Callander library updates council, provides strategic plan

David Villard, the chair of the Callander Public Library board, and Melissa Sones, the library’s CEO, stopped by town hall to provide Callander’s council with some updates on the library and present a draft of their new strategic plan.

Overall, “we are entering 2023 stronger than ever,” Sones highlighted, with 181 new members and over 23,000 items circulated in the past year. Staff delivered 218 programs for the community and 4,495 people participated in those programs.

The summer reading program alone was a big hit, with area kids reading just over 1,000 books. Almost half of all books circulating through the library are children’s materials. Programs for children have been very successful, Sones noted, and the goal is “to add more adult programs” as well.

Sones noted a decrease in material for digital readers being checked out, as “people are back in the library borrowing physical copies of books.”

Library staff conducted a survey early in 2022 and that feedback helped to inform the board’s strategic plan. Respondents made clear they wanted to maintain the high level of customer service at the library, so the board will “continue to support and develop staff capacity” to ensure that happens.

See: Callander library prepares for future patrons today

The board also plans to strengthen library governance, and “develop a resilient and long tern financial strategy” for the facility. Building connections with the community is also high on the board’s list, as it wants to ensure that community members are aware of all the services provided.

Councillor Irene Smit agreed. “The community needs to know more about what you do,” especially in regard to programming. “We need to let the community know how broad those services are,” the library offers, she noted.

The board wants to develop “a marketing plan” Villard said, to help get that message across. He added that not many people realize the library lends out snowshoes, and passes to provincial parks, but it does. “They’ve been available in the library for the past three years,” he said.

The new strategic plan will “lead us forward,” Villard added, “to help us best meet the needs of our community.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,