Politics & Government

What Wichita’s library system needs, branch by branch

Wichita Public Library.
Wichita Public Library. File photo

Here is a library-by-library look at the conclusions from a Wichita State University study that analyzed the populations around each branch and made recommendations for improving the services for residents.

Westlink

8515 Bekemeyer in west Wichita

User profile: Working, middle- to higher-income customers with higher education levels and technology skills.

Problems: Lack of space and parking; location is off beaten path.

Recommendations: Consider a new location to address space issues or make over the current space to make it more of a leisure-time destination for middle-income working families; provide additional resources and e-books for tech-savvy customers.

Rockwell

5939 E. Ninth St. North in east Wichita

User profile: Highly diverse population with varied interests; microcosm of the city as a whole.

Problems: Diversity of market segment creates broad demands on collection, programming and service needs; some customers lack technology resources.

Recommendations: Create a “bookstore” environment; focus on digital literacy; use as pilot site for testing new programs and services for the advanced learning library downtown.

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Linwood

1901 S. Kansas in south Wichita

User profile: Blue-collar labor and service workers, 20s to 30s, median income $30,000 or less, high school education.

Problems: Customer needs include individual training, classes and assistance with using technology.

Recommendations: Purge dated materials and update collection to focus on frequently requested items; focus on entertainment and enrichment opportunities; improve meeting space, possibly in conjunction with the recreation center.

Evergreen

2601 N. Arkansas in north Wichita

User profile: Significant Hispanic population; younger and married with larger families; high school education level common; blue-collar occupations; high number of retirees.

Problems: English literacy; lack of access to technology.

Recommendations: Provide more materials in Spanish; work to improve community English literacy; provide more resources for job and career development; improve technology access; provide more programs geared to older adults with leisure time.

Comotara

2244 N. Rock Road in northeast Wichita

User profile: Median age 30s and 40s; college education common; higher income typically in $70,000-$90,000 range; white-collar jobs; high-income retirees.

Problems: Check-out convenience; overall atmosphere; customers tend to reserve books, pick them up and leave without lingering.

Recommendations: Create a more bookstore-like environment; emphasize customer service; focus collection on new releases and best-selling books; connect services with advanced learning library; improve outreach to the surrounding community and shoppers at the Dillons store where the library is situated.

Maya Angelou

3051 E. 21st St. in north Wichita

User profile: Predominantly African-American; median age 20s-30s; median income below $30,000; significant percentage of population with high school education or less; many single-parent families.

Problems: Patrons lack technology resources for school homework; need help finding better jobs.

Recommendations: Focus collection on African and African-American culture; retool library as resource for workforce development; concentrate on literacy needs, particularly among children; provide additional scanners and printers for homework use.

Alford

3447 S. Meridian in southwest Wichita

User profile: Median age 20s-30s; blue-collar professionals; typically earn $30,000 or less; high school education. Another large segment is older residents with incomes typically in the $50,000-$60,000 range.

Problems: High demand for computer and Wi-Fi services; about 50 percent of users need bilingual services.

Recommendation: Increase bilingual services; improve Wi-Fi access; provide more resources for education, job search and entertainment; focus on families with young children and modest income.

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