Libraries should be places the community can meet and gather, residents said in a public forum meant to gather feedback about the future of the Johnson County library system.
About a dozen residents met with library staff this week to talk about the future of the Johnson County library system in one of four public input meetings the library intends to use to help shape changes to its buildings and programs.
Earlier this year, the Johnson County Public Library Board approved paying MSR Design, a consulting firm, $79,000 to create a 10-year building analysis plan. Part of the firm’s six-month study, which is set to wrap up this fall, is to gather information from the community about what they want in their library system.
Library staff have been gathering of all of comments and consultants will use the information to help determine what changes the library system should prioritize, library director Lisa Lintner said.
Three meetings have already taken place, and a fourth is planned today at the Franklin library branch.
Center Grove area resident Eric Vermilion said his family regularly visits the library, but they don’t often stay longer than it takes to grab the books they and check them out.
“We come for 15 minutes and leave,” he said.
Libraries need to also be able to be a place where people feel comfortable staying and reading, Vermilion said.
Some ideas residents proposed included adding coffee shops, more comfortable chairs and couches to read on, gallery space for local artists, additional room for community meetings, outdoor reading areas and more book and writing clubs.
Marian Martin, who tutors students studying English as a second language, said adding small, quiet rooms would be beneficial to people looking to use the library as a place to study and learn.
For young adults, providing a service such as coffee would be a way to encourage them to come to the library and stay and read or take part in other events, Katie Gainey said.
A bookmobile that could visit schools, senior housing communities and community events such as the farmers market, would help the library reach more people, library board member Kirk Bixler said.
The library hasn’t had a bookmobile since the previous one burned down several decades ago, library staff said.
The Johnson County Public Library will host a public meeting to give residents a chance to provide input as part of the library’s 10-year building analysis plan
When: 2 p.m. today
Where: Franklin branch, 401 State St.