METRO Engages Its Members in Setting Future Directions

METRO Engages Its Members in Setting Future Directions

METRO recently carried out two needs assessment activities—a major online survey and a daylong planning meeting for library leaders—to further our knowledge about our members' evolving needs. These efforts align with METRO's strategic planning goal of enriching our membership by systematically assessing members' needs and tailoring our services accordingly.

METRO's online Professional Development Needs Assessment Survey was conducted during the summer. Nearly 500 METRO members and other professionals in the information management field responded, yielding numerous insights on the subject areas of greatest importance to our members, preferred training formats and venues, and other issues that will help us to plan our upcoming professional development offerings.

Our daylong planning meeting for library leaders was held on October 2 at Columbia University's Butler Library. Leaders from more than 15 libraries attended, including the Executive Vice President and Library Director of the New York Historical Society; the Director of Library and Research Services for the Council on Foreign Relations; the University Librarian for the City University of New York; the Dean of the Division of Libraries at the NYU Elmer Holmes Bobst Library; and the Frances and John L. Loeb Librarian of Medicine and Director of the Weill Cornell Medical Library; among others. Three METRO Board of Trustees members—Board President Norman J. Jacknis, Board Vice President Jeffery Olson, and Patricia C. Skarulis—also participated.

Jim Neal, the Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, provided the welcoming remarks and made a presentation on "Challenges Facing New York and Westchester Libraries."? The meeting also featured a presentation by Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist at the Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled, "State of the Internet 2009: Pew Internet Project Findings and Implications for Libraries."?

After identifying the challenges confronting libraries today, the participants engaged in an extensive brainstorming session to generate recommendations on the role METRO can play in supporting and strengthening libraries. Participants discussed the importance of developing more advanced methods for marketing libraries to policy makers, mobilizing library users to become effective library advocates, expanding collaboration among libraries in our area, and many other topics.

METRO staff members have already started analyzing the recommendations generated at the planning meeting and will soon begin researching fundraising opportunities to translate these ideas into action. We'll also be continuing this important dialogue with library leaders, and all METRO members, in the months to come.

For more information on the Professional Development Needs Assessment Survey or the planning meeting for library leaders, contact Dottie Hiebing, Executive Director, at: or 212-228-2320 x 10.

Sam Streed
Author: Sam Streed
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