“What does our community need from its library?”

Client: Kitchener Public Library

Project: KPL Stakeholder Engagement

Timeline: May—November 2015

Project Services: Community Engagement, Insights Reporting

The Challenge:

As a focal point in the heart of Kitchener, the Kitchener Public Library (KPL) acknowledged that it needed to do more to understand and welcome the community to its space. Not only did KPL seek to learn more about local residents and their needs, but also to define its own role, relevance, and future direction in the community. Additionally, KPL aimed to establish a greater awareness and sense of value for the library within the local community.

The Outcomes:

To meet its goals, Overlap and KPL conducted extensive community engagement to reach and understand every stakeholder group, including users, non-users, kids, staff, donors, volunteers, businesses, and more.

Recognizing that its stakeholder groups were incredibly diverse, Overlap and KPL employed a range of engagement techniques that were customized for all participants. Engagement activities included street teams surveying the public on the streets of Kitchener, community prioritization boards, an online open survey, and stakeholder labs for targeted participants such as teens, staff, and service partners. Ultimately, hundreds of individuals across Kitchener offered ideas for how the library could serve its community, now and in the future.

The result was a comprehensive picture of KPL’s nuanced stakeholders, which served as important groundwork for KPL to plan its practical vision and strategic plan.

 “This has probably been the most useful survey I have ever filled out. All of the questions were completely relevant and effective.” […] “Thank you for the invitation to participate. It proves you are working hard to make the library the best possible.” 

- Community Engagement Participants