Niles District Library lays out vision for the future

What will the Niles District Library look like in five years, 10 years, even 15 years down the road?

What kind of services will it provide to the community?

Who will be using it?

What will people be using it for?

These are the types of questions library staff and its board of directors set out to answer in creating a strategic plan that will help guide the library toward reaching future goals.

Director Nancy Studebaker said much time was spent gathering information internally and from the community about what the library should look like in the future.

“It gives us the big destination that we all know we want to shoot for,” she said. “It also helps us figure out what our smaller, shorter terms goals need to be in order to get there.”

The library’s plan, or vision, was created in 2014 and updated late last year.

It includes a vision statement, mission statement and six focus areas.

The key areas of the plan are:


The library is building a community of lifelong learners who will make Niles their lifelong home.


Niles District Library will provide our community with access and guidance to resources that inform, entertain and enrich.


• Building — We leverage the community’s investment in a beautiful library building in ways that benefit Niles.

• Learning — We offer programs to encourage lifelong learning and personal fulfillment.

• Community — We offer programs and services that improve the quality of life and sense of pride in our community.

• Marketing — We are one of the things that people love the most about living in Niles.

• Traditional library services — Everyone in our community uses our readers’ and information services.

• Librarians and leaders — Everyone who volunteers or works for the library is passionate about the library’s mission and vision.

A link to the entire document can be found here and on Niles District Library’s website.

Studebaker provided a few highlights: As for the focus on the building itself, Studebaker said the library is constantly looking for organizations that need space in which to hold regular meetings or special community events.

“We are looking for ways that our building can be a benefit,” she said, adding that several organizations already use the library for the purposes stated above.

Studebaker said the central piece of the library’s vision remains its focus on learning. Part of that effort, she said, would be determining how to decide if a new program or service is a success.

“Right now we are trying lots of new things. Some are successes and some are not,” she said. “At some point we will have to decide which ones we will drop and which ones we will continue to move forward.”

Studebaker also said the library is collaborating with other organizations with the goal of improving student success.

“We want to be a piece of that and we want to do things that will work toward that,” she said.

For the focus on community, Studebaker said the library wants to expand efforts to improve the local economy by providing job fairs and workshops on resume writing and other job-finding skills.

The library is also looking at ways to transform and update traditional library services using new technology.


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