PIERCE COUNTY, Washington ? Ok, maybe that’s not a surprise, however the public’s responses in a recent survey is important as the Library System reimagines services now and in coming months as life is far from whatever normal is during the novel coronavirus pandemic 2019 (COVID-19).
“The public’s feedback will help us as the Library System reinvents its services for now with a focus on curbside and online services and as it prepares services, buildings and staff to safely serve communities when it reopens buildings for the public,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “This input will help us reimagine services during the pandemic and identify additional areas of focus.”
In July, the Library System launched the survey to help understand what services people value and how they would feel welcome and safe when the library buildings re-open to the public. In all, more than 2,600 people responded to the survey.
Overall, 70% of respondents said they would be “very comfortable” (37%) to “somewhat comfortable” (33%) coming into a Pierce County Library when the buildings reopen.
Since library buildings closed to the public in March to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Library’s online services have increased and the public’s use has soared. In all, 79% of the survey respondents said online e-books and audiobooks were “very valued” (61%) or “somewhat valued” (18%). On par with online books were printed books, with 81% of respondents saying books to check out of the libraries were “very valued” (53%) or “somewhat valued” (28%). Books continue to be the most valued service from the Library System.
Respondents mostly noted classes and events as “not very valued” or “not valued at all”:
- Online classes and events for children: 61%, 1,571 people
- In-library classes and events for children: 76%, 1,956 people
- In-library classes and events for adults: 70%, 1,819 people
While responses were more mixed for online classes and events for adults with 32% saying they were “somewhat valued” with 25% saying they were “not valued at all.”
The survey ran while the Library System was gearing up to offer and launch curbside service. Respondents strongly favored the service with 82% of respondents calling the service “very valued” or “somewhat valued.”
The Library is using the input as it continues its curbside and online services and prepares for in building and in community services. The Pierce County Library is committed to safe and welcoming services for the public’s use and a safe work place for staff.