Thoughts on the American Fork Public Library, in Utah

By Colleen B. Eggett, American Fork Public Library DirectorAmerican Fork Public Library

Sperling’s Best Places describes American Fork, Utah as a wonderful, happening place. The growth rate is rapid and it’s a marvelous place to raise a family.  There is room to grow. There are two major universities nearby, outstanding natural resources, and it’s close to absolutely everything while remaining unaffected by much of it. That makes for a great recipe for success.

So, I am the new American Fork Public Library Director. It is such a great opportunity.  I am grateful every day.

I would like your ideas on what would make the Library great.  Please tell us your ideas in this short survey. Or, use this QR code to access it. aflibrarydreams

Here are some of my thoughts for how our library can evolve.

  • Keep doing those key functions of the library that are so important in the community.
  • Continue to build our image and presence in the community. Everyone will know us and benefit through the library.
  • Understand better than anyone else what the community wants and needs from us. Use Abundant Community Planning to determine the needs.
  • Continue to grow the American Fork Library in dynamic ways that keep up with current technologies, using best practices from other Utah and nationwide libraries.
  • Use technology to increase cost efficiency within the available resources and keep up with growth, as well as to enhance collections, programs, spaces, and services.
  • Collaborate freely in the North Utah County Library Cooperative Library Services, using our collective experience to help us all.
  • Build the American Fork community. Get involved in the community and get the community involved in the library, reading and literacy.
  • Work with others to secure funding for expansion of the Bryan McKay Eddington Learning Center. Use great design and appealing features in creating a new space. Keep a close connection between the Learning Center and the Library.
  • Completely value Sheena’s great contributions to the community and the library in the many years she was here. Build on what she and the staff accomplished.
  • Use and promote the incredible resources that we already have at no cost to us through Pioneer: Utah’s Online Library. Customize it to the American Fork Library.
    • eBooks and e-Audiobooksiphone
    • Online local newspapers
    • Heritage Quest genealogy
    • Auto repair manuals and service tips
    • Learning Express GED, SAT, ACT, GRE tests, more
  • Continue to make our online presence dynamic and evolving.
    • Use social media and our website to inform and engage the community.
    • Use online registration (free) for Storytime, Programs, Summer Reading.

The four most powerful words in our language are, “Tell me a story.” I can never overestimate the importance that libraries play in people’s lives. We hope to do the same for you.

Questions upon questions

I am teaching an online course on Library Surveys for Success soon. Here are some questions to be considered when writing survey questions (echo alert).

After designing your survey take a second look and think about the following:

Survey design

  • Did you give clear instructions?
  • Are demographic questions asked that are useful to your project?
  • Is the survey brief? (Less than 10-15 minutes to complete)
  • Does the survey look professional and esthetically pleasing?
  • Does the survey describe how the results will directly affect them? (EX: Improving services)


  • Are the questions consistent with your survey goals?
  • Do the questions use simple and clear wording?
  • Are positive adjectives or phrases used?
  • Do the questions ask for only “need to know” and not “nice to know” information?
  • Does the question lead to a particular response? (Is it a leading question?)
  • Is potentially offensive language used? (For example, sexist or racist wording)
  • Do any questions contain technical terms or jargon?
  • Have you used double negatives?


  • What will be the value of a response? If 95% say, “Yes,” would this affect decision-making?
  • Might the question prompt a vague answer? Make sure you ask directly for the information.
  • Will respondents have the information they need to answer the question?
  • If a scale is used for responses, is it balanced (for example, 1 to 5, with 3 being neutral)?
  • If responses are provided, are they mutually exclusive?

Running your survey

  • Did you do a pre-test before sending the survey out?
  • Are you sure you’re reaching your target audience?
  • Did you provide an end date?
  • Do you plan to keep the survey live for a couple of days after the end date?

Connecting to Collections Town Hall

The results of our recent statewide Connecting to Collections Preservation Assessment are now compiled and a final report defining the State of Preservation in Utah has been drafted by Tom Clareson, our consultant on this project.

Everyone with a vested interest in the long-term health of collections in Utah is now invited to attend a Town Hall Meeting. This Town Hall Meeting will give you an opportunity to hear from our consultant about the survey results and discuss with the Connecting to Collections Steering Committee possible next steps for improving preservation in Utah. The Town Hall Meetings are scheduled for:

Continue reading Connecting to Collections Town Hall

Outcomes based training for libraries

Yesterday I went to a very interesting training sponsored by UALC:  Outcomes based measurement by Julie Todaro. She did a great job. There were many people there (maybe 100) from academic libraries in Utah. It was kind of fun to catch up with some of my old “cronies” from when I used to work at Primary. I miss all of those people a lot and wish I did more to connect with them. They always felt like friends to me (and still do).

It reminded me of the time I spent one week in DC doing OBE with the IMLS. I enjoyed that training as well. I went with Rose Frost and Juan Lee. It was a lot of fun.  Rose and I got split up on the metro one night. She went one way and I went another but we finally both got back to the hotel in one piece. Actully the IMLS training was very well done and really taught me alot on the topic. It was one week vs one day, and was so good. Much more in depth, actually.

This fall I plan to teach long range planning training to public library directors in Utah. I will use what I learned from Todaro, what I learned in DC, and what I learned from Sandra Nelson for the training. It will be based on the Planning for Results by Sandra Nelson.  It all has to do with good, meaningful reporting of what people want to accomplish in their libraries. I’ll have the training schedule up pretty soon, probably in 3 locations in Utah, and hope to get Craig Neilson and maybe others from USL to help out on the instruction. People have been calling me and emailing me about when it will start so I know there’s high interest among Utah library directors. When it’s posted you can register online at

What do you want from me???

I am interested in what training you want in the next couple of years.

Please take this short survey or comment below.Public Library Administration

As a result of the last survey, we trained to all of the top topics. Here’s what you said, in order by the most requested, and when we offered it:

 # 1. Community support for your library (taught Oct. 06 & March 08, Rural Library Sustainability & Turning the Page)
# 2. Library space planning (taught 4/28/08, Mary Bushing)
# 3. Grant writing (taught 2006-08, 9 sessions, Rose Frost)
# 4. Book Repair (coming 3/09, 3 sessions, Scott Simkins)
# 5. Children’s services (taught March/Apr 08, 2 sessions, Janell Mattheus)
# 6. Long range planning (taught 2007/08, 3 sessions, Colleen Eggett & Rose Frost)