The mission of the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library is to engage our community of users in literacy and inspire life-long learning.
Rolling Hills Consolidated Library will provide our community with inspiring spaces and high quality opportunities for learning, enlightenment, creativity, and enjoyment.
Rolling Hills Library, Where Connections Are Made!
Plan of Service 2017-2020
Rolling Hills Consolidated Library is committed to providing the best possible customer service while meeting the needs and wants of our users. This Plan of Service was written to outline our goals and objectives for the years between 2017 and 2020. With contributions from library board members and library staff, and including expanded sources of community data and consumer profiles, we hope to expand library services and increase library usage because we believe in the power of libraries to transform and improve people’s lives.
Library Service Responses: Goals & Objectives
These goals and objectives were selected from a list of 18 provided in Strategic Planning for Results (2008), a publication of the American Library Association intended to guide the planning process. While these goals do not encompass all of what Rolling Hills Library does on a regular basis, they provide a framework and a focus for activities during the period covered by this Plan of Service.
- Create Young Readers: Early Literacy
Children from birth to age five will have programs and services designed to ensure they will enter school ready to learn to read, write, and listen.
- The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten (1000BBK) program will increase the number of participating children by 100% from the December 2016 enrollment. (December 2018)
- The library will present at least 2 early childhood exhibits for the community, in partnership with other community agencies. These exhibits will be high quality, professional, travelling exhibits that might be found in larger urban areas. (June 2020)
- Library staff will implement program evaluations and surveys of attendees at early literacy events to ensure that the days and times of program offerings are the most convenient for our communities. (December 2020)
- Collection usage will be analyzed to see if the library is offering the right variety of materials to support early literacy. (June 2018)
- Library staff will increase outreach efforts with schools and other entities within the two-county region so that at least one program or event per month is located off-site. (December 2020)
- Connect to the Online World: Public Internet Access
Users will have high-speed access to the digital world with no unnecessary restrictions or fees to ensure that everyone can take advantage of the ever-growing resources and services available through the internet.
- Connections to the internet at all library locations will be the highest bandwidth possible, given hardware and budget constraints. (December 2020)
- Lending of wi-fi hotspots will be analyzed to see if additional units are needed to fill the demand, after a complete marketing campaign informing users about this equipment. (December 2018)
- Library computer classes will be offered that help users with their specific needs, including internet safety, checkout of digital media, employment and small business help, and being an informed consumer of information available on the internet. (December 2020)
- Staff will poll library users to find out if they need more assistance in the digital world to design and offer specific library programs, such as help with online banking or filing taxes. (December 2018)
- Satisfy Curiosity: Lifelong Learning
Users will have the resources they need to explore topics of personal interest and continue to learn throughout their lives.
- Library users will be encouraged in new ways to contribute to the development of the library collection by making title requests for the topics they are personally interested in. (June 2018)
- Using market research about hobbies and interests, library staff will analyze the 2-county region along with library usage data to inform the selection of materials for purchase and the creation of library programs. (December 2018)
- All library programs will state what learning goal is supported by the program and how library events can be connected to library collections to encourage further self-study or exploration. (December 2020)
- Library staff will examine and pursue a project to become the community data center, researching and compiling community statistics to measure and report on how well the community is doing on a selected list of measurements of community success. (June 2020)
- Stimulate Imagination: Reading, Viewing, Listening for Pleasure
Users who want materials to enhance their leisure time will find what they want, when and where they want, and will have the help they need to make choices from among the options available.
- Staff at library branch locations will learn more about merchandising and promoting materials so users are exposed to more items on display. (June 2019)
- The library will create a more personalized reader’s advisory service for users that will incorporate text messaging, phone calls, and email messages in addition to in-person assistance in finding leisure reading titles. (December 2018)
- Library social media will include more book cover images and promote more library materials alongside library programs. (June 2018)
- Visit an Engaging and Inspiring Place: Physical and Virtual Spaces
Users will have safe and welcoming physical places to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read, and will have open and accessible virtual spaces that support enjoyment and learning.
- Bookmobile service will be improved with the purchase of a new vehicle that will be set up with the needs of users in mind. (December 2017)
- The schedule of bookmobile visits will be reviewed to add at least 2 visits to senior care centers and child care centers per month, as compared to June 2017 schedule of stops. (June 2018)
- Belt Branch staff will participate in a space planning process to consider ways to better use the square footage of the branch and to decide how the branch design might be updated and refreshed. (December 2018)
- Outreach efforts across the library will increase, finding ways to bring the library out of our buildings and meet people where they are at least eight (8) times per year, including festivals, events, partnerships, and special programs. (June 2019)
These objectives will be reviewed on a regular basis (at least quarterly) and the overall goals will be revisited in 2020 to revise and update this Plan of Service for the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library.
PLAN APPROVED July 25, 2017, by the Board of Trustees
In April 1961, a two county library system was formed in northwest Missouri called the Andrew and Buchanan County Regional Library. On August 17, 1961, the name was changed to the Rolling Hills Regional Library which served all of Andrew County and Buchanan County outside of the city limits of Saint Joseph. The headquarters was located in the basement of the Washington Park Library in Saint Joseph and service was offered primarily by bookmobile to the rural areas of the counties.
In 1963, space was leased at 413 N. Belt Hwy. in Saint Joseph for administrative offices and the growing collection. Space was made for a deposit collection in a Savannah elementary school, and later space was leased in the basement of the Andrew County Courthouse. Mr. James Hawkins offered to build a library for Savannah and lease it to the Regional Library, and in August 1965 the Savannah branch was opened with 2000 square feet to serve the northern portion of the district.
In July 1973, the courts approved the consolidation of the Andrew County and Buchanan County Library Districts officially into the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library district. This action was based on a new Missouri law at the time that allowed this kind of library management structure. During this time, service was offered in Savannah, Saint Joseph, and to rural areas using the “Book Buggy,” a station wagon outfitted with books and materials. Films were also showed in rural towns sponsored by the Library. At this time, the library levy was set at $.10 per $100 of valuation.
In 1975 and 1976, voters were asked to increase the library levy and both times the measure was rejected. Budget woes of both the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library and the St Joseph Public Library were often discussed in the news, although few solutions were found. The bookmobile, which had been limited in service, was discontinued in June 1979 due to lack of funds. In 1982, a successful levy election increased the rate to $.15 per $100. The Library’s administrative offices and southern branch moved in 1983 to 1904 N. Belt Hwy. in Saint Joseph into space rented from the W.M. Grace Construction Company. In 1984, the Library purchased the building at 514 W. Main in Savannah and doubled the space in 1985 to 4000 square feet.
In 1989, the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library and the St. Joseph Public Library entered into a management agreement to create the River Bluffs Regional Library. This contract included the provision of services and allowed the two library entities to share in an automation system. Each separate Board of Trustees continued to exist, and the two Boards met together to manage the system.
In November 1999, voters passed an additional operating levy for the entire regional library district of $.15 per $100 of valuation which would sunset in 20 years. This campaign was based on building a new branch on the east side of St. Joseph and renovating all of the other four branches of the River Bluffs Regional Library. The two taxing districts at the time had two different permanent operating levies, $.16 for Rolling Hills and $.27 for St. Joseph.
To the disappointment of many, the River Bluffs Regional Library was dissolved on November 16, 2001, when the St. Joseph Public Library Board voted to end the agreement and allow the two taxing districts to continue separately on their own. Both the creation and the dissolution of the River Bluffs Regional Library made national library news, first with the innovation and cooperation in creating the agreement and then in the drama and separation details that followed the end of the partnership.
In 2002, Rolling Hills Consolidated Library added another 4500 square feet to the Savannah Branch, bringing the service area to 8500 total square feet. Then in 2003, RHCL purchased the building it had been renting space in at 1900 N. Belt Hwy. and completed a total renovation of the property in 2006. The Belt Branch library occupied the lower level of the building at 1904 N. Belt Hwy. with 20,000 square feet. An additional 3000 square feet of space was used on the upper level for administrative offices at 1912 N. Belt Hwy.
In 2010, a portion of the upper level space was renovated to create a large meeting room and programming area for the Belt Branch, recently re-named the Upper Story, at 1906A N. Belt Hwy, bringing the total branch square footage to 23,000. Other retail spaces continued to be rented out on the upper level.
A used bookmobile was purchased and put into service in 2013 to serve the outlying areas of both counties, reviving this service with a large donation from the Rolling Hills Library Support Foundation and the Friends of the Rolling Hills Library. In 2014, plans were approved to renovate empty retail space on the upper level to provide the Friends of the Library with space for their bookstore and house the growing outreach collection used in bookmobile services, bringing administrative space to 6400 square feet. In 2017, the library used designated funds to renovate the interior of the Savannah Branch, using bright, new colors and including two study rooms and a new service desk area.