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Wesleyan Receives Grant for Library Strategic Plan

Students enjoy the spacious new study areas in Pearsall Library.

North Carolina Wesleyan College’s library has received a grant of $26,255 to hire a consultant to work with library staff on a strategic plan that will guide the Elizabeth Braswell Pearsall Library over the next five years.

The funds were awarded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

Kathy Winslow, Wesleyan’s library director, said the project will guide the library and its staff in their mission-focused service to the college’s growing and diverse student population, as well as to the faculty on the Rocky Mount campus and at Wesleyan’s eight satellite locations throughout Eastern North Carolina.

“This planning process will help us understand our users, our organizational strengths and weaknesses, and our mission and values so we may appropriately define the library’s strategic direction,” Winslow said.

“We will examine the great variety of needs and issues of our users as well as their changing needs. Our patrons include young students just out of high school, older adult students who returned to college, residential and commuter students, local and international students, full-time and part-time students, and those taking online classes. Each of these groups is unique and has specific requirements.”

With guidance from the consultant, the library staff will better understand how to make long-range plans for serving the college’s diverse library patrons in the best way possible, Winslow said.

“We are seeking through this planning project to understand the needs and preferences of students and faculty and how we can help everyone succeed. The rapid growth in our off-campus programs, in particular, has made it critical for the library to determine the most effective ways to teach students and faculty about library resources and services.”

The strategic plan also will address the library’s program to develop information literacy among all students; outreach to make library users aware of resources and services; and collaboration with other libraries to increase resources and services.

“We will evaluate everything so we can best position the library for the future,” Winslow said.

In 2008, Wesleyan renovated the original Pearsall Library and constructed a $4 million addition to the library that nearly doubled its size. Library usage increased by 125 percent in the following year and has continued to grow since then.

“The library is an important educational resource; but it is also the place where students gather, spend time with friends, watch films, and relax. This grant will help ensure that it continues to serve the needs of our users for years to come.”