Coatesville Area Public Library Strategic Plan
The Coatesville Area Public Library (CAPL), founded in 1877 by Isabelle Lukens Huston, occupied several temporary locations in its early years, beginning in what was described as a “small shack” on the site later occupied by Devitt’s Hardware. In the early Twentieth century, when the YMCA became established in Coatesville, the Library was invited to use an area at that location. As library use continued to grow, more space was needed and that prompted a move to Benner School in 1941, where the Library used two rooms.
By 1948, Benner School was experiencing crowded conditions of its own so the Library moved to rooms at the National Bank of Coatesville.
In 1952, the Library had the opportunity to purchase the former Braunstein home on Lincoln Highway. This served as the Library’s permanent home until 1974, when Dr. Michael C. Margolies donated land for the construction of a new permanent library building. Presently the facility has an area of 14,000 square feet.
Just as the facility has changed over the years, so have the services of the library. From books in a “small shack,” it has evolved into a contemporary facility with books and materials for all ages, audio and visual materials, as well as access to eBooks and Downloadable Audio, and Internet access. The next few years will see us providing access to eReaders and other new technologies to access the world of eBooks.
The past three years have been a time of extreme budget crisis for libraries. Large cuts from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the recent economic recession have been hard on Coatesville Area Public Library. These factors also mean that the library, especially in a community such as Coatesville, is more necessary than ever.
With the hiring of a new Library Director in January of 2011, the Board of Directors is looking toward the future with fresh eyes, focused on key strategic issues that continue to face CAPL.
Recent Achievements include:
- Addition of two computers in our Youth Area.
- Use of Envisionware software, thus allowing the patrons to sign up for computers themselves, freeing staff time.
- Weeding collections to make better use of existing materials and provide access to new materials.
- Hired a new Library Director in January, 2011.
- Continued updating of the library interior to provide better access to the collection and a more pleasurable library experience.
The Coatesville Area Public Library is administered by a Board of Trustees under the provisions of the Pennsylvania Library Code. Board membership consists of appointed members from the municipalities within the Library service area and at-large appointments.
The mission of the Coatesville Area Public Library is to serve the residents of its service area with a variety of library materials and services that provide for the educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of its residents.
- To maintain a collection of library materials for the general use of the public in an atmosphere for study and recreational reading.
- To serve as a reliable information center for the community.
- To offer information technology resources beyond those of the library as a member of the Chester County Library System.
- To function as a center for activities of interest to adults and children of the service area.
Coatesville Area Public Library will continue to provide services and programs to its constituency with the following areas of focus.
- Basic Literacy – The Library can push residents to achieve higher literacy, a better trained and more skilled workforce, and a growing tax base, economy, and population.
- Information Literacy – The Library can help all residents learn how to use online resources and current technology to improve their education, to enhance their job skills, and to participate fully in a digital society.
- Civic and Social Literacy – The Library can give residents of all ages the knowledge and skills they need to improve their lives, to contribute effectively in their communities, and to participate in civil discourse.
- Health Literacy – The Library can play an important role in helping residents actively manage their own and their family’s well-being, making them effective partners with their health care providers and reducing costs.
- Financial Literacy – The Library can help residents become informed consumers and guide individuals, small businesses, and other organizations to contribute to the economic vitality of their communities.
This will be achieved though the Library’s Key Roles
- Popular Materials Library
- Pre-schoolers’ Door to Learning
- Reference Library
- Life-long Education Support Center
- Community Center
Library Stakeholders are defined as individuals or groups that have a vested interest in the Library and its service programs. They will be to be considered when service changes are being contemplated or planned.
The current communities served by CAPL include Coatesville, South Coatesville, Modena, West Caln, Sadsbury, Valley, Caln, West Brandywine, and West Bradford
The current and future climate in which the Library provides service was considered in preparing the Coatesville Area Public Library Strategic Plan:
- The number of people below the poverty level may increase.
- There may be more children in groups in need of service.
- Area residents’ information needs will increase.
- The size and demographic make-up of the population may vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.
- Cooperation between the citizenry and the Library is essential.
- The population will continue to grow older; retirees will have a higher educational level.
- Minority groups may make up a higher percentage of the city’s population.
- The inadequate literacy skills of a significant portion of the population will continue to include individuals with adult basic information needs.
- The Library will experience an increase in demand for current information and materials, new formats, information services, and staff time.
- Library users’ needs change area-wide as populations shift and society’s assumptions, cultural patterns, technologies, etc. evolve.
- There may be different communities within the area needing special and distinct library services.
- Library users will continue to demand more convenient and faster access as well as delivery of library materials, services, and new technologies that address their changing needs.
Financial outlook & responsibilities
Without continued support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Chester County, and local municipalities, as well as our community and the private sector, the Library will not have the funding to provide all services which are needed by the library user.
- Technology costs will continue to consume a large portion of the library’s budget.
- Material collection costs will continue to rise dramatically.
- Basic library services will continue to be free.
- Municipalities and library support groups will continue to need cultivation, information and education about the services the Library provides to our community.
- Library leadership must address the staff’s need for improved skills and competencies in order to keep pace with changing programs and technologies.
- There will be a growing need to explore the mix of full-time and part-time staffing patterns in order to provide for efficient and effective library service.
- Volunteers and community service persons will continue to play an ongoing role in supporting library services.
- The Library’s facilities will continue to need upgrading and improved maintenance.
- There will continue to be an expectation by the municipalities that the Library budget will generate a portion of its own revenue.
- The Library features current, high-demand, high interest materials in a variety of formats for persons of all ages.
- The Library actively promotes and encourages the use of its collection.
- Merchandising techniques such as face-out shelving, attractive displays and browsing areas are promoted within the Library.
- Special booklists are distributed and materials displayed to inform users about library resources on current relevant topics.
- Staff is knowledgeable about current popular interests and anticipates publishing trends, including new formats.
- Measurement of effective service includes circulation statistics, library card registration, door counts and area’s population.
Preschoolers’ Door to Learning
- The Library promotes development of literacy skills beginning at birth.
- The Library provides access to materials on literacy, parenting, child care, child development as well as enrichment materials for children.
- Collaboration with other child-serving agencies in the community is ongoing.
- The Library provides literacy and entertainment programs for children, beginning at birth.
- Library staff is knowledgeable about early childhood development, children’s literature and materials suitable and appealing to young children.
- Library staff is able to present literacy programming for children beginning at birth.
- The Library’s collection will be easily accessible to young children.
- Open space is available for programs.
- Measurement of effective service includes circulation of youth collection, programs offered and attendance.
- The Library provides on-site, telephone, and virtual reference services.
- The Library actively provides timely, accurate and useful information for area residents in their pursuit of job-related and personal interests.
- The Library participates in inter-library loan and cooperative reference services to meet user needs for information not available in-house.
- The Library maintains circulating, in-house and virtual resources on a wide range of subjects.
- A current collection of serial and periodical publications is maintained.
- The Library staff is knowledgeable regarding reference resources.
- Virtual resources are accessible both in the library and remotely.
- Photocopy equipment for print materials is available for a reasonable fee.
- Measurement of effective service includes statistics of transactions in person, by phone and virtually, both in-house use per capita and online.
Life-Long Education Support Center
- The Library offers tours for groups.
- The Library might gather together and/or reserve special materials for group needs.
- The Library collects materials on subjects of interest to students without supporting a particular curriculum or attempting to meet the demand for multiple copies for group assignments.
- Resources include a wide variety of formats.
- Staff is knowledgeable about education programs in the community and work with local educators.
- Youth Services Specialist maintains awareness of curriculum needs and trends.
- Technology is accessible for student use
- Photocopy equipment is available for a reasonable fee.
- Measurement of effective service includes number of class visits and attendance and computer statistics
- The Library displays current information on community organizations, issues and events.
- The Library provides access to state and federal tax forms, publications and tax guides.
- The Library provides applications for voter registration.
- The Library presents programs in the public interest and co-sponsors such programs with other community organizations.
- The Library subscribes to local newspapers, neighborhood publications and newsletters of local agencies and organizations.
- The Library provides local directories, catalogs of local schools and educational organizations, and locally published guides to social services.
- The staff is knowledgeable about community resources and services.
- Library staff is in the community, participates in community organizations, and keeps abreast of local issues.
- Staff presents public service talks and other programs to groups visiting the Library.
- The Library provides fax service to the public for a nominal fee.
- The Library provides limited space for community bulletin boards.
- The Library provides limited space for give-away community publications.
- The Library provides meeting room space free of charge to library support groups.
- Space is rented to businesses and other private organizations
- Measurement of effective service includes number and attendance at library sponsored and community sponsored activities as well as circulation of library materials.
Improve Library Facilities
- Develop a plan for building maintenance to include new technology.
- Install smoke detector system to meet current building code requirements.
- Apply for grants to upgrade building safety, including a sprinkler system, and improved accessibility.
Increase library funding
- Develop a systematic funding and marketing plan.
- Seek new funding to expand library hours and staff positions.
Increase efficiency of library operations
- Develop a policy and procedures manual.
- Develop a current personnel and volunteer policy
- Develop an emergency manual.
- Develop a training and continuing education plan.