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Input from public sought on Athenaeum 5-year plan

WESTFIELD-The last phase of creating a “solid” five-year strategic plan for the Westfield Athenaeum takes place July 31 in the Lang Auditorium.

An open forum is planned for area residents, beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m., and should last just over an hour. Light refreshments will be provided.

Kate Deviny, archivist and acting director of the Westfield Athenaeum, is hoping area residents turn out on July 31 for a public forum on the future of the Athenaeum. (Lori Szepelak photo)

“The Athenaeum asks patrons and citizens to give us their ideas of where the library should be headed for the next five years,” said Kate Deviny, archivist and acting director. “This open forum will be a time to describe our strengths, opportunities and expectations for the Athenaeum.”

Deviny and Becky Blackburn, who oversees adult programming, will lead the forum which will include a brief overview of creating a five-year plan and what input has been compiled to date. They will also highlight recent achievements which will include a summary of the Rise to Knowledge campaign.

In recent weeks, a “community survey” has been available online for area residents to complete. For persons who prefer completing the survey on paper, copies are available at the Athenaeum.

“Athenaeum employees and board members have also participated in a SOAR exercise to garner input,” said Deviny. 

A SOAR exercise focuses on “strengths, opportunities, achievements, and results,” according to Deviny.

“We will follow this same format at the public forum,” she added.

Deviny noted that the goal of compiling all of the input is to determine the “top priorities” that people want to see at the Athenaeum.

“This is not a perfect world,” said Deviny, noting budget constraints have to be taken into consideration. “We have to be wise stewards of this building.”

Public input is sought about the future of the Westfield Athenaeum on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. (Lori Szepelak photo)

Deviny added that after all input is garnered, she will focus on setting “benchmarks” that are considered “most important” to the public, as well as Athenaeum employees and board members.

“We are hoping that people will turn out for the public forum and be specific with their ideas for the Athenaeum,” said Deviny. “All of this information will help to formalize a really good solid five-year plan.”

For persons unable to attend the public forum, the community survey is still available online at

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