Easier material access, help for businesses in Naperville library's future

Naperville library officials imagine a future when materials are easier to access and the library is a leader with innovative ideas.

They imagine serving diverse populations while teaching them just how important the library is.

Executive Director Julie Rothenfluh says the library board has spelled out 12 objectives to help reach those goals in a new strategic plan.

“It's all about different ways we serve our community,” she said. “That's ultimately the top priority.”

The public could see changes next month, especially as the library looks to expand a “Spotlight” collection of popular materials at Naper Boulevard Library, teach business accelerator courses and offer technology for use outside library walls.

Library board President Vince Rosanova said the plan reflects the desires of the people the library exists to serve.

“The most important thing to me about the strategic plan is it involved pretty significant community feedback and input as to what direction the library should be heading,” Rosanova said.

Quick, easy access

Many library visitors want to stop in, quickly find a new book and get on their way, said Dave Della Terza, director of the Naper Boulevard Library, which was renovated last year to include the “Spotlight” collection.

The collection highlights mystery, romance, biography, cooking, do-it-yourself, health, history and self-help.

“We pulled out popular topics that we know people are looking for and put the newer and more timely materials there,” Della Terza said.

Library staffers will analyze the collection and likely expand it to the Nichols and 95th Street locations.

A redesign of the library's website also is under way to help users more easily search the card catalog to find the books, movies, games and magazines they're seeking.

Helping biz, students

Business people and students could be the benefactors of innovations in the works or under consideration.

The NaperLaunch business startup center at Nichols Library soon will offer its first NaperLaunch Academy since opening in fall 2014. The academy will be a series of 12 courses taught by Naperville-area business leaders for people who already have a new venture up and running.

Kent Palmer, business librarian, said operators of a transportation company, an art gallery and an online baby gift shop are signed up for the free series that will teach topics including operations management, funding growth and digital marketing with the goal of doubling revenue.

“We want to move to the next level of support and help them learn some new concepts, some key concepts that will help them in the expansion of their business,” Palmer said. “Now that they're through the startup phase, we want to help them go to the next level.”

NaperLaunch Academy begins in April and could be offered once or twice a year.

Check-out privileges for laptops, tablets, projectors and Internet hot spots also could be coming soon, Rothenfluh said. Allowing hot spots to be checked out could be especially helpful for students who are receiving laptops for use on homework — although not all of them have a way to sign online at home.

“We can help fill that gap,” Rothenfluh said.

A hot spot from the library could create the Internet connection necessary to access class materials and complete assignments.

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  The "Spotlight" collection at Naper Boulevard Library includes popular titles in six genres displayed for quick and easy access. Officials plan to offer similar collections of books at the Nichols and 95th Street branches soon. Mark Black/
  New books and popular titles are on display for quick selection in the "Spotlight" collection at Naper Boulevard Library. Mark Black/
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