GCLD Community Needs Assessment

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by Polly Gallagher
GCLD Executive Director

When Grand County thinks of its libraries, it thinks of its diverse collection, caring knowledgeable staff, and engaging children’s programs.

Starting mid-pandemic shut down, Grand County Library District (GCLD) underwent a community needs assessment to determine what our community felt we did well, what we should tweak, and how we can better serve the people of Grand County. We greatly appreciate the hundreds of people who responded online to the survey, the many who joined the focus groups providing us further details and probing, and the handful of community stakeholders from around the county representing different constituents rounding out the information gathered and providing direction GCLD should take in the coming years.

Our focus the past period of time has been people, place, and platform. The intent of our strategic plan has been to provide a welcoming place for people to connect with information and ideas in a variety of reliable trustworthy platforms. We placed a focus on collections and children’s programs emphasizing birth to upper elementary. Based on the community needs assessment, we’ve succeeded in meeting this need and are now being asked to build upon this capacity.

Having a diverse, accessible physical collection with access to materials from all over Colorado is a necessity to keep. During the COVID-19 shutdown, GCLD invested more in digital resources and those changes were appreciated and a need to continue identified. Also identified as a community need is the request to expand our Library of Things and Access Grand ticketing program -items you may use once or twice but are not readily available in Grand County through our local shops. Items such as embroidery punch needles, soap molds, pickle ball paddles. Libraries are the original example of shared economy. Additionally, providing tickets to events and services opens up doors to our residents and new interests created. Continue on this path is the request.

Providing greater access to resources is another noted need. Does the library need to be locked within four walls with set hours? Can those hours be expanded? Can you come to us with outreach and off-site programming? Can there be a greater awareness of transportation issues in the community and partnerships developed to aid in this need? We hear the concern and will work to alleviate an issue of access in the coming years. This is not a promise to open our doors 24-7 (though if we could, wouldn’t that be great!) but to work within the community to make changes.

It is recognized that we have fabulous facilities that provide safe, comfortable space for studying, meeting friends, and central locations within towns. The respondents in the needs assessment have asked
us to capitalize on this more.

How can we expand our positive response to children’s services and resources and expand them for teens? With 5 locations, Grand County Library District is a central hub for communities. The request to expand this role through bi-lingual staff
& volunteers, increased STEAM and creative arts programs, mental wellness supports, and continued work with community partners has been identified as well as a need for more effective marketing to spread awareness of many of our programs already in place.

“The library is very significant – more than people realize – to the community and on so many levels,” commented
one focus group participant.

We continue to review feedback and are developing goals and strategies as we develop our strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. It is our role to serve the community of Grand County and to support boundless opportunities. If you would like to review the full GCLD Needs Assessment, view it under “Transparency Documents” on www. gcld.org under The Library District.