Report to the Community and Plan of Service

Annual Message to the Community

Our talented and dedicated staff always strives to provide the best service to the Longwood community. This past year (2020) started out like so many others: we had goals and plans for expanding and improving services, and we jumped right in.

Starting in January 2020, the Board of Trustees decided to eliminate overdue fines from most library items. Many libraries across the country had made this change and found that it brought back lots of patrons who had stopped using the library because of fines owed or the fear of incurring fines. Two months later, we rolled out our new Canteen Micromarket, a coffee/snack area near the library entrance, meant for patrons to enjoy while they used the library. We joined the Sustainable Libraries Initiative. We continued to expand our popular Equipment & Gadgets collection and started planning more STEAM/Maker programs to make use of our brand-new 3D printer. What a great start we had for our year’s goals.

And then in mid-March, everything changed. On March 16, in order to flatten the curve, the library building was closed and library staff was sent home to work remotely. In the weeks following, our staff re-conceptualized as many services as possible. We took programs online, created digital library cards, answered questions online and via chat, expanded online services including homework help, added to electronic collections (eBooks, streaming video and more), and worked hard to promote our content and connect with patrons online. We even sent our 3D printer to a “print farm” to help make PPE for local frontline workers!

In June we returned to the building and rolled out Curbside Service. This again required rethinking our service model, from figuring out how to quarantine returned library items to creating new ways for staff to safely work in the building. In July, our plans evolved again as we reopened the building in a Limited Services model: we offered Browse & Borrow, one-hour computer use, faxing, scanning, photocopying, and of course we were here to answer your questions. We continued to offer Curbside Service for those who preferred it, expanding to include Curbside Crafts and Curbside Community Service for teens and children. As the situation changed, we continued to monitor local and state health department guidance as we made plans for a “post-COVID” LPL. What will it look like? We are not exactly sure, but we know that expanded virtual services are definitely a part of our future, even as we eagerly look forward to re-introducing traditional in-person services.

A few statistics from 2020:

  • Despite the pandemic, almost 263,000 physical items were checked out or renewed; almost 170,000 eBooks, movies, music and audiobooks were streamed or downloaded (a 29% increase!)
  • Librarians answered more than 29,000 reference questions, in person, over the phone, via email or through chat
  • Library staff filled 2,658 curbside orders
  • Enhancements to our accessible and mobile-friendly website include the new Children’s Kit gallery. Borrow flashcards, Leapfrogs, Hot Dot sets and many other educational kits for children!
  • Library staff planned and produced 806 virtual programs with a whopping 57,971 attendees or viewers! Check out our YouTube channel to see many of these programs on demand.

Our plans for the coming year (2021):

  • Completing the necessary steps to achieve Sustainable Library Certification
  • Continuing to expand our useful and popular Equipment & Gadgets collection
  • Partnering with the Longwood Central School District to be sure every student in the district has a library card
  • Adding new backyard features for children and families, thanks to a 2020 grant from Assemblyman DeStefano
  • Transforming our computer lab into a Makerspace
  • Developing a strategic plan for 2021-2025

Long Range Plan of Service

This  plan of service for 2022-2025 was approved by the Board of Trustees in December 2021.