Community conversations to shape Loutit's future

Matt DeYoung • Jul 16, 2018 at 9:00 AM

What are the roles of a library in a community? What does a library need to do to meet community needs? What are the challenges to meet those needs?

Those are the questions being considered during a series of community conversations to help Loutit District Library craft a new master plan.

“We started down this road about a year ago,” said Laura Kraly, the head of adult services for the Grand Haven library. “I sit on the planning committee for the library and our strategic plan had come to the end of its practical usefulness.”

Kraly had undergone training through the Harwood Institute, and is putting that training to use in this process.

“Their emphasis is turning outward — instead of assuming you know what people need, you ask people what they need and then listen to them,” she said.

Patrick Moran, president of the Greater Ottawa County United Way, moderated the opening session last week and will do the same for three more sessions planned over the coming weeks.

At last Wednesday’s session, several ideas were discussed, including:

— utilizing the Robbins Road property;

— providing technology access across resources, regardless of income;

— creating a mobile library;

— embracing technology while serving all generations; 

— collaborate with other groups throughout the community;

— find a permanent source of funding.

“I thought the funding part was interesting because most people don’t understand how the library is funded — by your property taxes,” Kraly said. “I thought the mobile library thing is fascinating. I’ll be really interested to see if that comes up in any of our other conversations. It’s something I think would be amazing, but also incredibly costly and staff-intensive.”

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