Berkeley Library wants your feedback to improve services

South Branch Library under construction 2 of 3 1.24.13 Photo: Tracey Taylor

Construction at the South Branch Library on MLK and Russell is moving fast. Photo: Tracey Taylor

The Berkeley Public Library has set up a 25-question survey to get the scoop from local residents about how they see and use library programs, events and facilities.

Through Feb. 19, Berkeley library users can fill out the brief online survey or a paper version of the survey at all library locations. (Take the online survey here.)

According to a notice sent Wednesday from Councilman Max Anderson‘s office, the library “will be seeking community input on how to improve Library services and communications.”

The survey is part of the Library Board-approved Library Strategic Plan: 2011-2013. According to Wednesday’s statement, one goal of the plan is to bring more Berkeley residents into the library as regular patrons.

The final plan will offer communication strategies to help give community members a better sense of what they can find at the library.

The library is working with the San Francisco-based public relations firm Berg Davis Public Affairs to administer the survey and analyze its results.

In the coming months, the results will help the library “to develop a comprehensive public information and communications program to promote the use and support of the Library.”

Questions include how frequently residents visit the library, whether they know about programs to support the library, and what kind of online and skill-building resources are available to patrons. Take the online survey here.

Two of Berkeley’s branch libraries — the West and South branches — are currently being rebuilt. For construction updates, schedules and plans, visit the Branch Improvement Program page of the Berkeley Public Library website.

Debate on future of two city libraries sparks concerns [03.14.11]
Gleaming North Branch to open on Thursday [03.03.12]
Renovated Claremont Branch opens Saturday [05. 03.12]

Read more news about the Berkeley Public Library. Would you like a digest of the day’s Berkeley news in your inbox at the end of your working day? Click here to subscribe to Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing.

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  • bgal4

    1. As many computers as they can fit, libraries provide internet access to low income folks.
    2. Free use of community room, the city currently charges residents $62 hr to use recreation and senior center meeting space.

  • anonymous

    I have some feedback for the library.

    Last Saturday, seeking to test how the library discriminates against the homeless, I took a stuffed cart into the library, rolling by the security guard who did not so much as glance at obviously-middle-class me. I even tried to get her to ask about my more than 24 inch cart – a VersaCart that is much nicer than the metal carts many think of (bought it online for fifty bucks!! a great cart that holds over 100 pounds, handy for a person without a car when doing a heavy grocery shop).

    And my cart was overflowing. I had farmers market food and Trader Joe’s food (three half gallons of coconut milk get heavy on the walk uphill to home!) . . but on the stop it was clothing.

    Feedback for the library: stop banning homeless people with luggage but admitting middle class people with luggage. My cart is biggest than almost all suitcases, bigger than most strollers, but they let me in. I am itching to file a civil rights lawsuit against the library.

    Or maybe the library has stopped its discrimination against homeless-appearing citizens they assume are homeless. A dishelved, unkemp human with luggage looking to use the internet might just have poor grooming habits, which, in a free society, is actually their right. Wild crazy homeless don’t, I think, get online very much.

  • David D.
  • guest

    The library community rooms are available at no charge.

  • Gus

    You are itching to file a civil rights lawsuit against the library, but try as you might, you can’t seem to get them to discriminate against you. Frustrating!

  • bgal4

    So were the recreation and senior centers until out of the blue, without any public input or transparency, the city changed the policy and adopted a fee schedule very unfavorable to community groups access. Can you guarantee the policy will continue to support community use?

  • yup

    We had a similar experience of breezing by with a large pack while a homeless-looking person with a similarly sized pack got humiliated by a size-check before entering.

  • The Sharkey

    Next time you should try smuggling in a bomb.

    If they let you in without checking your cart, you can threaten to set it off! That’ll show them!


  • The Sharkey

    Keep pushing the issue. Maybe if you’re lucky the library will just ban all backpacks and carts completely.

  • Neighbor

    Library: I know there are probably legal problems out the wazoo, but couldn’t we figure out a way to have occasional fireside storytelling in the Children’s Library? i imagine that with adults present, we could probably contain the children well enough.
    It is so sad to me to see that beautiful fireplace going to waste.
    Other than that, really, really no complaints. I LOVE our library, and am there several times a week. Good job, library staff!!!

  • Seemed strange to me that the question about employment didn’t offer something like “employed in the private sector” as one of the choices, but maybe we’re a statistically insignificant minority among library users.

  • 4Eenie

    Did you get photos or video of the interaction? That would add a lot of credence when you file your lawsuit.

  • 4Eenie

    Did you get photos or video of the interaction? That would add a lot of credence to your story.

  • guest

    Except that it is obviously not an actual interaction.
    Lrn 2 troll-detect

  • 4Eenie

    Lrn 2 read-between-the-lines-detect.

  • Marcia Poole

    I think your readers and Councilman Max Anderson might be interested in a new blog that was posted last week addressing the library’s dysfunctional policies. It is, put up by Berkeley’s Elmwood District resident Thomas Lynch. Parents will be particularly interested to read his comments.

  • Slum Jack Homeless

    I’m surprised to see that the Berkeley library would engage a SF PR firm to do such a survey. See that University right over there in Berkeley? Don’t they *teach* people how to do such things? And don’t they have some basis for helping out the city a bit, while they’re at it?