Q: How can the Library become more valuable?
• Suggestion: Have a space for reading with a cafe atmosphere.
A: The Library has opened The Snack Stop, which features vending machines with coffee, snacks and other drinks along the west wall of the mezzanine.
• Suggestion: More parking spaces for patrons.
A: The Library’s inadequate parking is our patrons’ most frequently voiced concern. There currently are 104 parking spaces; the number recommended for the existing building is 136. We are addressing this need now rather than waiting until the next referendum, which the Board decided will take place at the earliest in February 2013. The City recently rezoned the block south of the Library to CBD2-Mixed Use Business District, which will permit the Library to use the houses for staff work areas and storage, and also to construct temporary parking. The Library hopes to move ahead with the construction of additional parking as soon as possible. In the meantime, we are freeing space for our patrons by asking library employees to park in off-site locations.
• Suggestion: Expand the collection and have more meeting spaces.
A: There no longer is space for growth of the Library’s book, DVD and audiobook collections. At this point, our focus is on (1) keeping the physical collections current by withdrawing as vigorously as possible older items and duplicate copies to make way for newly published items; (2) building our collection of e-books and other electronic resources.
• Suggestion: More comfortable seating.
A: Again, lack of space for growth and enhancement of services and facilities is a major challenge. We always are on the look-out for nooks where cozy and comfortable seating may be added. Currently, we are evaluating the reference book collection, with the hope that much of it can be withdrawn and replaced with electronic resources in order to free space for additional seating. Since 2000, our service population has grown from 43,917 to over 55,000. This 25% increase in our population is reflected in the increasing use of our facility, which was expanded in 1988 to serve a population of 45,000.
• Suggestion: Drive-up window to pick up books reserved online.
A: Our present building could not accommodate a drive-up window. Even in the building plans that were presented to the community last fall in the failed bond referendum, a drive-up window was not included because of traffic flow, queuing issues, and the ongoing cost to staff and service a drive-up window during all the hours the Library is open.
Q: Respondents asked if the Library could expand its e-book collection.
• A: The Library has made our eMedia Library (e-book and e-audiobook) collections a priority. We’ve been adding more popular titles to our collections, and we’re now able to support more formats and devices (support for Kindles coming soon). Furthermore, we’ve dedicated annual grant monies to growing and improving this evolving collection.
• A: In response to the demand for assistance in learning to use new e-book readers, the Library has added open training sessions. This service will continue to be a focus, utilizing grant funds.
Q: Respondents indicated a need for the Library to address the following communication tools: website and e-mail notifications.
• A: Website – We are reviewing our current website in order to make it easier to navigate and more user-friendly.
• A: E-mail Notifications – We are developing a plan for patrons to “opt-in” to receive electronic updates on programs, services, and Library news.
• A: Text Messages – Patrons may sign-up to receive text messages about their account, renew materials by text anytime, and communicate with Library staff via text or chat during all Library hours.
• A: Newsletter – Because so many of our patrons enjoy receiving our newsletter in the mail, we will continue to send it. However, as suggested by our survey respondents, we will begin offering our newsletter through e-mail notification once our “opt-in” procedure is in place.
Q: Why is eMedia Library not Mac compatible?
• A: Actually, all of our e-books are available to Mac and PC users. We’ve also added an MP3 e-audiobook collection that’s compatible as well. For those WMA e-audiobook files not currently available to Mac users, St. Charles Public Library cardholders may use the download station in the Library to transfer titles to a portable player, such as an iPod.
Q: Can patrons receive event notification at least a month in advance on the homepage?
• A: The Library will add a calendar link above the fold on the homepage for easy access to our event calendar.
Q: Can the Library extend hours-of-operation, especially on the weekend?
• A: The Library Board is considering standardizing summer Sunday hours so they will be Noon to 5:00 p.m. all year long starting in 2012.
Q: Can the Library post a list of new arrivals?
• A: The Library does post monthly New Fiction Releases and Nonfiction Releases as well as New DVDs, which are available at our Reader Services Desks or online at www.stcharleslibrary.org in the right-hand column of the homepage.
Q: The Library is not a quiet place.
• A: The Library has designated quiet areas for reading and studying, such as the Carnegie Business Room and individual study rooms.
Q: Primary reason respondents reported for never using the Library or its services were “no need or interest” (33%).
A: 10 Things You Might Need That Your Library Has:
1. Books and e-books available to download to various e-readers.
2. CDs or downloadable music for music enthusiasts.
3. DVD collection that includes everything from educational films to today’s blockbusters with no rental fees.
4. Internet access and computers as well as free Wi-Fi through the building.
5. Research Computers that allow you to find what you are looking for on any topic. Need to find a new chicken recipe or learn how to change a fuel filter? Go online.
6. Access to subscription databases in the Library or from home via Your St. Charles Public Library Card.
7. Used books at bargain prices in the lobby year round or at one of the Library Friends’ semiannual sales.
8. Story times and other programs and special events for kids from infants through grade 8. Check the Library for educational entertainment for children and grandchildren.
9. Computer classes, book discussion groups, speakers, exhibits, and social activities. A great way to learn new things and make new friends!
10. Reference librarians who are a wonderful resource. Feel free to call, text, or IM your questions during Library hours.
Q: What prevents you from using the Library or its online resources?
• A: Libraries are becoming obsolete – too costly and no longer relevant.
Our Response: Last year, people in St. Charles checked out 1,637,053 books and other library materials from the St. Charles Public Library. And 604,515 unique visitors viewed 2,588,733 library website pages, utilizing the hundreds of electronic resources and e-books available there. I disagree that libraries are obsolete. In addition to serving as a community gathering place, the public library’s role has been and will continue to be to provide organized and affordable access and guidance to recorded information. For every tax dollar spent on the St. Charles Public Library, we return $4 in services. The Library tax is 3.6% of your total local property tax bill – or 3.6 cents of every tax dollar.
• A: Paying 1% of total home value seems silly for a library card.
Our Response: I am baffled by this 1% figure. Someone must have gotten some decimal points mixed up. You actually pay less than 1/10 of 1% of your home value for the many valuable services provided by your library!
Q: What are the best ways for the Library to communicate to you the availability of our resources and services?
• A: Through my child’s school communication.
Our Response: Our Youth Services Department includes Library information in CUSD 303′s online community backpack. Please watch for our announcements on Library services and programming by going to www.d303.org and navigating to the Parents & Students section.
Q: How could the Library become more valuable to you?
• A: Get more comfortable chairs.
Our Response: Although different people have different ideas of what is comfortable, this is a good suggestion and one that we certainly will keep in mind as we replace our current chairs.
• A: System that will tell patrons what books are checked out and what books have been ordered.
Our Response: The Library already offers this service in our online catalog that you may access in the Library or from home. Please ask the Library staff to assist you in taking advantage of the many helpful features of our catalog.
• A: A book drop off box in South Elgin or a Western location near Randall Road due to traffic in town.
Our Response: There is a book drop near Caputo’s at the corner of Randall and Silver Glen Roads in South Elgin. The address is 622 Randall Road.
• A: A better way of displaying DVDs such as by type (new releases, family, action, drama, etc.)
Our Response: First of all, we think this is a very good idea. Libraries always face the issue of whether to shelve books and other items by title or general category. If we can think of ways to overcome some of the following obstacles, we would like to move to that type of arrangement for DVDs. Shelving by category works best with smaller collections, because people who are looking for a specific title that doesn’t lend itself to a specific category have better luck finding it. Decisions on which category to choose for a DVD (for example a family action film or comedy) that falls into more than one category tend to be arbitrary. Rather than a section of new releases, we have considered having a section of DVDs that are new to the library that would include newer releases. However, as mentioned, with this type of arrangement someone who is looking for a specific title faces the inconvenience of having more than one place to search.