Johnson County Library contracted the services of Mindmixer for their strategic plan in March of 2013 and by April 9, 2013; the www.jocolibraryconversation.com site was live and active with input from members of the community. The goal was to expand the number of Johnson County citizens the library would be able to engage with during the strategic planning process.
By May 15, just a little over a month from the launch date, 1,213 people visited the library site and in addition to responding to the topic questions, they submitted 117 ideas for the library staff and the strategic planning committee to take into consideration. Ideas ranged from bringing a book mobile back to Johnson County to having library desks and furniture made out of recycled books. The topic that received the most comments and generated numerous new ideas was the topic of technology. Many Johnson County residents requested more comfortable, “living-room” like seating near outlets so they could utilize their own devices to access library materials such as eBooks, eMusic, and of course, library databases such as EBSCO and Demographics now. The Johnson County community also sent comments requesting that the library be at the forefront of new technology and perhaps develop a “technology bar” where they could try the newest devices prior to purchase.
Director of Communications, Kasey Riley has responded personally to all of the people who submitted unique ideas using Mindmixer’s quick and intuitive interface. Riley says, “I have been so pleased with every aspect of the project so far. It has truly been easy to track the user-ship, run reports and respond to the community and the staff of Mindmixer are so helpful and quick to respond to questions.”
The library’s Mindmixer site will be live through June 30, 2013 and the library’s administrative team, led by County Librarian, Sean Casserley, will take the Mindmixer data and cross-reference it with information gleaned from face to face meetings with staff and the community planning committee. The administrative team will look for trends and commonalities in the data as they develop the strategic plan for the library. Casserley says, “Information has value. Libraries have always known that. Now we have the opportunity to use data that better represents the county as a whole. I want the community to know we are listening to them and working to provide the programs and services they want and need.”
Thanks Kasey and Sean for sharing this intriguing means to engage the community for strategic planning.