LISLE – The results of a community survey did not come as a surprise to Lisle Library District administrators, as residents pointed to parking, building design and technology as main areas for improvement in the library’s future.
The library received more than 260 responses to its Facilities and Land Planning Community Survey, which asked residents to answer questions on the library’s current needs, campus improvements and other future possibilities. Residents completed the survey on paper and online from the end of August through the end of September.
“The survey is a good gauge on what is on the hearts and minds of the community of what they’d like to see out of the library in the next 20 years,” Library Director Shannon Halikias said. “If we are going to consider any improvement, we need to do so slowly and thoughtfully so the public can weigh in.”
On the survey, residents shared various concerns with the library’s parking, something Halikias said the library recognizes as a safety issue and challenge. The lot’s design, lack of parking space and the need for more handicapped spots were a few of the desired improvements.
Richard Flint, president of the Lisle Library Board of Trustees, said the parking lot will most likely be the library’s first focus.
“Part of our objective has been to avoid linear thinking – to do this first, then this, then that – and consider our needs as a whole or a system,” Flint said. “Changes to the parking lot will entail, or curtail, possible changes to the entrance or to meeting room space but probably the cluster of projects that involves the parking lot will get first attention because that affects so much else.”
Residents also requested improved technology and better access to digital materials on the survey, Halikias said, including a technology or computing lab and programs such as Photoshop, Premier and Logic.
“I’m a very strong proponent for a technology lab,” Halikias said. “Right now, our technology is in the middle of the adult department, and it’s very distracting for people trying to work while people are talking to the reference desk and looking for material.”
The survey’s results surprised Halikias as well in one area. She said it made her realize how conscious library patrons are of the indoor space of the library as they commented on “wasted space,” crowding in the DVD area and the desire for a bathroom in the children’s area.
Survey participants also cited positive remarks, including a desire for a drive-up service window and praise toward the library staff.
“I’m enormously pleased that people love the Lisle Library staff,” Halikias said. “And I think the library staff loves the people.”
Halikias said residents’ responses coincided with those of the library staff and Facilities and Planning Committee. The committee completed an analysis of modern standards for libraries, visited other libraries and then studied the Lisle Library.
“Just looking back at the committee notes and those of the staff, technology and building design were two things they felt needed to be addressed and this runs right in agreement with what we felt the public said,” Halikias said.
Flint said he, too, was not surprised with the survey results, and was happy with the responses.
“We were grateful for the time invested in completing the surveys, as well as for the constructive feedback,” Flint said.
With the survey results, the library’s Facilities Steering Committee will work to create a recommendation of the next steps the library should take based on the staff and community survey results and the research the library has conducted over the past year, Halikias said.
The library board will then provide feedback to the recommendations based on the budget and other factors, Halikias added.
Halikias said the library owns two pieces of property next to the library, one of which sits adjacent to the library’s parking lot.
“It would go a long way to solving the parking issues,” Halikias said.
Flint and Halikias both said that patrons should continue to voice their opinions on the library’s needs in the future.
“We always seek ways to strengthen our partnership with our patrons and the Lisle community,” Flint said. “The projects on this survey, as presented or amended based on public input, will meet the needs of our evolving demographic.”