The Barrington Library Trustees and Foundation are committed to gaining insight into how our town’s residents, who see the library as an important part of our community, feel about the library’s role in community life. To that end, a survey was conducted to begin that effort.
320 Barrington residents responded to a survey distributed online and via paper November 8 through December 31, 2022. Survey was available at:
- November 8 election polls
- Barrington Public Library
- Via URL link to those on the Foundation MailChimp listing and on flyers distributed around town
Respondents were a diverse mix in terms of age (53 + 15 years) and use of the library.
- About half of the respondents (55%) use the library weekly or a few times a month.
- Nearly a third of respondents (29%) rarely or never use the library.
The majority of respondents use BPL for borrowing and programs
Importance of the Library to Residents and to Barrington
74% gave top ratings of BPL’s importance to them and their family
91% gave top ratings of BPL’s importance to Barrington
Two-thirds of respondents commented on what they Most Want in our town library. Five main themes surfaced, with some example comments:
Books, media, online borrowing, inter-library loans
- “My favorite want is access to an even wider range of audiobooks via Libby. But for other patrons, simply having access to all of your services is critical to our community.”
- “Exactly what you are providing now. Access to free uncensored and unfiltered information to the public.”
- “Larger collection from which to borrow, both in-person and online.”
- “I really enjoy borrowing audio books- I do not often go to the library at this point, but I appreciate email availability and having audio books available.”
Large space for residents to connect, access information, and enjoy educational & civic programs / events
- “More community events and opportunities to gather in a comfortable and modern space.”
- “I would like to see the library become a gathering place that can not only service the community with a large number of books and services, but also an asset to the town’s infrastructure and beginnings of establishing a real downtown…”
- “I would like the library to show how important literacy and knowledge is by presenting itself in a way that shows the community cares. I would also like to see the community have a place that they can use to bring knowledge and education for all ages.”
- “More space for community connectivity – meetings, movie time; more space for books and programming for all ages…This town has no social community center, and such could well be part of a new library.”
Early exposure to reading and creative discovery for children
- “A cozy space to read – right now my kids & I check out – it’s more of a takeout restaurant, whereas we’d like to sit and enjoy time there.”
- “We love our library. It would be amazing to have a bigger space overall. And more areas to sit and read to my children – although they do love the children’s room now!”
- “An inviting and exciting place for children to get & appreciate the value of reading.”
- “Activities in person and take home kits, sharing of book resources, space to come and spend time and read with kids”
Diverse programs, games, clubs for teens, adults & seniors
- “Programming for elders, children, teens that encourages reading, learning and community connection.”
- “Expand to include more adult learning programs”
- “More resources & programs for teenagers in high school”
- “A variety of programs and small group engagements such as writing group.”
Technology support and access to research, job training, business development, essential services
- “More training and skill building for young people. Examples: coding, excel, business and finance management”
- “Computer classes”
- “Offer tech classes (like the Kittery, Maine library), and offer educational programs for every age group”
- “Art classes, tech support, lectures”
- “A variety of programs and small group engagements such as writing group.