Community Impact Plan

From the Director

Melinda Cervantes, Executive DirectorLibraries have rarely been as popular as they are today and rarely as besieged. The hard economic times of recent years have generated increased demand for the free and varied services libraries provide, even as revenue-challenged local governments have cut back on contributions to library budgets. All of this comes at a time when libraries are being asked to perform a new and changing range of functions. Pima County Public Library is fortunate to have the support of the community to continue to grow our services.

Today the library helps residents – including those with limited incomes and educations – find jobs, obtain health information, and connect to government services and benefits. Residents now see their library, particularly neighborhood branches, as multipurpose community centers, offering job help services, tax assistance, computer classes, safe havens for children after school, and places where people can learn to read or learn to read better. And the library still lends books and DVDs.

While the library can’t solve all the issues that face our community, we are committed to being part of the solution in areas where the library has expertise and strengths. The Library's resources, involvement, and leadership in the community are extended through partnerships with community members, other City and County departments, businesses, institutions, organizations, and agencies. Residents can count on the library to provide a wide range of free services that contribute to the economic development of the community and provide individuals with educational and recreational opportunities to improve their lives.

This Community Impact Plan is our road map to the future.

Pima County Public Library is a complex organization with libraries serving diverse communities across Pima County. Although the demands for specific service may vary across the system, the information needs of each community are very similar. The Community Impact Plan identifies the programs and services that are most relevant to our community as a whole. By focusing resources as a system, we will expand the opportunities for each branch to offer a range of high quality services. Replicating best practices and sharing expertise allow us to build upon the strengths of our most important resource, the library staff. As we follow the Community Impact Plan into the future, we will evaluate our successes and learn from our mistakes, so that we constantly adjust our course.

--Melinda Cervantes, Executive Director

Progress Reports


Homework help at the library.

Pima County Public Library (PCPL) began community impact planning in September 2011 to refresh the 2010-2013 strategic plan. The new planning process provides a roadmap that helps the library focus on achieving goals that respond to community needs. Planning helps identify priorities and effectively reallocate finite resources. A community impact plan helps library advisory board members, the library director, and staff to reshape services and programs to fulfill the community's vision.

Pima County Community Overview

According to Pima County Census 2010 results, the population of the area of Pima County was 980,263 people. It was estimated for 2010 that 6.47% of the individuals in Pima County were under age 5 and 23% were under age 18. 15.4% of individuals were estimated to be 65 and older.

The median household income from 2006-2010 was estimated to be $45,541 with 16.4% of individuals living below poverty level. 86.8% of individuals 25 or older are high school graduates and 29.6% of individuals 25 or older have a Bachelor's degree or higher.

The population consists of individuals by race: 3.5% African American, 3.3% Native American, 2.8% Asian or Pacific Islander, 34.6 % Hispanic or Latino and 74.3% White.

The Planning Process

September 2011

Community Impact planning began with the development of four Scenario Teams focusing on the following areas:

  • Libraries and 21st Century Learning
  • E-Book Explosion
  • Convening Spaces
  • Self-Expression

Each team consisted of library staff from all levels. Members were charged with researching the area and developing a white paper presenting possible scenario recommendations for library direction over the next 3-5 years.

October 2011

PCPL participated with the online IMPACT Survey conducted by the University of Washington with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

January 2012

The Library Advisory Board was briefed on possible directions for the new community impact plan for the years 2013-2016.

February 2012

At the annual Public Service Managers retreat, the agenda focused on current and past accomplishments from branches. Members of the Executive Team shared accomplishments from their retreat and gathered input for the new plan covering 2013-2016. Three suggested areas of focus were introduced; Learn, Create, Connect.

March-April 2012

Regional Meetings for staff focused on current and past accomplishments from branches, gathered input for the new plan covering 2013-2016 years, and introduced the three new areas of focus.

March 9, 2012

Regional Forum – AzLA Regional Forum recommended the idea of Community Impact Planning for the library system.

July 2012

Plan approved by the Library Board.

August 2012

Plan presented for Board of Supervisor approval.

July 2012-2016

Implementation of Community Impact Plan.

Planning Assumptions

  • Excellence must be defined locally.
    It results when library services match user needs, interests, and priorities.
  • Excellence is possible for both small and large libraries.
    It rests more on commitment and creativity than on unlimited resources.
  • Excellence is a moving target.
    Even when achieved, excellence must be continually strived for to be maintained.

Mission & Vision Statement

Read the Library's Mission and Vision Statements.

Goals, Objectives & Activities

Staff member helping customer at computerGoal 1: Learn

The Pima County Public Library (PCPL) is committed to serving the literacy needs of the residents of Pima County and continues to build strong community partnerships to create cross-spectrum learning opportunities in collaborative settings. PCPL creates programs and services that provide for the learning needs of individuals from birth to our oldest seniors. Everyone has the potential to be a learner, an educator and a collaborator.


  • By 2016, 100% of PCPL branches will host family literacy events annually designed to increase the success of children reading at grade level by the third grade.
  • By 2016, jobseekers in Pima County will view PCPL as a place for learning 21st Century Skills to increase the economic vitality of our community.
  • By 2016, 100% of PCPL branches will host programs for children, teens, adults and our oldest residents related to health, financial, environmental, and technology literacies.

Women at Urban Yarns knitting clubGoal 2: Create

PCPL provides opportunities for individuals to be creative, to satisfy their needs for self-expression, to promote 21st century learning skills, and increase intergenerational exchange. Funds will be used to continue partnerships with organizations and experts that provide the guidance to the public through mentoring, workshops and classes—programs that will be scalable and adaptable to their ever-changing needs.


  • By 2016, Pima County residents will recognize libraries as create spaces. As collection sizes decrease due to electronic books and media; PCPL will repurpose library spaces to provide four regional break-out create spaces in libraries or other shared community venues.
  • By 2016, 100% of PCPL libraries will provide for the exploration and acquisition of 21st century learning skills for all county residents.
  • By 2016, 100% of PCPL libraries will provide opportunities for intergenerational interaction through programs or partnerships.
  • By 2016, Pima County Public Library create spaces will offer workshops for local authors about publishing, marketing and providing access for local content.

Photo of the Library's BookbikeGoal 3: Connect

The Library is a place where people come together; a community center that provides opportunities for individuals to connect with the world around them. The Library is often the only place for community members to explore and create digital content and as such, is a vital key to digital inclusion. PCPL creates an environment in which people of all ages and from all backgrounds feel they have a voice, and feel that they have a say about decisions and actions that affect their lives, a place where they can participate in a group or feel socially connected, either within a building, out in the community or virtually.


  • By 2016, 100% of PCPL libraries will establish programs and provide information, resources, and paths to community participation.
  • By 2016, more than 75% of PCPL initiatives and programs will be created in partnership with community organizations that contribute to the unique capacities, skills, priorities and conditions of the community.
  • By 2016, all PCPL libraries will provide meeting places and break out places that support communication and collaboration, on-site and online.
  • By 2016, PCPL will increase expenditures on digital downloads to 15% of the collection budget.
  • By 2016, digital book downloads by customers will increase by 300%.

Resource Allocation & Staffing

Pima County Public Library recognizes library staff as its greatest resource in providing excellent service. While the current economic climate necessitates careful consideration in filling or adding positions, Library Administration is cognizant of the effects of staffing levels on services. Professional training and development, as well as support for continuing education, will be supported within budget limitations. Library Administration will continue to monitor staffing levels and to implement staffing models such as the One Desk and Roaming concepts to maximize coverage.


Pima County Public Library recognizes physical and virtual collections as priorities in providing excellent service. Collections will continue to be purchased in a variety of formats with an emphasis in areas that support the three library goals of Learn, Create, and Connect. PCPL will continue the floating collections model to refresh collections at all branches. Digital book and audiobook downloadable collections will be expanded to meet customer demand. It is recognized that special collections such as the Grants and Business Collections, as well as the Arizona and Steinheimer collections, are vital to community and will continue to be supported.

Entrance to Woods Memorial LibraryFacilities

Pima County Public Library recognizes the increased importance of physical and virtual spaces as community centers where individuals gather not only to receive excellent service, but to learn, interact and grow. Library Administration will continue to budget for needed repairs, maintenance and facility needs including providing support for staffing models. “One Desk” remodels will continue as the budget allows as well as annual assessment of facility needs.

There are three recognized areas of Pima County that have been identified as underserved and are part of the shortlisted projects that have been recommended by Pima County management to the Capital Advisory Committee. The communities of Southwest Tucson, Vail and Sahuarita will continue to be priorities as the Library plans for future growth. Library Administration will continue to pursue funding for expansion in these areas of Pima County, including partnering with other agencies in providing services and programming. Two remodel and expansion projects: the Flowing Wells Branch Library and Quincie Douglas Branch Library are also part of the recommended shortlist projects.


Pima County Public Library recognizes that robust technology serves as the backbone of library service and helps the community thrive and individuals reach their personal goals. The Library is committed to maintain a high level of technological service and will work with Pima County Information Services Department to raise the bar for services reliant on technology. Current offerings, including internet, Wi-Fi and computer access will be enhanced by new systems to handle reservations, filtering, printing and credit/debit payments. The Library will expand technology opportunities to include CreateIT spaces that will allow teens in our community to work together with professional mentors, supporting both creativity and 21st Century skill building. To serve the community around Oro Valley Branch Library, Library Administration will dedicate funds to make significant upgrades to the internal computer network and hardware. As part of an ongoing effort to improve customers’ online experience, the Library will research integrated library systems and features, including fine payment online, launch a catalog interface enhancement, dedicate a team to the evaluation of electronic resource offerings, expand digital download services, redesign the Library’s website and rebrand the Library.

Acknowledgement of Committee Planning Members

Gina Macaluso and Amber Mathewson, Community Impact Planning Co- Chairs, wish to thank the following members for their support and contributions to the strategic planning process.

You are our most valuable asset and what makes our system great!

Pima County Public Library Advisory Board Members

  • Clarisa Barceló
  • Miley Clark
  • David Ellington
  • Shirley Geile
  • Obdúlia González
  • John Hagan
  • Maureen Lueck
  • Annabelle Nuñez
  • Elizabeth "Libby" Sullivan
  • Tom Ward

Pima County Public Library Executive Team Members

  • Melinda Cervantes
  • Pat Corella
  • Melody Ballard
  • Bonny Bruce
  • Gina Macaluso
  • Amber Mathewson
  • Beth Matthias-Loghry
  • Jen Maney
  • Jere Voigt

Scenario Planning Committees

eBook Explosion

  • Sherrie Baltes
  • Bonny Bruce
  • Daphne Daly
  • Richard DiRusso
  • Shawn Flecken
  • Donie Gignac
  • Ruth Grant
  • Emily Lane
  • Sandy White

21st Century Learning

  • Kristi Bradford
  • Mira Domsky
  • April Gering
  • Meggin Kitterman
  • Gina Macaluso
  • Amber Mathewson
  • Jennifer Nichols
  • Heather Ross
  • Elizabeth Soltero
  • Mikel Stone

Convening Spaces

  • Kate DeMeester
  • Sol Gomez
  • Kathy Konecny
  • Beth Matthias-Loghry
  • Mary Sanchez
  • Elva Smithwhite
  • Jere Voigt
  • Michele White


  • Lisa Bunker
  • Kendra Davey
  • Nyssa Densley
  • Tara Foxx-Lupo
  • Jen Maney
  • Jennifer Whitt