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COLUMBIA -- The Columbia Public Library is set to host the first in a series of “community conversations” to help improve the role of the library within the community. The meeting is set up for people to come in and voice their opinions on the direction they would like to see the library go moving forward.

The movement for change was spurred by the year 2017, which is the year the current strategic plan of action is ready to be revisited. The plan was written in 2009 and Mitzi St. John, (title), says the library is interested to see what the community thinks needs to be changed going forward.

“We really want to know what the community trends are and then we are going to try to figure out how the library fits into those trends and how we can really make the community a better place to live,” said St. John.

The role the library has in today’s community is much different than it was when the current strategic plan was written St. John acknowledged but the library has still adapted within the last 8 years.

“The library’s mission has remained constant, lifelong learning is at the forefront of what we do, how we go about doing it has changed and the community conversations will help us know how to do that for the years coming forward,” said St. John.

The library’s website used to be the only digital platform in the whole place but now the entire “digital branch” as St. John referred to it, is the second most popular section of the library.

“There are a lot of changes that have taken place here at the library and the Internet and online services have been the most dominant changes. We have eBooks and audio books, we have online magazines and all of these services have proven to be very popular,” said St. John.

St. John also encouraged people to come voice their opinions and added that this is just the first of many community conversations happening across Mid-Missouri and other times and locations can be found on the library’s website.