One of our frequently asked questions is about funding for a new Appleton Public Library. During the October 1 City of Appleton Common Council meeting, Mayor Hanna released his budget which includes $30 million for the library project, spread over a three-year period. The funding in his budget breaks down to $5 million for 2015, and $12.5 million for 2016 and 2017. Council will have a month to review the entire City of Appleton budget. A public comment session is part of the budget process and is scheduled for November 5 at 6:00 pm at City Hall. The entire budget is available for viewing online on the City of Appleton website, or via paper in City Hall or here at the library.
R. David Lankes, professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies once tweeted, “Bad libraries build collections. Good libraries build services (of which a collection is one). Great libraries build communities.” Here at Appleton Public Library, we take those 127 characters to heart and strive to build communities every day.
With the help of our community, we have created a new vision and strategies that are based on this notion, because every single person in our community deserves a great library. Our facility plays an important role in how successfully we can implement our vision and strategies. With your help, we have decided that to be successful, we need a new facility, and the best location for that new facility is in the area of Appleton that will bridge the waterfront to the downtown area.
Friends of Appleton Public Library recently hired Library Strategies, an independent consulting group with 24 years of experience conducting accurate feasibility studies across the nation solely for libraries. Friends of APL hired this consulting group for two reasons:
1) To quantify the private financial support and
2) To learn from a neutral source what major donors really think about the proposed library project.
It was important for the city’s budget figures to set accurate and realistic expectations for the private portion of the public/private partnership envisioned for a new library. After private interviews this summer with individuals and organizations identified as potential major donors, here were the key findings for our area:
We get a lot of questions about the future of libraries. One of the more common questions is, "Why do we need libraries when the trend is away from the printed page?" Libraries aren't just about books; instead they're about what you do with the knowledge you acquire through resources like books. Libraries have always changed, as we will continue to evolve as the changing nature of acquiring and sharing information provides many exciting opportunities for libraries and communities.
In the past, library spaces revolved around books and objects. Furniture was substantial and the focus was on the storage of physical resources. Today's libraries are flexible spaces designed around people, discovery and social interaction. Today's libraries also focus on measuring success through meaningful impact, rather than simply the output numbers libraries have relied on in the past.