4. Determining Community Need

After completing this section, you will be able to:

  • Create a list of your community’s unique strengths and assets
  • Identify possible community partnerships
  • Find new and unique ways to address community needs

Libraries are a center of their communities. Your library might often host community events, perform outreach to different parts of your community (for example schools and/or daycares), or play a key role in community fundraising. Libraries are built to provide for their communities, and many libraries have different ways to determine community need. Some libraries host “town hall” style events to hear from their communities, while others might use online surveys. Knowing the needs of your community is likely something your library has already been working on. However, understanding the needs of your community in relation to your library’s unique capacity can help to strengthen an already strong system.

In our module on Community Mapping, we delve deeply into how to assess the assets and strengths of your community and develop a community map. Here, we will be covering the subject from a slightly different angle. We will be taking stock of resources your community already has, as identified in Community Mapping, and how these strengths can be leveraged to help supplement your library’s capacity. Our Community Mapping module can help us survey the landscape, and we can use what we know to inform our library’s capacity and act on our findings.