Fingal Libraries – Trusted and Valued by the Community we serve
Fingal County Libraries delivers an innovative and engaging public library service to the citizens of Fingal. With a diverse audience, Library staff strive to improve and enhance the wellbeing of all members of the community. As a learning centre it supports literacy and lifelong learning, often filling the gaps in formal education. Socially, it tackles […]
ingal County Libraries delivers an innovative and engaging public library service to the citizens of Fingal. With a diverse audience, Library staff strive to improve and enhance the wellbeing of all members of the community. As a learning centre it supports literacy and lifelong learning, often filling the gaps in formal education. Socially, it tackles isolation by providing services to the most vulnerable. For the community, it provides information about services, volunteering, and environmental awareness. In terms of the cultural benefits, it promotes literature and provides free creative spaces for artists, writers, musicians and computer programmers. And as an economic hub it supports digital skills by providing access to computers and WIFI and encouraging enterprise by giving support to small businesses and providing free creative working spaces.
So what is the perception of Fingal Library users of their library service?
As part of my Masters dissertation, I got the opportunity to find out through a number of Focus Groups I conducted. One of the insightful findings from my research demonstrated how much the Library users valued their local library service and the high regard the communities have for Library staff. They feel that Library staff are one of Fingal’s best resources, with one user saying they are “met with 100% satisfaction all the time” and another user describing the service as “superb”. Not only do the Users enjoy the human interaction with staff, citing “staff are particularly friendly” and “you are greeted when they walk in the door of the library”, but it is the knowledge and expertise of staff that is valued the most – “they have suggested books to me that I wouldn’t have heard of” and “when I go to the library, I use the Librarian as my catalogue”. It was felt that staff provide “layers of service on top of what the technology provides” and their professionalism is valued -“there’s a great level of detail given to the service that they are providing”.
For families, the visit to the Library is considered an “outing” and an “experience” – “itbecomes the place that you go with your kids”. Parents feel it allows their children the opportunity to explore and discover and to build a relationship with Library staff, who they feel are a trusted source of information -”it’s the interaction with the Librarian”.
The communities of Fingal have a very strong sense of pride about their local library, with one Library user stating – “how cool is it to have a library like this on your door step…it’s absolutely fantastic”. Fingal County Libraries are very focused on the service they deliver and have a strong understanding of their role in the community, engaging with the community at every level. From this study, it is apparent that even in the 21st Century, the public information service provided by Libraries is perceived as a trusted, valued and recognized feature of the local community, with one borrower describing the service as “inestimable”.
By Úna Smyth, Fingal Libraries
Editors Note: Locate your local Fingal Library branch by clicking here