Community Voices:
A Report on Focus Group Sessions to Explore the Feasibility of
Establishing a Joint Library for Fanwood and Scotch Plains

Attachment 1: Focus Group Questions

Prepared by Library Development Solutions
Princeton Junction, NJ
November 2007

Questions for participants

1. Let's start by talking about what the Library can do for this community. Think about the people who live and work here and how the community has changed in the last few years. As you think about the community, what roles should the library assume in supporting community needs? How does the library contribute to the community's quality of life?

2. Do you use other libraries, which ones and why do you choose to go there?

3. Describe your vision of a perfect or amazing public library. What would this library look like? What kind of services would it provide?

4. How satisfied are you with the current services provided by the Fanwood and Scotch Plans libraries? What do you see as the major strengths? Do the libraries need improvement or to offer other services?

5. How do you feel about your experiences using the libraries? Were they positive or negative? What things contribute to your ability to have a positive library experience?

6. As you may know, Fanwood and Scotch Plains have received state funding to explore the possibility of establishing one library to serve the residents of both towns. We are currently studying the feasibility of moving forward with this, but we need feedback from all of you.

      Would you support the establishment of a joint library? Explain what that means for each community.

      We are considering a number of locations - municipal site, Scotch Plains -, which might be preferable or do you have other ideas?

      What excites you about this idea? What concerns you?

7. Let's talk about library support. Currently Fanwood residents pay approximately $187 per homeowner per to support the library and Scotch Plains residents pay $168 per household annually. Compare and contrast to school support. Of the things we talked about today -new and improved services, more books, extended hours, a new library how much more would you be willing to spend for a better library?

Would you be willing to provide private contributions if we were to undertake a capital campaign for a new library in order to reduce the tax burden?

8. What could we do to raise community awareness of the library? Or get people excited about establishing a joint library?

9. We have talked about a wide range of issues today. Are there any other topics or concerns we haven't touched upon? Is there anything else about your own library experience you would like to share with the group?

The teen questions included discussion about what they like to do in their free time, what image comes to mind when they think about the library, and library location.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss our project with you.
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