Mid-Columbia Libraries begins an online survey of residents in three counties today to help improve library services and, possibly, develop new services. The 18-question survey is available for three weeks, in both English and Spanish, on the library district’s social channels and website at midcolumbialibraries.org.
The survey is open to any resident 18 and over living in a city served by MCL, which covers Benton, Franklin and parts of Adams counties. Those living in some select census-designated and unincorporated communities, as well as visitors to any of the 12 branch locations, may also participate. All participants who complete the survey are entered to win an Apple iPad mini and can pick up a free book bag from their local branch, while supplies last.
“We’re asking our communities to help shape the future of their local libraries,” said Sara Schwan, advocacy and development manager at MCL. “Our communities created these libraries. They pay for these libraries. So we need to continue providing not just resources, but the right resources, based on community feedback, in the right venues and with ease of access.”
The survey asks respondents to rate the importance of quality-of-life influencers such as cultural diversity, educational opportunities, career programs, social connections and access to resources. It also explores associated demographic characteristics such as income, ethnicity and age.
“Our goal is inclusiveness,” Schwan said. “We want a truly balanced representation of the diverse voices out there. Please, pause a few moments to voice your needs and take this survey.”
To prepare for the survey, MCL held nine focus groups and town halls, some only in Spanish, with residents and organizations from the Tri-Cities, Prosser, Connell and Othello.
“We listened to a diverse group of people, who identified some real strengths, such as our early literacy programs,” said Schwan. “But we also heard concern about information availability, particularly for those in unserved, underserved or historically marginalized communities. There also seems to be a desire for more multilingual resources beyond Spanish. These are just a few of the concerns that the survey will help us better understand and plan for.”
MCL aims to efficiently use its limited resources to address the most common wants and needs of those it serves, be it leisure, education, community integration, or any other service that one might seek from their hometown library. MCL will study the results and, working with its community partners, use the insights to ensure the library district continues providing the best value to taxpayers and its communities as a whole.
After accessing the survey site, participants will be asked to enter their ZIP code. Users will be allowed to proceed only if they enter a ZIP code from Benton City, Basin City, Burbank, Connell, Eltopia, Finley, Kahlotus, Kennewick, Mesa, Othello, Pasco, Prosser, Paterson, Plymouth or West Richland.