to a lot of people in the community from different areas and it’s been really informative,” said Kate Howell, a member of the planning team. “They all have different areas of focus and I can see how much you guys love that library.”

With the year coming to an end, many of the planning committee find it important to get more surveys out into the community so they get a better understanding for what the upcoming year will hold for them.

Ashe County librarian Suzanne Moore emphasized the importance of the student community and how the surveys would be more beneficial if they fell into the hands of teens.

“I’d like to share it to the students through the schools. We’ve been relying on our teen population that visits the library and those that see us on social media,” Moore said.

They also discussed handing surveys out at the local coffee shop where many students go to finish schoolwork and socialize.

In their recent survey, the library found that the community has prioritized the Internet as their main access to information while libraries are the second most accessible. They also created a GIS map allowing them to see how far the Appalachian Regional Libraries are from those who utilize them.

The GIS map can be accessed HERE.

Many respondents also stated that some of the most important physical aspects of a library is the welcoming environment it creates and the convenient locations.

During the meeting, the members also discussed the priorities of the library, their primary concern being COVID-19 safety for the community and staff. They intend to help children and families who do not have as much access to necessities during the pandemic and they also plan to offer mental health support.

In hopes of the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, Dr. Anthony Chow, a professor at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro spoke on the continued protocol and safety measures that will be held after the virus has stopped.

“Hopefully COVID will be a distant past by next Fall, but the bottom line is that safety for all will still remain important,” said Chow.

Technology and digital access were main recommendations in the strategy meeting as there are many people in the community with little to no access. The library intends to make progress on reaching out to those across the county in order to stay updated and connected.

For more information, contact the Ashe County Public Library at (336)-846-2041 or visit their location at 148 Library Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694.

To access the survey, which will be available until Jan. 15, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/arlcnageneral.

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