Bellwood Library Embarks On First-Ever Strategic Plan

Saturday, April 27, 2019 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews

Bellwood Public Library recently embarked on its first-ever strategic plan study, in order to figure out the best way to better serve the community and attract more patrons.

At the moment, the process is still in the early stages. Bellwood residents can fill out an online community survey, which will be up on the library website until May 6.

The library is also planning to hold focus groups in the beginning of May. The resulting information will be used to set the library priorities between the start of 2020 and the end of 2022.

During a meeting on March 12, the Bellwood Library Board of Trustees approved a contract with Amanda Standerfer, who runs Fast Forward Libraries, a library community planning consulting firm. Standerfer will help facilitate the library’s strategic planning process.

Unlike the library districts in the neighboring Maywood and Broadview, Bellwood Public Library is a municipal library, which means that it falls completely within the village it serves and the library is funded through the village’s tax levy — not its own.

According to Amy Crump, the library’s director, 5,244 Bellwood residents have library cards. According to the U.S. Census, Bellwood’s population is roughly 19,100. This means that about two-thirds of residents aren’t taking advantage of the resource their property taxes help pay for.

Crump said that she hopes the process will both increase the number of Bellwood residents who hold library cards and enhance services for all residents — whether they have cards or not.

Bellwood library is part of the same library sharing network as Chicago Public Library and most libraries in the suburban Cook County. This means that, just as Bellwood Library patrons can use other libraries by registering their cards, patrons from other libraries can register their cards at Bellwood library.

Crump said she isn’t sure how many non-Bellwood residents use her library, but it is something that the survey takes into account.

Crump said that she hasn’t been able to find any records of Bellwood Library doing any strategic plans in its past. To take the online survey, click here. VFP

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