"The purpose of the community survey is to allow library users and non-users an opportunity to provide input into the development of library services and guide the library system in allocating resources and prioritizing services," said Carmen Sims, director of Bartow County Library System. "It helps determine how satisfied library users are with current services, why some people do not use one of our local libraries, and what the demand is for creating new services or improving current services. ... Results from the 2010 Community Survey were instrumental in developing the Library's Five-Year Plan.
"Results from the 2011 survey will help determine if we are making progress in reaching our goals and strategies. This will enable staff to determine if the planned actions are on target or need to be altered."
Among the topics covered in the Bartow County Library System Strategic Plan 2011-2016 were issues/challenges with technology, funding, collection, staff, circulation, marketing/community relations, access to information and materials, facilities and programming.
"Our first goal addressed technology and that was to implement technology strategies that increase efficiency, service and responsiveness to the community," Sims said. "And then, underneath that, we had our strategies which said what we would do to [achieve] that. Examples are increase bandwidth and update the IT infrastructure.
"We have already had one increase in the bandwidth and we have started updating the IT infrastructure, upgrade all computers and software. We're in the preliminary stages of that. So [some of the survey] questions [do] apply to the website and our online resources ... [It] does touch on technology. Obviously it touches on customer service and also how people respond to the ease of using self-check."
With questions ranging from "Which two of the following services offered by the library do you think are most important?" to "What are the reasons that you do not use the Bartow County Library System?" the survey is designed to gather input from library patrons and non-users.
"We really want to hear from the non-users to know what it is that we need to do to reach them or if we're just simply a resource that they will never use for whatever reason," Sims said. "About half of Bartow County has an active library card.
"We would like to know if there's something that we're not providing [or maybe] for some reason we haven't thought of it. People that have come from other areas typically are impressed with what we have. But then again there might be something that they've had elsewhere that we aren't aware of that we could provide."
In addition to completing the survey online at www.bartowlibraryonline.org, copies also can be obtained at the system's three branches: Cartersville Public Library, 429 W. Main St.; Adairsville Public Library, 202 N. Main St.; and Emmie Nelson Public Library, 116 Covered Bridge Road in Euharlee. For more information, call 770-382-4203.