By PHIL NOBILE
After the Town of Harrison confirmed a managing architect for the long-awaited library renovations earlier this month, the library released an official, encompassing plan for the facility’s future to the public.
The strategic plan, released on the library’s website on Feb. 24, provides a comprehensive list of goals and visions for the library’s future that will run synonymous with the library’s long-awaited renovation project. The interactive website boasts six key points to the plan: revitalize, promote, expand, lead, cultivate and stabilize.
“Everything is changing because of the technology and the new ways people connect and interact,” Harrison library director Galina Cherynkh said. “That’s the reason why we are doing the plan because we want to be a 21st century library.”
According to Cherynkh, who has been the library director for two years, the process of putting together the plan began last summer, and hearing back from the community through participatory surveys and interaction has been essential.
“A dialogue is important to hear what the people want,” she said. “We have such an engaging and wonderful community, so we’re hoping people from different backgrounds will come and share.”
A distinct focus throughout the library’s plan is on making technological advancements in an ever-changing information age. Patrons to the library can expect new equipment and devices for public use, a new computer lab, digital literacy programming and interactive offerings such as iPads and self-checkout kiosks to make community members comfortable with new technology.
Further, the strategy emphasizes unity in the Harrison community in multiple ways. The plans call for joint programming with Harrison’s schools to benefit youth in the community as well as revitalize staffing policies and training to “provide an environment where the staff feels motivated to deliver the highest standards of service,” according to the plan.
According to Cherynkh, a preliminary survey was sent out during the planning process, asking members of the community what programming and offerings they would like to see from the library. She said the answers ranged from movie and book discussions, to various types of public speakers and broader discussion of community issues.
“People want to see our library as the intellectual center of the community,” the library director said.
The plan also acknowledges changes planned for the West Harrison library, stating that infrastructure and cosmetic additions will also be made to the branch.
Maureen Skrilow, president of the Harrison Public Library Board of Trustees, admits the role of a library is changing and adaptation is needed.
“The Harrison Public Library is embracing innovation in many forms, providing new services, improving and evolving existing services and aligning our resources to best meet the most pressing needs in our community,” Skrilow said.
To date, $3.1 million of funding and donations have been raised, including $1.1 million pledged from the town, according to Ross Halperin, executive director of the Harrison Public Library Foundation. The goal was to reach $3.6 million by the end of 2013, and now the project to double the size of the children’s area and transform unused space into a teen center will proceed albeit with a slightly scaled-back version, Halperin said.
To view the library’s strategic plan, get more information or donate to the library,