Library aims to open doors to the wider world

Brooks Memorial Library launches community conversations for its 5-year strategic plan

BRATTLEBORO — The Brooks Memorial Library is gathering community input for the library's upcoming five-year strategic plan.

“I love strategic plans,” said Library Director Starr LaTronica to a small audience of community members on May 19.

But before LaTronica and the library's Board of Trustees can create the plan, “we get to dream,” she said. “Wishes are the original out-of-the-box thinking.”

Throughout the summer, LaTronica, trustees, and members of the Friends of Brooks Memorial Library will gather feedback from the community to help shape the goals for its new strategic plan.

LaTronica urged those in the audience of this first meeting to think big - “no idea is too crazy” - about what they wanted Brooks to be, do, offer, or become in the next five years.

Widening the library's world

The new director shared with the audience ways that Brooks and other libraries open their doors to include a wider world.

Some libraries circulate umbrellas, e-readers, or binoculars, she said. For example, at Brooks, patrons can check out passes to local museums.

Families can couple an experience of going to an art museum with the books or movies about art they find in the library, she said.

LaTronica asked audience members a series of questions, starting with the personal and moving out to the broader community.

• What do you or your constituency enjoy doing?

• What would you or your constituency like to do?

• What could you or your constituency use help with?

• What kind of community do you want to live in and why?

Answers covered a range of topics from enjoying reading, to developing a better music collection, to providing more children's programing, to building quiet areas, to adding a coffee bar, to collaborating with other organizations on programing.

One audience member suggested building an extension to the Municipal Center and taking over the police station once that space is vacated.

“[Libraries are] places of shared resources,” LaTronica said - “resources owned and used by the community for a collective benefit.”

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