Library Advisory Commission News
The Commission is forming working committees to implement the first year goals of The Strategic Plan. In addition, committees to explore the future of both the Avenue Library and a library presence in east Ventura are being formed.
If you wish to participate in planning for the future, please email Berta Steele at email@example.com or Denise Sindelar at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also planning public meetings to apprise the residents of our progress in meeting our one-year goals and receiving feedback on actions and accomplishments. Watch for announcements and get involved in creating the library of the future for the City of Ventura.
City Council Meeting May 7 Library Issues
At its May 7 meeting, the City Council unanimously passed the color palette recommended by the Library Advisory Commission – parchment on the building with historical green as trim. Berta Steele will be working with Jack Schafer, Chair of the Historical Preservation Committee on finalizing the color scheme. Denise Sindelar from the City Staff is working on the specifications for the paint which will then be forwarded to the County who will be responsible for painting the building. Because the money to paint the building is coming from the Inman Trust, which is controlled by the County, the County retains the authority to do the actual painting.
The Council also accepted the proposed Library Strategic Plan on a 5 – 2 vote, with Jim Monahan and Neal Andrews voting against. Mr. Andrews would like to opt out of the County Library System and have the City run its own library system. At the suggestion of several Council members, evaluation criteria and methods of measuring outcomes will become a part of the implementation of the Strategic Plan. There was much interest in an East Ventura library presence and that will be a priority for the working group which will be appointed to implement the Plan. The County Library System is very cooperative and has already implemented or is in the process of implementing recommendations in the Plan.
The County Library Foundation is exploring funding sources for a Bookmobile which could be in operation before the end of the year. This is a stop-gap measure for East Ventura, but, at the least, there will be some library presence until a more permanent location can be established. Any permanent location will mean identifying sources of funding outside the City budget. This will be the focus of future community outreach efforts.
Library Advisory Commission presents Recommendations to City Council
On Monday, November 14, after three hours of deliberation, Ventura City Council voted 5-2 to adopt the recommendations made by the city’s Library Advisory Commission and Library Strategic Planning Committee.
The recommendations were jointly developed by the Library Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Library Advisory Commission in a joint session on October 12. Both bodies worked to modify the language of the recommendations made by Santiago Library Consulting to reflect their preferred language and direction. Specifically, the group determined they did not support the consultant’s proposal to downsize E.P. Foster to operations to one floor.
The recommendations as approved unanimously by the Committee and Commissioners
include the following 9 points and are not listed in a priority ranking:
- Refresh the entire collection in both locations in consultation with City representatives and County staff. Exception: local history, rare materials, reference
- Refocus to adopt a more patron-centric work focus. Staff will be working to develop programs and to increase one-on-one interaction with the public to raise the level of engagement with patrons. There is a need for increased bilingual staff to serve an increasingly diverse community.
- Refurbish the library furnishings to accommodate all ages with low shelving,comfortable seating and flexible technology. Signage, book displays, tables,conversation areas, magazine and newspaper areas all need attention.
- Merchandizing ideas should be incorporated into the design of the library. The displays will encourage higher circulation and collection use.
- Reallocate existing funds to acquire “fresh” materials for the collection with special attention to DVD’s, current titles, paperbacks for teens, adults and children.
- Reconfigure the technology area to make the space more inviting. Provide new technologies like e-book readers, laptops, tablets and educational computer games. Provide strong Wi-Fi throughout the facilities and meeting rooms.
- Rethink how programming can be provided to the community. Increase PR and marketing efforts and internet presence to provide greater awareness of the current services offered.
- Reach out to the Latino population in our community. Current service does not provide a focus to this growing community demographic. Programming and material enhancement is needed at all locations.
- Prioritize the creation of a plan to establish a library presence on the east side of town, and determine the resources necessary to implement the plan. The Committee recognizes that the east side of Ventura is underserved, and that a stable source of revenue, including potential use of private funds, will need to be raised and set aside to correct this deficiency.
The Library Advisory Commission formulated two additional recommendations to present to the City Council.
- LAC recommends that Council accept as endorsed the nine points forwarded to the Council in the Staff Report and to work towards implementation immediately upon Council’s approval.
- LAC recommends that Council direct staff to work with the Commission and Ventura County Library Services to seek any and all funding sources and community partnerships to support the achievement of the long-term goals of this process.
City Council also adopted a proposal to form a committee consisting of representatives from City Council, city staff, Strategic Plan Steering Committee and Library Advisory Commission to work with the County Library System to implement the adopted recommendations. This committee will report to the City Council in April 2012.
To read the documents that have been developed through this process, go to the city’s website. To read the account of the meeting published in the Ventura County Star, go to their website.
San Buenaventura Friends of the Library president Kathy Thomson comments appeared in the Star: Bring ‘great equalizer’ into tech age.
Berta Defren Steele, Chair of the Ventura City Library Advisory Commission and vice-president of SBFOL commented: Proposals can be achieved within Ventura’s budget.
Michael Tapia, member of the Library Strategic Plan Steering Committee and principal at Montalvo Elementary School, commented: Public library a treasure for kids and community.
Joint Meeting of the Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the Library Advisory Commission
A joint meeting of the Library Strategic Planning Committee and the Library Advisory Commission was held on October 12, 2011.
Recommendations from the library consultant, MaryEllin Santiago, were received at this meeting and can be found here.
Minutes from the joint meeting of October 12 can be found here.
The Library Strategic Planning Process continues
On September 14, the Library Strategic Planning Committee met again with library consultant MaryEllin Santiago. The Ventura Star reported on that meeting: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/sep/15/ventura-libraries-need-new-perks-but-staying-may
There is also a report of the meeting at the city manager’s blog.
In August and September, final information gathering (from the community, organizations and agencies) was completed. The Consultant’s Request for Information which was used to develop four different plans for library service to be presented to the City Council and Frequently Asked Questions about the Library Strategic Planning Process are available at the city’s website.
The meeting of the Library Strategic Steering Committee held on October 12 finalized its recommendations to the Library Advisory Commission and the City Council.