As we turn the page on the calendar to begin a new year, we wanted to take a moment to revisit some of the strategic projects that happened in 2021 before looking forward to what you can expect from your libraries in the year ahead.
At the start of the year, we shared with the community some of the strategic projects we had lined up for the year. We’re proud to say that, despite the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty around many of our library services, we were able to accomplish nearly all of our plans.
Here are a few of the highlights.
Enhancements to the Digital Experience
During 2021, we worked with Solus to design and launch a new library app, My Poudre Libraries App. The new app offers improved access to your online library account, library catalog search, events calendar and program registration, digital resources and databases, library locations and hours, and other great content.
Perhaps most importantly, the app stores your 14-digit library card number – and those of your family – for as long as you are logged in.
Children’s Story Stroll and Outdoor Storytimes
Hundreds of families enjoyed Story Strolls around town during 2021. The first one debuted in downtown Fort Collins in February and was quickly followed by versions at Front Range Village Shopping Center, FRCC-Larimer Campus, and other areas around town.
The Story Strolls, combined with our many outdoor storytimes at places like the CSU Environmental Learning Center, gave families an opportunity to get outside and read together in a fun, active way.
Promote Workforce Resilience
2021 was the year of the Great Resignation, but that didn’t mean that people weren’t still searching for new jobs and career opportunities.
One of the new ways the Library District helped job seekers last year was through the new Digital Roots Navigator program and the Northstar Digital Literacy service. Both are free community resources designed to grow individuals’ digital skills and support job searches.
Help Bridge the Digital Divide
The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the digital inequity in communities across the U.S. Many of our friends and neighbors do not have access to technology or internet necessary to work and school. At the start of 2021, Poudre Libraries partnered with the City of Fort Collins to provide Chromebooks for check out.
These tablets are available through our Gadgets & Things Collection along with other take-home technologies like MiFi Hotspots.
New ESL Mentoring Service
The ESL Mentoring service launched in 2021 and quickly became a popular resource for local newcomers and English language learners. The program provides free mentoring to intermediate adult ESL learners who want to improve their language skills.
Mentors help connect learners to the community through partnerships, collaboration, and resource navigation based on learner goals. Learners have gone on to reach goals that include becoming a U.S. citizen, finding new careers and internships, pursuing higher education, and much more.
Improvements to Library Spaces
We are always looking for ways to improve our libraries and make them a welcome place for our community. During the summer, Harmony Library underwent a remodel of its interior spaces along with a much-needed upgrade to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. The project brought more light and open space to public areas.
Old Town Library saw two construction projects in 2021. First, the upgrades to the computer lab area, and then a more extensive refresh, particularly of the lobby and 2nd-floor reading area (which we all like to call the “treehouse” for its beautiful windows overlooking Library Park’s trees).
2022 Fast Forward
Poudre Libraries is excited to see what the new year brings and are hopeful that we can resume additional library services this year as health and safety guidelines allow. We appreciate everyone who has supported the library in our past efforts to bring as many programs and services to the community as possible given the changing pandemic conditions.
There is a lot to look forward to in 2021. Here are just a few of the events and strategic projects slated for this year.
New Executive Director Begins
Our new executive director, Diane Lapierre, took the helm Tuesday of this week. She has a long professional history of success in public libraries, most recently as the director of Loveland Public Library. Everyone at the library is excited for this next chapter for our community.
More Improvements to Library Spaces
This year it’s Council Tree Library’s turn for interior updates. The library’s Teen Area will get a facelift this year in order to support the increased use of the space and meet the changing needs of this group of library users.
A beautiful and welcoming Teen Area sends the message that the library values teens by reserving a space in the library where they can take ownership.
Laptop Lending Kiosk
As part of our efforts to help close the digital gap, we’re investigating a new self-service laptop lending kiosk for customers to check out individual laptops for use inside the library.
These laptops would be available in addition to the existing public computer stations. This project is just getting underway, so stay tuned for more details!
Enjoy Browsing the Collection
Not only will we continue to add materials to our collection (like new organizations in our Curiosity Pass program and new gadgets), but we’re focusing on improving the browsing experience in the libraries.
One of the most enjoyable parts of visiting the library is finding new books and authors on the shelves! This year, look for improved shelving and configurations to provide easier access to materials as you stroll the aisles.
Ongoing EDI Work
Many of you participated in our survey around equity, diversity, and inclusion at the library. Our partners from Think Again will be analyzing the results and sharing with us their recommendations for how we can continue to improve library services to the entire community.
We look forward to hearing feedback on how we can make your library programs, services, and collections even better.
Get Back Out into the Community
One of the activities our library staff has missed the most is interacting with the community at local events and programs. We feel optimistic we can return to more in-person activities around town as health and safety conditions allow.
We’re hopeful that we can get back out on the Book Bike for storytimes and resume in-person outreach programs. In the meantime, we’ll continue to find innovative ways to deliver programs and services to you.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful new year – see you at the library!