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History

History

Founded in 1899 as a subscription library by the Tyler Federation Of Women’s Clubs and located above the old Tyler Electric Company offices on the north side of Tyler’s downtown courthouse square, the Tyler Public Library soon moved to the then City Hall and subsequently became a city department in 1903. The next year it moved nearby into its own building (Figure 1) donated by Andrew Carnegie on College Avenue, which was to be its home until 1980 when the present three-story building opened on College across Elm Street to the south.


Figure 1 Carnegie Library at Elm and College intersection

Mission Vision and Values

Mission

To meet our patrons’ needs for information, education, and recreation through access to library resources.

Vision

Tyler Public Library is dedicated to ensuring all citizens of Tyler have access to current materials and resources necessary for lifelong enrichment and education, universal literacy, and informed decision making.

Values 

  • Inclusiveness – Tyler Public Library strives to serve all members of the City of Tyler equally by ensuring all outreach and information resources are made available to any who would use them.   
  • Community – Providing a space for community interaction and endless possibilities
  • Collaboration – Tyler Public Library partners with community organizations to better serve the City of Tyler.
  • Quality – Tyler Public Library strives to provide quality services and programming
  • Responsiveness – Respond to patron needs and suggestions for improvement of library services
  • Respect – Be accepting, considerate, attentive, and encouraging to all patrons and employees
  • Learning – Providing knowledge, information, resources, and assistance

Figure 2 Chadwick the owl in front of Tyler Public Library; by artists Cherry and Jim Day

Strategic Planning Process

Strategic Planning Process

The planning process assessed the existing user data as it compares to the City population, assessed user requests and survey results, and assessed non-user survey results.  Tyler Public Library used this comprehensive research to formulate goals and strategies believed to better serve the community.

Tyler Public Library utilized the following methodology in the creation of this plan.

Phase 1

Initial Planning and Research

·         Review previous plan

·         Review existing research and surveys

·         Create non-user survey

·         Analyze existing patron data

Phase 2

Library Staff Involvement

·         SWOT analysis

·         Reviewing existing Mission, Vision, and Values

Phase 3

Strategic Plan Development

·         Identify key areas of focus

·         Development of Goals and Activities

·         Writing of Strategic Plan draft

·         Feedback. direction, and approval from Library Advisory Board

Phase 4

Finalization

·         Final plan approved and published


Key Research Findings

Key Research Findings

Library card holder numbers were pulled from the Library’s integrated library system to compare to the existing City population as reflected by the 2010 Census and Tyler Independent School District enrollment records. Findings conclude that our Hispanic usage does not reflect the City of Tyler’s population and school enrollment records. While only 15.63% of our Library card holders are Hispanic, the 2010 Census recorded our Hispanic population as 21.2% and TISD is currently projecting a Hispanic enrollment of 46.38%.

Figure 3 Patron Library usage by race as it compares to the population of Tyler and the enrollment of TISD

In efforts to reach our non-users the Library distributed a Non-User Survey via Facebook shares from our existing patrons and local businesses.  The survey was shared in English and in Spanish to reach the widest array of the City’s population.  We returned 28 English Survey results and 10 Spanish Survey results.  We analyzed the results to break down the top five reasons for community members not obtaining a library card at Tyler Public Library.  The top five reasons are depicted in Figure 2.  The inability to obtain a library card for free due to living outside of the City limits was the top reason followed by their ability to get immediate information online, purchase e-books or printed material, buy, rent, stream, or download TV/Movies, and the Library’s limited selection of materials available in Spanish were the top five reasons seen. Many responses also determined that a large number of citizens are unaware of current library services.

Figure 4 Top 5 reasons for not using Tyler Public Library as seen in the Non-User Survey

This information was gathered prior to our SWOT analysis. The entirety of the survey results can be found in Appendix A.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis allowed the library to assess its internal strengths and weaknesses as well as its external opportunities and threats. The following SWOT analysis was put together with input from library staff. Some aspects were included based on information provided in public surveys found in Appendix A.

  • Strengths found within the library included the existing positive work environment with a customer service driven staff. Staff is cross trained between departments in an effort to supply optimal service to patrons. The number of digital resources has increased along with access to an electronic library card, which provides instant access to digital resources to City residents. Strength is also found in our ability to utilize social media for library promotion and marketing of library services.
  • Weaknesses within the library include our limited number of resources for our growing Spanish speaking population. Our limited materials budget has decreased in the last couple years while the cost of resources, both physical and electronic, continues to rise (See figure 5). Minimal staffing also makes it difficult to provide the necessary outreach to communities. The lack of county funding limits the number of county residents we assist as many families find it difficult to pay membership fees for library services.

Figure 5 Material budget decline

  • Opportunities include seeking out grants to advance the existing collection of materials to suit community needs in areas such as with the Spanish collection. A continual opportunity lies in seeking out more community partnerships for better visibility within the community and creating a network of library advocates. An opportunity also exists in informing our county patrons how they can advocate for library funding within Smith County therefore alieving themselves of membership fees. By intelligently utilizing our existing marketing budget, Tyler Public Library can reach a greater number of patrons to provide insight on current library services and programs. An opportunity to expand resources and programming to better serve special needs families and patrons was also established.
  • Threats are found in the rising cost of library materials and digital services while the library’s material budget has declined. As seen in the non-user survey in Appendix A, citizens are also prone to purchase their own reading materials both physical and electronic and often rely on internet information. There is also public apathy and misconception about public libraries and what services are actually provided.

INTERNAL FACTORS

STRENGTHS (+)

WEAKNESSES (-)

 

Ø  Increased number of digital resources

Ø  Spanish collection has improved in last five years

Ø  Utilize social media for promotion of library services

Ø  Customer driven staff with cross training between departments

Ø  Positive work environment

 

Ø  Spanish collection is still small

Ø  Many people do not know the vast majority of services we offer including digital services

Ø  Minimal staffing

Ø  Single branch location

Ø  Limited space due to large interest in meeting spaces

EXTERNAL FACTORS

OPPORTUNITIES (+)

THREATS (-)

Ø  Seek grants to enhance Spanish collections and library services

Ø  Inform patrons about how to Advocate to County for library funding

Ø  Establish more relationships with community organizations

Ø  Smartly utilize marketing funds to better market library services through social media

Ø  Expand resources and programming to better serve special needs families and patrons

 

Ø  Leisure readers purchase materials or prefer to receive information online

Ø  Rising cost of materials and digital resources

Ø  Public apathy or misconception toward library services

Ø  Library budget cuts

Ø  Lack of county funding

Area of Focus
A Called to Serve Strategic Focus

Streamlining methods to increase public awareness and accessibility

Empowering the community through education and learning opportunities

Responding to community needs and fostering community connections

Venturing to support workforce and economic developments

Evaluating library services through community response


Figure 6 Illustration of Tyler Public Library

Focus 1: Streamline Methods to Increase Public Awareness and Accessibility

Goal 1: Increase Library card holders by 5%

Activity 1: Market existence of Library e-Card services with immediate access to digital resources

Activity 2: Extend e-Card services to non-residents as funding allows

Goal 2: Expand social media presence

Activity 1: Develop in house social media best practices procedure

Activity 2: Track usage and assess quality of posts

Activity 3: Incorporate Spanish language posts and videos

Activity 4: Extend social media presence to other platforms

Activity 5: Utilize marketing budget to boost library presence via social media

Goal 3: Expand outreach within the community

Activity 1: Create new partnerships with local business and organizations

Activity 2: Provide outreach programming to local children’s homes

Goal 4: Improve website usability

Activity 1: Ensure all documents are presented in text format

Activity 2: Establish uniformity to layout/text for readability

Activity 3: Educate library web editors about importance of alt text

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Focus 2: Empower the Community through Education and Learning Opportunities

Goal 1: Improve literacy skills in Tyler by communicating the value of early literacy and family literacy and focusing on the development of programs to achieve early and family literacy in our community

Activity 1: Maintain Family Place Library™ status by providing Family Place Library™ services including two Parent-Child Workshops per year, utilizing bilingual professionals when possible

Activity 2: Seek out opportunities to provide Spanish Parent-Child Workshops

Goal 2: Develop a program with assistance of area medical clinics to make reading to infants and young children a priority for families

Activity 1: Maintain partnership with Catholic Charities/Diocese of Tyler to provide bilingual board books for Baby Box Infant Safe Sleep initiative

Activity 2:  Research options to provide bilingual board books to all new babies born in the City of Tyler

Activity 3: Provide Family Place Library brochures to parents of new babies born in the City of Tyler

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Focus 3: Respond to Community Needs and Foster Community Connections

Goal 1: Create flexible teen programs

Activity 1: Roll out roving maker cart for interactive passive programming between teens and juvenile locations

Activity 2: Provide teen programming through outreach to existing hangout locations, schools, and group homes

Goal 2: Enhance collections, programs, and services for Spanish-speakers

Activity 1: Partner with Hispanic organizations for assistance in reaching the growing number of Spanish speakers

                        Activity 2: Assess Español collections

Activity 3: Increase budget for materials and seek out grant opportunities for supplemental assistance

                        Activity 4: Ensure all surveys and other documents are made available in Spanish

Goal 3: Establish network of special needs families

                        Activity 1: Conduct focus group to assess community needs

                           Activity 2: Add programming based on community needs

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Focus 4: Venture to Support Workforce and Economic Development

Goal 1: Adopt new technologies to increase accessibility to lower income families

Activity 1: Seek grant funding to circulate hotspots and iPads

Activity 2:  Seek grants and other funding opportunities to provide Wi-Fi to City parks to assist in bridging digital divide or lack of resources in lower income areas

Goal 2: Increase digital literacy through regularly scheduled multilingual instruction

Activity 1: Research educational platforms with multilingual options

Activity 2: Provide monthly digital literacy classes

Activity 3: Provide one on one assistance when requested

Goal 3: Research digital branch library options including need and physical location

Activity 1: Research improvements seen by Bexar County Digital Library establishment

Activity 2: Assess community needs

Activity 3: Research cloud library for additional digital media

Activity 4: Research funding and location options

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Focus 5: Evaluate Library Services through Community Response

            Goal 1: Increase customer satisfaction

                        Activity 1: Create regular schedule for annual patron satisfaction survey

Activity 2: Provide option for responding citizens to be contacted regarding their written comments or concerns given via the annual patron satisfaction survey

Activity 3: Expand program surveys to all Tyler Public Library programming to assess how attendees feel about the programs being offered

         Goal 2: Establish annual non-user survey

                     Activity 1: Create regular schedule for non-user survey distribution

                     Activity 2: Retain non-user information via staff at outreach events

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Assessment of Facilities, Services, Technology, and Operations

Assessment of Facilities, Services, Technology, and Operations

A.     Facilities

Tyler Public Library aims to be a readily accessible and welcoming space for the community.  The Library has been able to make great changes to portions of its facilities within the past six years thanks to an endowment from Joyce Findley.

Noticeable areas for improvement include a needed update to furniture and the need for additional outlets to the building. The window tinting in the first floor lobby needs updating as there are portions of the day that the lobby is considered unusable space based on the amount of direct sun that filters through.  Fresh paint throughout the three floors is needed.  Much of the paint within the building has begun to chip and shows signs of damage.  The third floor needs to be re-carpeted throughout as it currently has 40 year old carpeting and does not match the rest of the building.    

Ongoing projects include a need for annual carpet and window cleanings.  The library will continue to assess facilities and address issues as funds become available.

Goal 1: Replace old carpeting throughout third floor

Goal 2: Add fresh paint to walls throughout public areas

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

B.      Services

We offer Interlibrary Loan to our customers and we participate in the statewide delivery program. We offer a Summer Reading Club. We offer collections of books, audiovisual, games, electronic media, and databases. The Tyler Public Library collection is aged and in need of updating. Currently we are budgeting 8% towards collections. Ideally, this should be increased to 10% to be in compliance with State guidelines. Per Texas Public Library Standards, 15% (Enhanced)-20% (Comprehensive) would be required to fully upgrade the collection. 9% of our collection was published in the last five years.  A collection with 15% less than 5 years old is required to attain a basic level of Texas Public Library standards.

1.2% of the adult non-fiction books were published in the last five years while areas with higher turnover due to wear and tear such as juvenile non-fiction reflect 48% of materials being published within the last 5 years and 36% of the young adult collection of non-fiction materials were published within the last five years.  1.3% of the overall Spanish book collection was published within the last five years.


Figure 7 Books published in last 5 years within 4 locations

Physical material circulation has grown by 11.5% in the last five years.  Physical materials include books, magazines, games, DVDs, etc.  Electronic materials show an increase of 75% increase since 2014.  Digital materials include e-books and e-audiobooks.

Figure 8 Circulation of Physical and Digital Materials for the last 5 Fiscal Years

Goal 1: Increase the overall number of materials published in the last five years

Activity 1: Follow through with newly established internal weeding processes updating existing materials with new information and current events

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

C.     Technology

The widening of the digital divide is of great concern for Tyler Public Library.  According to the United States Census Bureau an estimated 12.7% of Smith County citizens do not have computers in their home and 23.1% do not have broadband internet.  Technology and digital literacy has enormous impact on an individual’s ability to fully engage and contribute to a growing society.  Tyler Public Library makes it a part of their mission to engage citizens in digital literacy education through monthly digital literacy classes and by providing access to Wi-Fi and public internet computers.


Figure 9  Public computer lab usage by hours and sessions over the last 5 fiscal years

Tyler public Library provides 25 public Internet computers, which meet the basic level of service as dictated by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  A computer with adaptive technology for the visually impaired is one of the 25 and is sponsored by the Library’s community partner, The Lighthouse. The library has three AWE early literacy computers for pre-school and elementary age. The Library also provides public faxing, a public scanner, copier, and printing

Goal 1: Increase Available Technology

Activity 1: Increase number of available PCs for public access

Activity 2: Research various funding options to obtain laptops for programming and digital literacy classes.

Activity 3: Confirm with City IT an established schedule for replacement of equipment and software

Goal 2: Increase Wi-Fi strength and hotspot locations throughout building

Activity 1: Take advantage of E-rate Grant Program made available to schools and libraries

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

D.      Operations

TPL is open 55 hours a week and is currently operating at the basic level of Texas Library Standards. 

Goal 1: Provide access to Library programming outside of normal operational hours

Activity 1: Create community partnerships for outreach programming

Activity 2: Create pre-operational programming opportunities

Refer to Appendix B for an Implementation Matrix

Figure 10 Circulation Staff hard at work

Community Partners & Library Organizations

Collaborations with Community Partners and Library Organizations

A. Community Agency Partners

  • TAP (Tyler Area Partners) for Literacy
  • Lit-City
  • AAUW (American Association of University Women)
  • League of Women Voters
  • East Texas Veterans Community Council
  • East Texas Genealogical Society
  • Hispanic Business Alliance
  • Great Decisions Committee
  • East Texas Human Needs Network
  • Bethesda Alliance
  • Lighthouse for the Blind
  • Head Start
  • Tyler ISD
  • East Texas Community Food Coalition
  • Women’s Symphony League
  • St. Paul’s Children’s Foundation
  • Junior League of Tyler
  • Literacy Council of Tyler
  • Parent Service Center
  • Champions for Children
  • PATH (People Attempting to Help)
  • Master Gardeners
  • Smith County Historical Society
  • Highway 80

B. Library Organizations 

  • OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.)
  • TSLAC (Texas State Library and Archives Commission)
  • ALA (American Library Association)
  • TLA (Texas Library Association)
  • Friends of the Tyler Public Library
  • Smith County Area Libraries Together (SALT)
Summary

Summary

A major goal of the Planning Committee is to develop a Long-Range Strategic Plan that will offer the best possible service to the greatest number of people in our service area. The Strategic Long-Range Plan is intended to be a framework to guide library service during the next five years. It should be reviewed annually to formally assess the level of progress in meeting the stated goals. New planning goals and objectives may be adopted as new opportunities for improving services are presented.

The hope for this plan is to result in visible improvements for the Tyler Public Library patrons.

All of the objectives recommended in this plan were designed to be accomplished within existing budgetary expectations and staff resources.  It may be necessary to seek out alternative funding sources including private donations and grants to provide adequate print and electronic resources for Tyler patrons. Securing the additional funds and improvements to meet these needs will be a challenge, but hopefully this plan will serve to inspire the Library Board, staff and patrons to build on accomplishments and strive for continuous improvements in library services for the citizens of Tyler.

Appendices

Appendices

To view Appendix A, please see the PDF of the document. This includes the survey charts and responses previously mentioned. 

Appendix B: Implementation Matrix

Goal

Objective/Strategy

Timeframe

F1

Streamline Methods to Increase Public Awareness and Accessibility

F1.1

Increase Library Cardholders by 5%

2020

F1.2

Expand Social Media Presence

2019

F1.3

Expand Outreach within the Community

2021

F1.4

Improve website usability

ongoing

F2

Empower the Community through Education and Learning Opportunities

F2.1

Improve literacy skills in Tyler by communicating the value of early literacy and family literacy and focusing on the development of programs to achieve early and family literacy in our community

ongoing

F2.2

Develop a program with assistance of medical clinics to make reading to infants and young children a priority for families

ongoing

F3

Respond to Community Needs and Foster Community Connections

F3.1

Create flexible teen programs

2020

F3.2

Enhance collections, programs, and services for Spanish speakers

2019

F3.3

Establish network of special needs families

2019

F4

Venture to Support Workforce and Economic Development

F4.1

Adopt new technologies to increase accessibility to lower income families

2021

F4.2

Increase digital literacy through regularly scheduled multilingual instruction

2020

F4.3

Research digital branch library options including the need and physical location

2020

F5

Evaluate Library Services through Community Response

F5.1

Increase customer satisfaction

ongoing

F5.2

Establish annual non-user survey

2019


Goal

Objective/Strategy

Timeframe

Fac

Facilities

Fac 1

Replace old carpeting throughout third floor

2021

Fac 2

Add fresh paint to walls throughout public areas

2020

Ser

Services

Ser 1

Increase the overall number of materials published in the last 5 years

2024

Tec

Technology

Tec 1

Increase available technology

2021

Tec 2

increase Wi-Fi strength and hotspot locations throughout building

2020

Ope

Operations

Ope 1

Provide access to Library programming outside of normal operational hours

2019

 
Copyright 2019 by City of Tyler