CLOSUP Public Sector Excellence Database
A Brighter Future for Springfield Today
Urban Libraries Council - 2011 - ULC Top Innovators
A Brighter Future for Springfield Today is a library-led effort that has positioned the Springfield City Library as a key resource for building optimism in a city that has been hard hit by economic challenges.
A Brighter Future for Springfield Today is a library-led effort that has positioned the Springfield City Library as a key resource for building optimism in a city that has been hard hit by economic challenges. After a long history as a private non-profit corporation, the Springfield Library became a city department in 2003 but remained separate in the eyes of the public. Early in 2010, the library made a conscious and strategic decision to focus a new long-range planning process not on the library but on how it could help reverse the city’s downward economic spiral and contribute to a more optimistic future. Using community focus groups and regular connections with city officials, the library helped create new goals built on positive themes of success, community leadership, and celebrating Springfield.
The results have been increased awareness of the library’s position in the community and the value of the services it provides, a strong partnership with city government, and a role as a major player in building Springfield’s “brighter future.” The library’s effort drew praise from city leaders and led to a new city hall focus on long-range planning with library staff serving on every committee. When the Mayor was asked about priorities in the face of state budget cuts, he said he would protect “core services such as public safety and libraries,” adding that in tough economic times “people want their libraries open.”