All those notes pasted on a board at the Albany Public Library tell you what the writers think will make Albany “better.” What’s that about, I wondered.
The answer came from Amanda Bressler, the assistant library director. It’s an informal sampling of opinions the library is gathering this summer as the staff works on a new strategic plan. In answer to questions, people are invited to leave notes on boards set up at the main library, the Carnegie branch downtown, and at City Hall. They can leave answers on the library’s website as well.
The questions are about Albany in general, not the public library. The first one, a couple of weeks ago, asked what people valued about the town. The current question on Monday was about one thing that would make Albany better. Later on, the questions will be: What do you worry about? What would you like to achieve, and “what or where is the heart of Albany?”
Sounds like a therapist talking, doesn’t it?
Let the library’s Amanda Bressler explain: “Through this survey, we are looking at the broader concerns and desires of the community in order to figure out how our services fit into the big picture in Albany. We know that if we ask library users what they want, the answer will most likely be ‘More of what you are already doing!’ or ‘We love you! Don’t change a thing!’ By asking these questions of both library users and those in the community who might not use the library, we can better serve the entire community and increase the impact of what we offer.”
The survey will continue through Sept. 3. Whether the ideas expressed on the notes find any reflection in the library’s planning, I don’t know. But the people who left the notes — children as well as adults — have reason to feel pleased that somebody gave them a chance to say what they thought. (hh)