Fayetteville Public Library seeks input on future services

Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain Street

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

The Fayetteville Public Library will soon begin a series of public input sessions to gather feedback on future services and the library’s role in the community.

The meetings begin Saturday, April 6 and continue through Thursday, April 11 at various locations around town.

Public Meetings

Sat, April 6: 10 a.m., parents and small children, FPL, Walker Community Room
Sat, April 6: 2 p.m., tweens and teens, FPL, Leverenz Room
Sun, April 7: 3:30 p.m., public session, FPL, Walker Community Room
Mon, April 8: 7 p.m., public session, FPL, Walker Community Room
Wed, April 10: 1:30 p.m, public session, NWA Mall Sears wing
Wed, April 10: 4 p.m., public session, McNair Middle School cafeteria
Thur, April 11: 6:30 p.m., public session, Boys & Girls Club, Multipurpose Room

In February, the library’s board commissioned Jeffrey Scherer, FAIA of Meyer, Scherer, & Rockcastle, Ltd. of Minneapolis, along with Anders Dahlgren of Library Planning Associates, to conduct a needs analysis and facilities study. The study will result in an updated long-range master plan that will evaluate the existing facility, identify future service goals, facility implications for the recommended service goals, and develop a series of future action plans. The final report is expected October 2013.

“This is an important step in ensuring the library continues to meet and exceed the needs of this community well into the future,” said David Johnson, the library’s executive director. “Our library is a national recognized library based on innovation and quality, this process will help us plan for change and growth that will keep us among leading libraries.”

The Meyer, Scherer, & Rockcastle team is familiar with the library and its rapid growth. In 1997, the group conducted the first public sessions and produced the libary’s first 20-year master plan.

According to a library news release, the original 20-year plan was completed in 1998 at a time when the population of Fayetteville was about 58,000. The city is now home to over 75,000 people – an increase of 129 percent. The plan projected a growth to 85,000 by 2020, a figure that has been confirmed in recent city planning projections. During the period between 2004 when the library opened and 2011, officials say library customers increased their use of materials by 155 percent, program attendance by 128 percent and circulation by 172 percent. The library has increased it’s collection by 155 percent. During the same period, “virtual visitors” increased by 750 percent.

“These statistics clearly demonstrate that the residents have signaled their passion for learning,” said Scherer. “This current master plan update will account for this passion as well as exciting new trends in library use such as maker-spaces, collaborative opportunities and interactive learning and programming spaces.”

The first public meeting, entitled “Is the Fayetteville Public Library Future Proof?”, will include a brief synopsis of the library’s growth since 1998, a presentation of library best practices and trends from around the globe from Scherer, and most importantly a public discussion of what the community envisions for the library. Each meeting will last approximately 90 minutes.

For more information, contact Brandi Holt, the library’s marketing and communication manager, at 479-856-7105.