NORTHAMPTON — Representatives from Forbes Library presented their broad strategic plan for the next three years during the Jan. 4 Northampton City Council meeting.

According to Lisa Downing, the Forbes Library director, the strategic plan’s conception was a result of extensive community feedback from community leaders, focus groups, and a public survey that garnered over a 1,000 responses.

“We used all the data we gathered from our community to create our three-goal areas to focus our objectives around for the next three years,” said Forbes Library Assistant Director Molly Moss.

The library’s plan, which is required by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, includes ways in which Forbes hopes to achieve wellness, inspiration and awareness.

During the presentation, Moss said that the library will continue to protect the intellectual freedom and privacy of their patrons by supporting legislation that does just that, and she also mentioned how the library will find additional pathways for greater access.

“With the support of Dr. [Portia] Bonner, we have begun a program to increase the number of kindergartners with public library cards in the Northampton Public Schools, which we’re very excited about,” Moss said, in relation to the access piece.

The plan also states that Forbes will support the city’s plan for carbon neutrality by advocating for improved links to existing and planned bike infrastructure in the city to the library.

Additionally, Forbes is also planning to improve accessibility and ventilation of its bathrooms within the next three years.

According to Moss, the community survey illustrated the need for Forbes to bring more awareness to the resources they already offer.

“We need to do a better job of letting people know what is available to them including to people who are not currently regular patrons of the library, and then make it easier for them to sue the library when they do come in,” Moss said.

The strategic plan also illustrates the possibility of running events like a community information fair or improving wayfinding for increased access and discoverability as ways to improve awareness.

When it comes to achieving the goal of more inspiration, Moss said that the library will complete capital projects that support creativity, learning and entertainment.

“We’re just now adding an additional 10 hotspots to circulate to community members as well as completing our [American Rescue Plan Act]-funded project of a performance stage on the wets lawn that will be available for both library programming and community use,” Moss said.

The plan also aims to increase staff development funding and expand their Local History collections with an emphasis on cultural and political movements of the last 50 years and a focus on LGBTQIA+, music, arts, political activism and journalism.

Details about the library’s 2025-2027 strategic plan can be found on the Forbes Library website, forbeslibrary.org/info/strategic-plan-2025-2027/.

“We really work hard on these plans, not only on doing them, but achieving what we set out to do based on feedback from the community, so hopefully you’ll be seeing some of these things come to life,” Downing said during the council meeting.