Community Needs Response Plan/Mission/Vision



 2019 Community Needs Response Plan

The Blair Public Library’s staff, patrons, Library Board, Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library group contributed to the formation of this plan.  This plan is to be reviewed annually by the Library Board and the Library Director.  The Nebraska Public Library Accreditation Guidelines are based on the principle that a good library is a library that is serving the unique needs of its own community.

Mission Statement

The Blair Public Library is committed to meeting the educational, informational, and cultural needs of the Blair community and Washington County residents. The Library is committed to providing:

  • free and open access to a broad collection of materials in varied formats and media;
  • professional assistance in locating, using, and evaluating resources; and programs for all ages that encourage reading, provide intellectual stimulation and cultural enrichment;
  • a distinct collection of materials unique to the community and of special interest or historical value to its community members and community organizations; and
  • A safe and pleasant environment in which to utilize the resources, services, programs and facilities of the library.

Vision Statement

The Blair Public Library is the integral physical and virtual gateway by which our broad and diverse community may access information, congregate to freely exchange ideas, celebrate all forms of literacy and cultural growth in a leisurely yet lively atmosphere.

Blair Community Profile

The City of Blair, county seat of Washington County, Nebraska, is located along the Missouri River, approximately 20 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska. Nearby communities include Kennard, Herman, Arlington, and Missouri Valley, Iowa.


The population of Blair is 7,815, with approximately 97% of the population being white and approximately 3% of the population being another race.  Of that 3%, the majority are of Hispanic/Latino heritage.


Blair promotes a strong education and currently houses three grade schools; one school that hosts third, fourth and fifth grade; a middle school and one high school.   A look at the American Community Survey shows a total of 2,149 children aged preschool through college were enrolled in an educational institution.  Upon graduation, 53.8% females continue to college as well as 38.5% of their male counterparts.  The Blair Library keeps a close watch on how many children are enrolled in preschool through 12th grade.  The 2014 number, which stays fairly steady from year to year, is 1,576 students (that the library serves regularly). The Homeschooling population has steadily grown from year to year.

Language and Ethnicity

The English language is spoken in homes more than any other language.  Leading the statistical charts at 97.1%, the only other languages, spoken mostly by adults is Spanish and an Asian and Pacific Island language.


The majority of “the civilian employed population” are age 16 and older.  There is a fair amount of versatility in types of employment, with health care and educational services boasting the largest work force of over 960 employees.  Manufacturing, due to Cargill and its affiliates, employs over 450.  Smaller groups are seen in food services, agriculture and professional services.  The median household income is $44,855 ($6,243 drop in three years).  The majority of homeowners report income levels ranging from $58,000 to $160,000.   Even so, it is important to note that there is 16% of families with children who are below poverty level.

An upcoming change in the farming environment is the raising of chickens for the Costco store chain.  Several of these new farms will be in Blair’s surrounding area.  The OPPD nuclear power plant has also closed; causing a shift in the city’s economical reserves.

Cultural Summary

The City of Blair has one library, one swimming pool, a privately-owned golf course that is open to the public and several small neighborhood parks.  There is a sports complex for soccer, baseball and softball use.  A YMCA is available for those who wish to join, and there are service organizations such as The Kiwanis, The Rotary Club, The Optimist Club and The Lions Club.  There is a large following in 4-H, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. A movie theatre is in town, however, is not always open.  Blair has access to its own television station, a shared radio station with Omaha and the surrounding area and a twice weekly published newspaper.


To ascertain what the community needs of Blair are, the library conducted informal interviews throughout the last two years; and conducted a larger, structured paper survey during the summer reading program of 2019. The answers brought forth these results:


  • Blair has a strong volunteer ethic; and help can be found for any project or need.
  • Bike paths travel throughout the town and are next to the library and schools.
  • Small town atmosphere.
  • Near Omaha and Fremont, which gives residents options Blair cannot offer.
  • Local newspaper covers events from the schools, library and city news.
  • Blair has a television station and a radio station which broadcasts state and local sports.
  • Local churches are well attended and offer support throughout the community.
  • The Blair Police Department has a ministry program which benefits the community and the police officers during emergencies.
  • The Washington County Food Bank is located in Blair, and there are many ways to help those in need such as the Backpack Program, holiday shopping, and the Hospital Auxiliary Store.


  • Roads need repaired
  • The Bypass is still needed and a concern (truck traffic would be diverted; note: this is a federal project and is stalled)
  • Safety: speeding issues, many trucks (*Addendum: there have been two deaths this summer due to traffic issues).
  • Affordable housing.
  • Unsure of school system’s future; need for opportunities for gifted students; need to provide positive health and sex education. Not enough activities for students with special needs.
  • A senior center and youth center is needed.
  • Need diversity for growth; more multi-generational activities



Internal Strengths: 

  • There is a qualified, trained staff and director that is friendly, helpful and encouraging to all patrons.
  • The library performs outreach programming for all ages.
  • Programs are well planned and have grown in popularity, bringing in strong numbers of attendees.
  • The collection is well maintained and current.
  • The library receives a strong budget from the city government and receives donations and grants throughout the year to support programming.
  • The library has a strong Friends group and Foundation which strive to create successful forward thinking and motion.

Internal Weaknesses:

  • The library continues to work with a shortage in staff. This in turn causes us to limit hours and programming.
  • Funding is a weakness, as it can be a strength, depending on the economic climate and the direction the city directs its funds. Although we are given a sound and ample budget from the city, emergency funds and acquisition funds can be limited.
  • Promotion and Marketing take a back seat at times due to lack of staffing.
  • Strong demand for Sunday hours, but due to lack of staffing and funding that is not addressed.

External Opportunities

  • The library is the only continual source of entertainment. There are no other major attractions.
  • Adults need more help to complete resumes, learn technology, and communicate with their families.
  • The library is often considered as a partner in community-based events.
  • Book Clubs throughout the city use the Library to obtain books and facilitate discussions.
  • Large volunteer force.
  • Website, Facebook and social media contacts provide avenues for promotion.

External Threats

  • A budget cut is always looming, and city officials are constantly changing.
  • The school system’s calendar must always be considered as library usage soars when the schools are closed. The library is then the local babysitter.
  • Omaha and Fremont are close enough for Blair residents to travel to and that could interfere with our attendance.

 Planning Response Team Members

Library Staff:  Gayle Roberts (Director)
Wendy Lukert, Celeste Lux, Connie Hagedorn, Melissa Massey, Jan Bolte

Library Board:  Beth Clarke (President)
Stiehl Reeves,  Becky Lacey, Carson Norine, Nancy Gabby, Craig Folkers, Melissa Rice

Library Foundation:   Bill Lux (President),
Angel Martin, Kristi Lippincott, Becky Lacey

Friends of the Library:  JoEllen Maras(President)
Marilyn Abariotes, Julie Bugiel, Ann Sedlacek, Margret Kingrey

Community Members:  Patrons, Blair Community School Employees

Each group listed above was asked the following questions:

  • Suggestions for Library Programming in our new facility.
  • Adult and Family Programming are often requested, yet rarely attended. Please list your thoughts on availability, topics and timing.
  • What do you consider the top three concerns of the community? This could range from education to roads to parks and cemeteries; or any topic you have concerns about. If you have more than three, please list them!

Informal interviews at community coffee caches, the donut shop, and service organization meetings were held throughout the year.  These questions were also presented in written format during the 2019 summer reading session.


Community Need #1
Better communication regarding library events, city events, and community services.

Goal:  Revamp Promotion and Marketing plan to include a flow of greater information, using all available resources.


Create a marketing database which will aid in assuring that information is funneled to the proper avenues.

Create a promotional form for staff to use, city personnel, and organizations that would like the library to distribute their information on a timely basis.

Continually update and improve website and social media postings.

Community Need #2
Adult education and hobby classes are desirable and needed.
Goal:  Continue to add adult classes at various times throughout the week.


Create a marketing database which will aid in assuring that information is funneled to the proper avenues

Create a promotional form for staff to use, city personnel, and organizations that would like the library to distribute their information on a timely basis.

Continue working with Metropolitan Community College in offering a variety of classes.

Subscribe to a database which would assist in job searching and resume writing.

Integrate church and school calendars with the library calendar help plan events at different times.

Increase adult offerings to 8 per year; not counting the MCC classes.

Community Need #3
After school daycare can be difficult for parents.
Goal:   Provide a safe haven for children who have no where to go once school is out.

Create and implement after school activities which would address hunger and boredom.

Develop a system /procedure where children can come to the library but then must leave if they violate the code of conduct.  Marketing the Code of Conduct is essential.

Communicate with local daycares and extension office to gather shareable information on local babysitting options.

Community Need #4
 Cultural Exhibits are desired over just historical exhibits.

Goal:  Create a diverse exhibit schedule.

Meet with the County Exhibits Team and prepare a schedule for the next three years..

Apply for exhibit grants if available.

Community Need #5
Children with special needs are not comfortable in social settings within the city; and those who are homeschooled need gathering spots and scheduled social outings.

Goal:  Create programming for both homeschool and special needs groups.

Meet with the Homeschool Cooperatives in the county and help create a bonding environment where either social or learning environments can blossom.

Collaborate with the local Autism Phone Book group and help create activities where they are in a safe environment.

Collaborate with local businesses to create family nights where all children are included.


Evaluation is an important tool in determining successes and failures.   The library’s staff and director will carefully design and implement new programming.  Statistics will be collected at all times.  This community response plan will be reviewed annually to assist in further planning and to improve patron experiences.