Community Conversations: What we heard

Community conversations

In 2022, Chief Librarian Tom Fay visited the Greenwood, High Point, Lake City and Rainier Beach branches to hear from patrons on what is working well for them and what could use improvement. Fay wanted to hear, in particular, how the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed their needs or experiences as Library patrons.

The Library also made a public survey available for people who were unable to attend these events in person.

Here’s what we’ve heard from patrons who attended events or filled out our survey:

What worked well for patrons in 2022:

  • Serving as a safe “third space” and welcoming community hub where people of all ages and backgrounds can gather.
  • Welcoming and knowledgeable Library staff.
  • Expanded digital collections, especially e-books and e-audiobooks.
  • No holds, no wait Peak Picks collection of popular titles.
  • DVD and CD collections.
  • Virtual events that patrons can attend remotely.
  • Programs that improve people’s lives, including student tutoring, job search assistance, digital literacy classes, and more.
  • Offering fee-free interlibrary loans, computer access, and printing services.

Where patrons saw room for improvement in 2022 – patrons said they would like:

  • Expanded open hours.
  • Fewer unexpected closures.
  • Shorter wait times for materials.
  • More periodicals/magazines.
  • Awareness of institutional/structural racism and strategies to combat it.
  • Capital improvements in buildings - air conditioning in nine libraries that lack it and better furniture were noted.