A new strategic plan and moving to a fine-free model is part of Crystal Bergstrome, CEO and chief librarian at the Bracebridge Library, and her library board’s plan to “expect the unexpected.”
In Jan., Bracebridge council approved allowing the library to drop some fees for 2023. However, fines for lost or damaged books will stay in place. As well, just last week, the library board approved its new strategic plan that will be in place until 2026.
“It’s to make sure we’re touching base with our community, making sure that we’re actually serving their needs, meeting their needs and looking forward to what’s ahead for the community and the library and how we can merge those”
One of the six key points in the library’s plan is partnerships and collaboration. As library staff prepare to move to the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre in a few years, Bergstrome says they want to implement changes now so they’re ready when the time comes to move. “We’re moving into a new facility that’s shared with an area, a fieldhouse, so there will be more opportunity for people when they’re at one event to utilize the library,” she explains.
As well, Bergstrome says communication is important. The library board is in contact with other community groups so they are up-to-date with what they’re doing. “We want to make a conscious effort to reach out to the Town of Bracebridge, the recreation department, the community groups, and the Bracebridge Business Improvement Area to make sure we know what everyone is doing and find out how we can all work together to better serve everybody,” says Bergstrome.
That connection, she says, means that if the library doesn’t have what someone is looking for, staff will know which direction to point the person so they can find what they need.
“We’re so much more than books,” she adds.
Bergstrome says the library wants to do more events like last summer’s party in the park. “A lot of people still view the library as that quiet place to come get your books,” she points out. However, she doesn’t believe that’s the case for libraries anymore. “We want to be the go-to resource for recreation, for education, and for community connection,” says Bergstrome.