One thousand responses to the library’s Community Needs Assessment Survey are now available. This survey’s goals were twofold: (1) to learn more about what keeps people from using library resources and (2) to help shape how library spaces could and should be used in the future. Key findings touch upon community needs and vision, the value and role of the library, library use, and accessibility of and attitudes about the library. The survey was conducted this fall by the Center for Governmental Studies, Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development at Northern Illinois University. Available in English and Spanish and asking 48 questions, it was a multimode survey (internet, mail, and telephone) sent to a random sample of 3,400 residents with library trustees and staff excluded.
Community need and vision
- When it comes to the future of the Oak Park community, respondents comment that what they most hope for is that it remains diverse (18.2%), there are lower property taxes (12.0%), it remains affordable (10.5%), there is less crime (9.0%), there is more business development and thriving businesses (7.9%), there is continued work on equity (7.7%), it is inclusive and welcoming (7.5%), and there is less high-rise development (6.9%).
Value, role, and services of the Oak Park Public Library
- Almost all (96.3%) respondents say the Oak Park Public Library is valuable to their community, with 83.0% indicating it is very valuable. In comparison, 87.0% of respondents say the Oak Park Public Library is valuable to their household, with 60.5% indicating it is very valuable. Services ranked as most valuable by respondents for both their household and the community as a whole were 1) promote children’s literacy, 2) encourage preschool and school-children to play, read, and learn, and 3) support the educational success of children and teens.
Oak Park Public Library use
- More than eight out of 10 (86.9%) respondents indicate that someone in their household has an Oak Park Public Library card.
Accessibility of Oak Park Public Library
- The majority of the respondents would feel comfortable using the Oak Park Public Library (94.4%), would feel welcome at the library (94.3%), and believe library staff would treat everyone fairly and equally (91.1%).