Library user or not, BCL wants your ideas for future at upcoming meeting

March 15, 2017
Santa Paula News

Blanchard Community Library will be the focus of future planning and all Santa Paulans — library users or not — are invited to provide input.

The BCL Community Meeting to Guide Future Development will be held Tuesday, March 21, at the library, 119 N. 8th St. from 6 to 8 p.m. 

According to BCL Board Chairwoman Laura Phillips, the meeting is a follow-up to the surveys distributed in the fall. 

“It’s the last thing before we really start putting a plan together,” for the library’s future, that could require facility changes and/or additions.

Board Members Nancy Nasalroad and Linda Spink serve on the library’s Facilities Committee.

The effort said Phillips is part of BCL’s Strategic Plan crafted by a board committee.

“It takes a while to get the feedback we need,” and Phillips said BCL wants the March 21 meeting to result in “input from people that don’t use the library that often, or not at all. We have knowledge of what the library patrons want here but we want to serve all the community, to know what everybody else would want.”

There are plenty of opportunities for enhancements and growth at the library said Spink who noted the survey had asked what Santa Paulans would “like to see at the library in the future…there was everything we could possibly think of on the survey.”

And for the March 21 meeting, an informal drop-in type of gathering for English and Spanish speakers that will ask guests to address their preferences and “Give their opinion…it’s not a sit down meeting,” but rather said Spink, an evaluation of suggestions by those that responded to the survey to help craft the library’s vision for the future.

Suggestions from survey takers at the library included community rooms for small gatherings of perhaps student working on a project, adult spaces, a café, more computer study areas, and more.

Of course such enhancements would need space, carved out of the existing facility or perhaps revamped or even added on, projects that could be planned for future funding.

“We must know what the citizens want and needs,” so the gathering will ask attendees to mark posters with green or red stickers to show approval or not, as well as sticky notes to add their own thoughts to the posters.

The Facilities Committee is looking for input on the library environment, services (events such as film nights), community outreach (which could be longer library hours, staging dances or partnering with museums) and the library catalogue. Of course children and teens are part of the mix.

Heightened use of the facility is the overall goal, especially by those “That don’t use the library or are hesitant to use the library as well as those that use the library regularly.” 

Said Spink, “We want the community to tell us how to choose,” what elements will define the library’s future.

Phillips said Anderson Kulwiec Appleby Architects are working with the library on the facilities plan, which could go anywhere: “We have that backroom area where the Friends have their back stacks, we probably want a larger meeting room,” that could double for screening films.

“We’re even thinking outside the box,” by expanding the library into the north parking lot, even just for storage. 

“I think it would be fun to have a green screen,” for video production, “just things to offer that our town doesn’t have now that they would be excited about and use the library for. 

“The library,” said Phillips, “belongs to everybody, they all pay for it and we want all to take advantage of it, make it a vibrant place. We have some funds available and we’d have to do some fundraising but first we would have to show the community something tangible. 

“We just need,” she added, “a lot of people to attend and give us their feedback.”

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