Public Library embarking on an update of its long-range plan, an extensive
community analysis to identify district and patron demographics was
overview of Westchester Township was prepared by WPL staffers Julie
Bohannon, Suzanne Chomel, Ruby Plourde and Thomas Library branch librarian
The WPL service
area mirrors the township boundaries: Lake Michigan to the north, County
Road 400 West to the west, County Road 1100 North to the south, and County
Road 300 East to the east.
As an example, WPL
director Phil Baugher said the new location of the Duneland unit of the
Porter County Boys and Girls Club is on the south side of 1100N so it is out
of WPL’s service area although arrangements probably could be made to
conduct programming there if requested.
Based on 2010
Census data and several other sources, Yelich said the township’s population
increased by 6.93 percent between 2000 and 2010; the population above age 5
is fairly evenly distributed among age categories although more persons were
between ages 45 and 54. The distribution of males and females was almost
A large majority of
the population spoke English and 93.3 percent listed themselves as white. In
2012 income-adjusted dollars more households and families showed income in
the $100,000 to $149,999 range than others.
with no husband present and having related children under 5 years had the
highest percentage of income below the poverty level although Westchester
Township’s total percentage of residents below the poverty level was half
that of Indiana’s 9.5 percent average.
said that may be attributed in part to the fact 6,000 people are employed at
ArcelorMittal Steel in Burns Harbor; the second and third largest township
employers are the Levy Company and Worthington Steel, respectively.
And the survey
As a township,
Westchester had 7,535 total occupied households with 19,234 people living in
them, most in single-family homes. There were 5,254 families residing in
WPL’s service area with 2,395 of these families with children.
Attending her first
meeting, newly appointed Library Board member Rondi Wightman asked if a
change in the numbers would prompt WPL to reconfigure space. Yelich said it
would require a review of not only space but also the size and type of WPL
Based on 2010-2012
statistics 5,294 of the population 3 years and over were enrolled in school,
the most (41.7 percent) in Grades 1-8 followed by high school and
college/graduate school. Regarding the 12,491 persons age 25 years and over,
90.6 percent were high school graduates or higher with 30.8 percent having a
bachelor’s degree or higher.
According to the
WPL analysis, many township residents seem to be civic minded and children
oriented as evidenced by the number of local organizations and the youth
sports and club activities available. Area parks, media access, and
transportation also were addressed in the study.
Yelich said the
information gained will enable WPL to help determine what programs would
benefit the populations served.
identified for more research were literacy rates, how many households have
home computer and Internet access, and the number of children who are
homeschooled. Library Board members commended the staff who produced the
Part of the ongoing
planning review will be a SWOT analysis at the May 8 board meeting to
determine the library’s present and future strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats in a number of areas. Board members agreed to
limit next month’s agenda so enough time can be devoted to the SWOT
Patron photos now
The board voted 6-0
with Nick Tilden absent to adopt a library card photo policy to record a
photo of each patron as library cards are issued or renewed.
The photos will be
confidential library records for verification purposes only.
photo would be displayed for WPL staff on their computer screen when the
patron’s card is presented to check out materials so the patron can be
positively identified to prevent lost or stolen library cards. The photos
also allow patron check-out despite having forgotten to bring their library
card; and enable staff to quickly locate library patrons including children
in an emergency.
engaged in an extended discussion before policy adoption. “I don’t think
asking for a photo is overly intrusive itself,” said Mike Livovich, who also
supported allowing an opt-out waiver for patrons not wishing to have a photo
The latter language
was included in the final policy. In those cases the patron may have to
provide a driver’s license, automobile registration, property tax statement,
current piece of delivered mail or other form to verify their identity.
Member Drew Rhed
said requiring photo ID is becoming more commonplace, and WPL attorney Terry
Hiestand said today patrons are on security cameras many places they go
including at library facilities.