1/2/18

LIBRARY IMPACT by Jon Walker

The Pueblo City-County Library District prides itself on seeking and responding positively to feedback from all. The institution regularly collects information in this regard via a variety of sources. Tools include community surveys and focus groups. We also solicit evaluative data ongoing via online and paper comment forms, and practice a philosophy known as Community Librarianship, whereby we encourage our professional staff to become embedded in the community we serve. In addition, PCCLD was an early adopter of the Public Library Association’s Project Outcomes, and continues to actively use this tool (http://www.ala.org/pla/initiatives/performancemeasurement). This helps us better understand overall library impact locally.

There are many examples of positive outcomes feedback. Here is one regarding PCCLD’s value in support of local educational and cultural learning activities: “The Southern Colorado Photography Society has been associated with the Pueblo City-County Library District for the past ten years. I have been president during that period. Our group has availed themselves of many of the available services and facilities. We hold our monthly meetings at the Lamb branch meeting room each month at no charge. The last four years, we have held the largest regional photography show at the Infozone are of the Rawlings Library. The staff assists us with the room needed, advertising, and refreshments. Visitors from other towns always compliment us on what a fine library we have. Members of the club have held individual and small group photography shows at a number of the library facilities. Not charging for these gallery spaces allows so many to exhibit their work. Our organization has also joined with the library staff to provide photography workshops, free to the public. Several of our members have hosted personal travel videos they created. We have all the library staff to be helpful, accommodating, and pleasant in helping our organization. All our members are huge fans of Pueblo City-County Library District. Individuals I have talked with, outside our group, who utilize the facilities, give the same positive reviews.”

The success of PCCLD’s many programs frequently is measured by attendance. For example, the goal of the annual summer reading program is to keep children reading during the summer months. We carefully measure participation. Part of this program includes setting up a temporary library outdoors in two parks where neighborhoods do not have easy access to library services. Summer reading activities at the library also include providing meals to children who are in need. The summer lunch at the library in partnership with local schools served 4,004 lunches to children this year, and many young people reported they would not have been able to eat lunch at all without the program. A legal assistance online program at the Lamb Library with limited spots available is regularly filled to capacity. Computer classes with limited space are well attended. The library’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program is carried out in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. It has had to turn people away and has plans to provide even more hours of service next year. PCCLD’s Adult Literacy project, which uses volunteer tutors, has more than seventy active learning teams with more on the waiting list ready to get started.

One recent comment sums it up this way: “I am a huge fan of the Pueblo City-County Library system. It is a wonderfully run system brimming with activities and resources. The catalog is wonderful, the array of programs the library offers is impressive. But my favorite of all, and the reason I write you today, is the beautiful culture the library system has created for our community.”

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The library is a learning institution.  First and foremost, the Pueblo City-County Library District (PCCLD) exists to ensure members of our...