Library focused on new strategic plan

HPL offered more books, more programs and more opportunities for connection in 2023

As we prepare to "close the book" on 2023, it's worth remarking on what a year it's been for Hinsdale Public Library.

This past year was our first year guided by our new strategic plan. Four clear priorities emerged from dozens of community conversations and hundreds of patrons' comments:

• access and convenience

• education and enrichment

• connection and community

• awareness of what we offer

By these standards, the past year was a major success for HPL, and I'm pleased to report we're already seeing our strategy pay off.

We continue to make the library easier to use. Many of our newest items are set aside for Hinsdale residents on our always-available "Lucky Day" shelves. We focused on our digital collections, purchasing more what patrons want and reducing hold times by over 30 percent. To save you time in the library, we're testing self-unlocking study rooms. (You'll get a PIN number to use with your reservation.)

We're also bringing programming out of the building to meet our patrons wherever they are. Nature walks at Fullersburg Woods, tours of some of Hinsdale's beautiful homes, even a book club for new moms at a wine bar - each of these off-site events has been a hit.

HPL has been visiting schools for years, but this year we developed 13 new outreach experiences, creating an additional 875 student interactions with our dedicated children's staff.

We've more than doubled the number of programs we offer adults, including daytime programs for older patrons, and the growth in attendance is astonishing.

We've used software to analyze our entire collection, making sure it meets patrons' interests, and, as a result, we now own more books on travel, history and interior design.

Responding to our growing Asian community, we increased our world languages collection by over 400 percent - adding new titles in Chinese, Hindi and Korean.

The success of our efforts to connect Hinsdale with the wider world was highlighted during this year's mid-autumn celebration, when nearly 400 people came to the library to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival.

These efforts to create an accessible, culturally-enriching space have made HPL a premier space to gather with friends, neighbors and family. Our programs often fill up, our study rooms are in high demand and after school, the library buzzes with parents, tutors and teens helping children with homework. (One popular teen activity is our Junior Advisory Board, which creates incredible programs for high schoolers.

This fall, 60 teens filled the library on a Friday night to think their way out of HPL's escape room.)

Next year, the board will use the results of a new space utilization audit to plan enhancements that will give us more flexibility in serving all our residents.

I hope you will join the growing number of patrons who use our library. We truly have something for everyone. If you haven't visited lately, please resolve to visit this winter.

Apply for your card online at today, call (630) 986–1976 to schedule a tour or just come by!

- by John Bloomfield, library board president