The Dallas Public Library system is seeking community feedback to help shape its comprehensive facilities and strategic master plan.

The plan is meant to map out the future of library services and guide policy decisions, budgets, programs, services, collections, technology and staffing. It will include goals to meet community needs over the next five to 10 years, according to the library website.

Melissa Dease, Dallas Public Library communications administrator, said the process of creating the new plan will take about a year. The library is currently in the first stage of that process, collecting community input in partnership with a private vendor.

Dease said the library is seeking feedback regarding not just core library services, such as loaning materials and providing internet access, but neighborhood needs.

“Because our libraries are so integrated into neighborhoods, we are kind of de facto community centers,” Dease said. “It’s really easy for us to want to do everything, so we’re trying to get an idea of what people are really looking for and see if that is something that we should include in a [future] plan.”

To gather input, Dallas Public Library is hosting a series of community feedback sessions and asking community members to fill out an online survey about the library. The community sessions will be held in-person at library branches, and both library patrons and nonpatrons are welcome to attend.

These are the upcoming community sessions:
  • Fretz Park Branch on May 13 at 10 a.m.; and
  • Lochwood Branch on May 20 at 10 a.m.
After the first period of community sessions, the library’s vendor will identify the top needs communicated and begin making recommendations for the strategic plan, Dease said. Then, the library will announce more community meetings to gather additional input. During the feedback period, all Dallas Public Library branches will have a feedback station near their circulation desks for users to answer questions related to the plan, she added.

By partnering with a planning consultant, Dallas Public Library plans to evaluate the library system, facilities usage and community needs of each library service area through an equity and inclusion lens, according to the library website. The planning process includes identifying library and city priorities and anticipating future needs based on the city’s growth patterns and demographics.

Implementation of the new comprehensive facilities and strategic master plan is expected to begin in early 2024. The strategic plan will last five years, and the facilities plan is meant to last for 10 years.