Survey of staff suggests G.N. Library approaching goals, but needs work in some areas

Survey of staff suggests G.N. Library approaching goals, but needs work in some areas
The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees has adopted a $9.76 million budget. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Library has largely not met most of its goals yet, a survey of staff members conducted by the library’s Long Range Planning Committee suggests, but it has made progress.

The survey asks questions about the library’s stated objectives and goals regarding technology, space, service to patrons, and promoting the library. It also asks for what kinds of improvements can be made in those areas.

Responding to trustee concerns that the survey could be “skewed,” Joel Marcus, the chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, said the information could be valuable in establishing a new long-range plan.

“In order to put together a long-range plan, you have to know what is necessary. That is why we asked the librarians to answer these questions,” Marcus told trustees at the meeting where the survey was first presented, adding that “this is information that we should have.”

Out of the 45 staff members the survey was distributed to, 21 members anonymously responded.

While most people surveyed said that the library was approaching their objectives, rather than not having met them at all, eight to nine people added further feedback on the questions.

“The survey was of the staff, so it’s the opinion of the staff that we’re approaching but haven’t get gotten to the point where everything was perfect,” Robert Schaufeld, president of the Great Neck Library’s Board of Trustees, said. “There were certain complaints but it appears that most of the harsh complaints were from one person.”

Five staff members suggested that the branch libraries – Lakeville and Station – needed more attention. Comments ranged from need “a little face lift” and needing some new furniture and updates to being “in a complete state of disrepair.”

Some also raised issues regarding shelving and books. One person said that “too many books have been kept in storage,” while another said they believe that “space has taken priority over materials.”

Staffing was also an issue, with three people raising concerns about staff shortages.

One person said that there is “insufficient staff” and that “we cannot adequately serve the public without proper staffing.” A second person said that they are “not provided with the staff, the space or materials give Great Neck residents what they fully deserve.”

Thirteen of the 21 responders, however, said that the library was approaching its physical space goal to “re-envision the physical spaces of the Library’s four locations in order to promote the Library as a center that supports the intellectual, educational and cultural needs of the community.”

Sixteen people also said that the library was its approaching its service to patrons goal, which calls on the library to “provide increased services and programs in all Library locations that meet the changing needs of all residents” and “increase the number and diversity of programs offered.”

None of the responding staff members said that the library has met its technology goal, which states that the library “continues to maintain technological relevance, state-of-the-art services, resources and support to our patrons” and only nine of twenty people said they were approaching that goal.

Of the 19 people that responded to the fourth and final goal, “actively integrate the Library within the community with peer organizations, including Senior Centers, public and private schools, local businesses, residential living facilities, and diverse community groups,” three said the library has completely met that goal and 13 said they were approaching that objective.

This survey was commissioned at the first meeting the Long Range Planning Committee had in five years, Schaufeld said.

“They had a major project to rebuild the library, which pretty much took up for years,” Schaufeld said. “So between the bonds and the planning and the construction, long range planning was not that important because we had to complete one of the major items in the long range plan.”

Schaufeld added that they could not discuss what they would be doing in the future without finishing such a renovation first, so a meeting would not have been worthwhile.

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