An online survey answered by more than 2,000 people informed officials at the Kitsap Regional Library that patrons want more evening and Sunday hours, and more copies of books, ebooks and audiobooks.
Library officials released the findings of the survey last week in an email to registered users. The results will be used by the library’s board and staff to determine its strategic plans for coming years.
In all, 90 percent of those responding said they would give the library “an overall assessment of eight, nine, or 10 on a scale of one to 10,” with 10 being the highest rating.
“Fewer than one percent of respondents gave KRL a score of five or less,” the report stated.
Of those taking the survey, 92.5 percent said they would “highly recommend KRL to family and friends,” and 98 percent thought KRL was important because it provided access to materials and resources.
Other reasons for the library’s importance were “because it promotes literacy and the love of reading,” (at 95 percent) and “because it improves the quality of life in Kitsap County,” (at 93 percent).
As far as what the library has to offer, the top ranking answer included books, movies and music. Next was trained staff to answer questions and give recommendations. Other important items included downloadable ebooks, audiobooks and music, classes and events for adults, and computer or wi-fi access to the internet.
Respondents said they wanted more hours at their neighborhood library and thought more evening hours and Sunday hours were needed.
In terms of things respondents thought the library could add or improve were inter-library loans with libraries that are not part of the KRL system, giving recommendations to readers on books, adding a mobile app, and helping patrons with computer skills, tablets and devices.
KRL spokesman Jeff Brody said some of those services are available.
Indeed, the inter-library loans are happening and last year, more than 3,700 requests were fulfilled.
“If there’s a book you are interested in that’s not in our collection, we’ll first look to see if we can purchase it,” he said. “If not, we’ll attempt to obtain it from another library.”
He also pointed out that the staff does make recommendations on books with a monthly online feature called “staff picks” at www.krl.org. And he added that KRL has an app for Android and Apple devices. Readers can search “Washington Library Now” at the online app store.
The library does offer classes in technology and mobile devices and a schedule of classes is posted on the library’s website.
One interesting note to come out of the survey is that some respondents said they didn’t like the self-checkout stations, and worried that it was a way to eliminate personnel.
“KRL is trying to make it very easy for patrons to use self-check if they chose to use it,” Brody said. “But it is not our aim to use self-checkout to reduce staff. In fact, we hope that self-checkout will allow our staff to devote more time to interact with patrons who want or need more assistance.”
Of those who filled out the survey, 97 percent said they were KRL patrons. The most response came from the Silverdale area at 20 percent. Others who responded identified themselves as from Sylvan Way (17 percent) Poulsbo (15 percent) and Bainbridge (15 percent.)
Kitsap Regional Library serves Kitsap County’s 258,000 residents through nine community library locations, online access to library materials and services, a traveling bookmobile and outreach services for the homebound and youth. The library has more than half a million physical items in its collection, bolstered by online access to downloadable e-books, audiobooks and music. The library also provides free access to dozens of online research tools.