L.D. Fargo Public Library
Lake Mills, WI
2016-2020 Strategic Plan
The mission of the L. D. Fargo Public Library is to serve the people of Lake Mills and the surrounding area as a reading, learning, entertainment, cultural, and technological center.
The L.D. Fargo Public Library has operated in the same downtown building since opening day on October 7, 1902. Our building was specifically built as a public library with donations by Lorenzo Dow Fargo. Mr. Fargo and his contemporaries recognized the importance of public libraries and gave us, his community descendants, and a facility that still serves the public. The library serves the City of Lake Mills and the Towns of Lake Mills, Aztalan, Milford, Waterloo, and Jefferson. Our service population is about 10,000 people and covers wide a range of socioeconomic areas.
The library is a downtown destination and a draw for visitors. Our central location is easily accessible for residents and within walking distance of three public, and one private, schools. Our circulation is closely balanced between adult and children’s materials and digital formats like DVD and CD are still in demand.
The library meeting room is used up to 400 times a year for library events and public reservations. Our 2015 program attendance was 5,284 for all children and adult programs. Our circulation (physical check-outs of library materials) in 2015 was 91,966. Over a quarter of those items were borrowed from libraries within our library system.
The Strategic Plan was a process that explored our strengths and weaknesses. We’ve used that information to focus on three important areas of library service. Over the next four years we will focus on:
- Our library space. How can we improve our current space and plan for expansion?
- Library marketing. How do we inform the public of our services and draw people into our building?
- Library programming. What do we offer to draw people into the building?
The Library Board will review Strategic Planning goals and plans quarterly. Reviews will be done at the January, April, July, and October Board meetings.
Precise goals and plans will be developed by the library staff and the Library Board. Plans will include benchmarks and quantifiable goals.
A Note from the Board President
April 29, 2016
Welcome to my library. It’s your library, too and you should be proud of it. It’s the oldest library in the state built to be a library and operating as one continuously since 1902, serving the public for over a century all under the same roof.
The granite boulder walls housing this structure have withstood time, nature, and the elements. It has felt history flow by: world wars, the depression, the wild 50’s, the flowery 60’s all the way to the present. Time has marched on while families, dignitaries, colorful characters and people of every persuasion imaginable have graced our walls. Just by walking through the doors—your doors—you add a little bit more to the history of this place.
It’s been too long; please stop by for a visit. Check out a book, video, CD, a laptop or an ebook. Take advantage of one of dozens of programs aimed at toddlers, teens, adults and seniors. Come see what’s going on at the library. Your library.
Shaun D. Bollig
A Message from the Library Director
Thank you for reading our report. The Library staff and Board have spent considerable time and thought into planning what the library can and should be doing. Contact myself or any Library Board member with any questions or comments.
Strategic Planning Process
During the course of the first nine months of 2015 information and data was gathered and assessed to develop the strategic plan.
- Community Survey – The Lake Mills Community Survey ran June 15- August 10, 2015, and was intended to capture the use, perceptions, and expectations of the Lake Mills Public Library from the community in order to guide the development of the library’s strategic plan. The survey was offered both online and in print. There were 64 total responses.
- Gale Analysis of Demographics and Library Usage – Data from the shared catalog was analyzed using Gale’s Analytics on Demand software to study circulation among distinct demographic groups.
- Inventory of Library Assets and Capacities – Staff and board members filled out an inventory sheet and assessed the assets and capacities of the L.D. Fargo Public Library.
- Comparison of L.D. Fargo P.L. to Other Libraries – The Division for Libraries and Technology collects annual report information from all public libraries in Wisconsin. This information is used to compare various factors of service and funding with other libraries of a similar size. We compared libraries that were within 10% of Lake Mills for their municipal and service populations and total library budget.
- Impact Survey of Library Technology Use – The Impact Survey, a research initiative from the University of Washington with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is an online survey tool designed specifically for public libraries that want to better understand their communities and how people use their public technology resources and services.
- Community Conversations – On April 15 and 16, 2015 the library convened community members, library supporters and board members. Through a facilitated process, the attendees contributed and developed ideas for the library around the aspirations of the community. Discussions covered the library’s strengths, weaknesses and suggested changes.
- Strategic Planning Meeting of Board and Staff – On August 29, 2015 members of the library staff and board members to develop strategic goals and initiatives for the library.
Thanks to the many Lake Mills residents and library visitors who gave their time and effort that helped us plan the library’s future. Our process was guided by the expertise of Bruce Smith of WiLS.
Goal #1 – Space
Effectively use existing and new resources to increase the flexibility of the library space, improve ease of access to the library, and perform general maintenance of the building.
- Building expansion. Planning for the future.
- Expansion budgeted for 2020.
- Tasks to include: informing public, fundraising preparation, gather public input, examine past expansion plans.
- Improve parking.
- Dependent on library expansion plans.
- Options include leveling the lot, repaving, adding spaces, moving handicap space.
- Improve study space options, both independent and collaborative spaces.
- Changing configuration of meeting room to include new meeting space on stage.
- Modifying study tables.
- Dividing tables into carrel-like configuration
- Add power and data for customers.
- Investigate converting current basement storage room into meeting space.
- Investigate possibility of offsite storage.
- Identify options to provide areas for patrons to make use of their own devices through the library’s wireless connection. This could include outside the building.
- Identify cost effective options for maintenance of the library building to alleviate this work being done by library staff.
Goal #2 – Marketing
Increase awareness of resources and services for users and non-users.
- Develop marketing plan.
- Investigate existing marketing plans for libraries and other public organizations.
- Make use of available expertise, including assistance from the library system, to develop a marketing plan for library resources and services.
- Consider role of library to provide centralized events calendar for community.
- Example: Columbus calendar. Columbus created a community events calendar that collects information from several resources and organizations. The library is seen as the host of the calendar and as a community center.
Goal #3 – Programming
Strive to increase programming to community members of all ages. The library should continue to be a destination.
- Increase outreach to community members for who English is a second language, particularly the Spanish speaking community.
- Work with the Bridges Library System staff to develop promotional and how-to-use materials for the Gale Courses offerings provided by the Bridges Library System. When applicable, partner adult program offerings with related Gale Courses.
- Identify and provide new programming for children in grades K-5. Programming for popular subjects like Minecraft.
- After school gathering opportunities.
- Pilot offering kid’s programming in the afternoon or on Saturdays.
- Host themed sleepovers or movie nights.
- Investigate the library as a location for gaming clubs like euchre or sheepshead.
- Importance of offering intellectual discussion. Discussions of important events and themes.
- Develop shared interest group programming for older community members to provide social connection opportunities that could include clubs that meet around travel, environment, arts, reading and board games.
- Continue to partner with academic institutions to connect community members to online learning opportunities like MOOC’s.
- Explore options to have author visits, including remotely via Skype.
- Partner with high school to have technology savvy students teach older community patrons how to use different technological devices.