Milford Public Library wants residents to weigh in on future plans

The Milford Public Library is turning to residents through an online survey, focus groups and interviews to come up with a three-year strategic plan to better serve the community.

Library Director Christine Angeli said they have not done a survey in about 15 years and “so it’s time to take a look at where we’re going with our services.”

The survey can be found on the Milford Public Library website.

The survey went live last week and will continue until Feb. 1; it takes about 15 minutes to complete. So far, replies have been brisk.

“We want a road map for the next few years. Library services are really changing,” Angeli said.

The library has hired consultant Maxine Bleiweis of Maxine Bleiweis & Associates to gather and analyze the data. Bleiweis is a former library director in Westport, Newington and Suffield with more than 40 years in the business.

“She brings a visionary and out-of-the-box outlook,” Angeli said.

Bleiweis said it is too soon in the survey process to tell what Milford residents want, but through three focus groups held so far, she said, it is clear that Milford residents have a real “appreciation” and “feeling of ownership about their community.”

Bleiweis said she is trying to get people through her questions to “think aspirationally.”

“My business is to help libraries be the best they can be,” she said. “Libraries are a place where people come together as a community to learn,” as opposed to just checking out books.

She said libraries have gone through big changes over the years and one of those areas is that they have become places for entrepreneurs to find a work setting. She said they also serve as a place for people use and learn about technology.

“There has never been more to learn than there is today,” she said. “If the library is successful, everyone in the community should have a relationship with it.”

Some examples of what the survey seeks to learn are: positive and negative experiences people have had; what people typically do when they visit; which services at the library are most important to serving the needs of the Milford community as a whole; and where in Milford, other than the library, do residents experience the greatest level of community interaction.