Chappaqua Library Long Range Strategic Plan 2017-2021
I. Master Plan
All previous long range plans for the library listed inadequate parking and insufficient physical space as the most compelling needs expressed by the community.
In 2014 the library conducted a master plan with the assistance of an architectural firm, Tilly Associates, focusing on the interior space needs in relation to the community use of the library and patron requests. The plan recommended increased space for the children’s room, ADA compliant bathrooms, quiet meeting and study space for adults, an enclosed area for teen study and activities and a cafe with flexible space. In 2016, this plan was used as part of the Chappaqua Central School District construction bond referendum which resulted in an approval of $1.7 million for capital improvements to the library. Architects from KG&D will be working with the library to develop plans and specifications with construction anticipated to begin sometime in 2018.
The original building still needs to be maintained given its age and the need to continuously maintain the physical plant infrastructure.
In 2011 the Library Board contracted with Didona Associates to explore the possibility of expanding parking within the boundaries of the library property with respect to the existing covenant. Didona Associates created plans and specifications to add 23 parking spaces to the library property increasing the total number of spaces to 72. In November, 2016, the Library Board approved the final plans and SEQRA documents for the parking project which were sent to the State Education Department for review.
The library has made significant technology changes to improve services over the last few years. The Committee believes that technology will continue to play a large role in the library’s delivery of services to the community especially as streaming content improves; however, implementation of new technology will be subject to cost/benefit analysis.
Our patrons’ use of technology is becoming more mobile with the use of tablets, smartphones, and laptops. On average, patrons using the library have a minimum of two wireless devices. The main source of frustration expressed by patrons is the lack of electrical outlets in convenient locations to charge their devices and that the wireless access points reach capacity at peak times.
- Improve the wireless capacity within the buildin
- Keep the library website/mobile app updated so that all the library resources are as easy to discover as possible on a wide array of devices.
- Install additional electrical outlets and charging stations for patron use.
- Complete the implementation of RFID technology.
- Investigate keeping a supply of laptops (Chrome books or other brand) or tablets for in-library use and instructional programs.
- Provide larger screens for the public access computers.
- Provide privacy screening for the public access computers or furniture that allows for increased viewing privacy.
- Provide listening devices for use by both hearing impaired patrons and those who wish to create a private listening atmosphere.
- Provide coding classes and other technology training for patrons.
- Investigate 3D printing for patron use.
- Investigate the use of chat, messaging and texting as a means for librarians to respond to patron questions.
The library building and many of the furnishings have been in place since 1978. Consideration should be given to the age of the building and the need to continuously maintain the physical plant infrastructure.
- Replace the furniture and comfortable seating as needed with funds from either the budget or donations from the Friends of the Library
- Repair and refurbish areas of the building that will not be affected by the new construction/renovation.
IV. Community Connections
The library is used as a community center for our patrons, a place to socialize, learn, work, and for children and teens, a place to transition as they develop and mature. The Committee believes that the library should continue in this role.
- Create welcome brochures and packets that can be shared with local real estate agencies to promote the library to future residents. Include items for children such as crayons and coloring pages.
- Reach out to local neighbor organizations to promote library services.
- Continue to expand partnerships with Chappaqua schools, the Town Board, New Castle Historical Society and other community organizations.
- Continue to provide the community with excellent and diverse programs.
- Continue the mission of the library to education and inform by continuing to host programs which appeal to all age groups and segments of the community we serve.
- Continue to reach out and inform the community of library programs and services through traditional methods (local newspapers, printed calendars, Library News video program) and social media.
- Continue to provide educational program opportunities through joint partnerships with institutions and organizations such as the Chappaqua Garden Club, Friends of Rocky Hills, Westchester Community College, Purchase College, Pace University, and other local colleges.
- Investigate changing hours of operation shifting from evening hours during the week to evening hours on Friday and Saturday and 9-5 on Sundays.
V. Public Awareness
The greatest challenge is to ensure that the community is aware of the library’s services, programs, classes, and events. The library promotes events using a mix of printed material and social media targeted to different groups.
- Create a more formal public relations plan.
- Obtain email contact information for all patrons to use for notification of future programs, services, and events.
- Continue to identify a network of individuals that would benefit from receiving information about the library programs and services.
- Inform the public and local banks that we provide free notary services.
- Highlight accomplishments of community organizations at the library to bring additional awareness of library services to their members.
- Continue publication of the library’s bi-monthly newsletter and, in addition, to library programs, highlight services for the public such as faxing and notary.
- Continue promoting the library programs and services through social media.
- Continue filming and broadcasting library programs and Library News.
In 2012, New York State mandated a tax cap which imposed greater restrictions on the year-to-year increase in the tax levy available for library operations. In 2015, as part of the New York State Property Tax Freeze, the library was required to participate in an efficiency plan which eliminated an additional $29,000 from the library’s operating budget. The library’s tax levy limit may be overridden by a resolution by a 60% vote of the total voting power of the library’s governing board and approved by a simple majority of voters (more than 50%). If the library successfully overrides the tax cap then the taxpayers will not be eligible for a portion of the Star property tax exemption.
While the allowable levy growth factor from the state keeps shrinking mandated costs (pension and health coverage) keep increasing. Unless New York State adjusts the allowable tax threshold the library will need to consider additional cuts to services or bridge the shortfall by tapping into the library’s limited fund balance reserves.
The Friends of the Library, through their fundraising efforts, pay for many of the programs, DVDs and audiobooks. If the tax threshold continues to shrink then the library may rely on the Friends to support basic services.
- The library administration will request additional funding from the Friends of the Library, above and beyond their normal level of giving.
- Members of the Board, acting on their own behalf, and the Director are encouraged to seek private donations and grant funding wherever possible.
- The Committee appreciates the opportunity to have prepared this plan and recommendations and looks forward to the Board’s consideration of these issues.
Strategic Plan Committee
Pamela Thornton, Director
Martha Alcott, Assistant Director
Erica Gottesman, Vice President of the Library Board of Trustees
Miriam Budin, Head of Children’s Services
Donna Pesce, Head of Teen Services
Katherine Whymark, President of the Friends of the Chappaqua Library
Richard Ma, Member of the Community
Les Werthheim, Member of the Community
Dawn Greenberg, Member of the Community
Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees January 2017