Community Needs Assessment – Your ideas are overdue!

The Poudre River Public Library District is at a stage in its organizational life when it needs to take pause and re-assess services and programs. After eight years of successful growth and expansion as a separate government entity, it’s time to circle back to our generous and supportive public to make certain we are meeting the needs of our community. For that reason the Board of Trustees has contracted with Slate Communications to facilitate a community needs assessment to gather your ideas and opinions about the Library District’s future. How can we best serve both the individual customer who uses our services in-person or remotely as well as meet the community’s informational and educational needs in these times of rapid technological and societal change?

To refresh your memory and as a point of reference for newcomers to our service area, the Poudre River Public Library District came into existence almost eight years ago when voters approved the funding of a Library District. Prior to 2007, the Library was a department of the City of Fort Collins. Our service area is 1,800 square miles and its boundaries are similar to those of Poudre School District. Since 2007, we have enhanced and increased our facilities. Council Tree Library opened in 2009, Old Town Library was expanded and remodeled in 2012, and Harmony Library was remodeled in 2012 in cooperation with our partner, Front Range Community College-Larimer Campus. Enhancements to Library Park were completed in 2014. Also, administrative and support staff moved into a separate building, Webster House, to free up more space for public use at the Old Town Library. Our collections now include a wide array of digital content including eBooks, digital music and audio and research databases in addition to over 400,000 print and audio-visual items. Over one million people walk through our doors each year and over 3 million items are checked-out or downloaded annually.

The Library District has achieved the ambitious goals of its most recent strategic plan and the 2009 Master Facilities Plan. Now, we need your help in identifying and prioritizing programs and services that will be relevant for the next five years.

The needs assessment kicked off in November 2014 when nearly seventy stakeholders and library advocates participated in focus groups held at our three libraries. Currently, all residents of the Library District are being asked to share their thoughts, and prioritize the many different ways that our public library can better serve the public by participating in a survey that will be live until January 31. The survey is available on-line at or you can fill out a paper copy at one of the libraries. You will be asked to select amenities, improvements and programs you would like to see in our libraries, identify barriers to use, prioritize funding allocated to different areas, and give feedback on both digital and traditional services.

Our consultants will summarize the responses and make specific recommendations to the Board of Trustees in March. The recommendations will be taken into consideration as board and library employees craft a new strategic plan later in the year.

The survey takes only 10 minutes to complete and respondents may enter a drawing to win one of four $50 DBA gift cards. I encourage community members to participate and to think big and bold. Your ideas are overdue!