Task Force Report Finds Multiple Problems At The Library

Friday, February 20, 2009

A final Library Task Force report finds multiple problems at the Bicentennial Library, including funding and staffing.

The 76-page report, written by consultants June Garcia and Susan Kent, says the library "lacks a clear vision for the future" and "has no strategic plan in place."

It also says the library is underfunded both in its operating and capital budgets and "is not making good use of the funds that it receives."

It says the library "is not allocating its current resources in line with community needs."

The consultants said the library has not kept up with population growth in developing and expanding library facilities and "has a very problematic governance structure."

It says the library buildings "are inadequated, unattractive and cumbersome."

The appointed by Mayor Ron consultants said the library uses technology that is limited and dated and has collections and collection policies that do not meet contemporary librry best practices.

The consultants recommend that the Task Force be reconvened to discuss how to begin tackling the problems.

Jim Kennedy, Task Force chairman, presented the report to Mayo Ron Littlefield, stating, “The Task Force accepted a challenge from Mayor Littlefield to explore the current state and future changes to our library system. Mayor Littlefield knew, as did we, that our library was in need of focused attention and improvement. The work of the Task Force was to find what type of library system our community wanted and needed and how best to accomplish that.”

The Task Force spent the first several months in visiting the downtown and branch libraries, studying and understanding the library financials and management structure, and visiting other community libraries. Last summer, the Task Force hired the consultants.

“What the consultants brought to the table, according to Mr. Kennedy, “was a combined 50 years of experience in the library profession. That experience helped guide the Task Force by providing the knowledge of library best practices and specifics in creating a blueprint for the future.”

Mayor Littlefield, in accepting the report, said, “This report provides an unflinching analysis of our library system. It is bold in its frank assessment but also very exciting in its challenge for change. I am grateful to the consultants and the Task Force for their dedication to this project. I am also grateful to the community for the input provided and which is well represented in the recommendations for the future of this most important institution.”

The full report is available for viewing online at www.chattanooga.gov.

Library Task Force Members:

Jim Kennedy, III – Task Force Chairman

Kenco Group

Eleanor Cooper Shawn Kurrelmeier-Lee

Hamilton County Government

Mel Cooper

Theresa Liedtka

Tom Griscom UTC Lupton Library

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Brian May

Mai Bell Hurley Maycreate

Mary Knaff Elaine Swafford

Chattanooga State Chattanooga State

Dan Saieed

Hamilton County Government


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