Anchorage Public Library Community Plan

Agnew::Beck worked with Himmel & Wilson Library Consultants as well as RIM Architects to assist the Anchorage Library Foundation with the development of a Strategic Plan for the Anchorage Public Library (Z.J. Loussac Public Library). Our team produced a community-driven action plan for public library service in Anchorage.

Public participation for the Anchorage Library Community Plan included a series of focus groups, interviews and large-scale public meetings to assess the library’s services and make recommendations on improving its contribution to the community. The project was branded “Anchorage 21st Century Libraries” with a consistent, recognizable look and feel to encourage participation in the project and appeal to traditional library users and a new generation of visitors. Agnew::Beck consolidated, simplified and emphasized key messages of the findings to design a popular, well-used summary pamphlet to educate the public and encourage participation.

The public was successfully involved in the planning process and submitted more than 6,000 online surveys to prioritize goals and inform the plan’s recommendations. The process helped to create a community-supported vision galvanized by the dismal findings during Himmel & Wilson’s analysis phase. The public library system is in a struggle for survival and continues to experience municipal funding challenges. But the plan’s focus and community support guide the Anchorage Library Foundation efforts to build strength. A focus on five categories and very specific recommendations in each category help the foundation move beyond survival mode into a thriving public library. Library workers report that the plan is a useful tool for building the organization’s strength.