NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence Memorial Library Director Lisa Florio detailed the preliminary results of the library’s survey during the Borough Council meeting Monday night. She invited members of the public to continue taking the survey, which will remain open until the end of November.

“What we are trying to do is gauge people’s feelings about our services,” Florio said. “We’re trying to become a little more involved in the community, and we’re also trying to figure out how are facilities are working for us, and whether people feel that they’re appropriate or not.”

Florio said that of 315 respondents who have answered the survey so far, more than half are likely to support a tax referendum to raise funds for the library and to support the library through donations. She said that about 70% come to the library at least once a month.

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“What that tells me is that we’re part of their life, we’re part of their community,” Florio said. “They feel … that what we are doing is important enough for them to come and visit, and we obviously have something that’s attractive to them.”

The top five library services indicated by the survey are as follows: 1) helpful library staff, 2) interlibrary loan, 3) online catalog, 4) access to free wireless, and 5) library website.

“The most important thing to people is a helpful library staff,” Florio said. “You can buy a lot of stuff online today … but you can’t buy us, so you can’t buy our recommendations.”

Florio also said the interlibrary loan system, which includes access to Rutgers University’s library, can “make most collections in New Jersey available to our patrons.” She added that the remaining three services have been recent priorities for library staff.

“We have invested in these in the last couple of years,” Florio said. “Our investment is matching what people find important.”

Meanwhile, those who answered the survey ranked the following top five library spaces: 1) parking lot, 2) children’s area to read and play, 3) quiet area to read, 4) lounge seating area to read, and 5) family restroom.

Florio explained that the results presented during the meeting are only preliminary.

“We’re going to keep [the survey] open through the month of November,” Florio said. “We only want to make sure that everybody who wants to have a say to get on and do so.” After the survey is complete, Florio said, the library staff will put the final results on their website and discuss them at a public meeting.

The survey has not yet been reopened, but will be in the coming days, library staff confirmed to TAPinto New Providence. More information about the New Providence Memorial Library can be found on the library website