After completing its three-year strategic plan, the Hudson Area Public Library is again looking to the future.

The plan set out five main goals - increase private support, expand advocacy efforts, increase public awareness, enhance library services and plan for future staffing needs to better serve the community.

"It went really well," Library Director Tina Norris said. "We accomplished everything that was on that strategic plan."

That strategic plan, Norris said, laid the foundation. Now they are continuing the work it started with another strategic plan beginning this year and extending into 2022.

The strategic plan was developed after surveying the community, stakeholders, staff and teens.

"We wanted to hear from as many people as possible," Norris said.

This next phase will focus on six areas - promoting educational achievement and lifelong learning, support workforce and economic development, creating innovative library spaces and developing dynamic collections, fostering community engagement and public awareness, strengthening organizational health, and defining roles of library board and support organizations.

"We believe no matter where you are in life - regardless of age, income, learning ability or political persuasion - the library transforms and enriches lives by offering a world of possibilities," Norris said.

The library has done a great job using private-public partnerships, Library Board President Paul Berning said.

"It's important to know the community and serve them and be good stewards of their dollars," Norris said.

Norris has reinvigorated the Hudson Library Foundation and continued to work with the Friends of the Library, Berning said.

The Hudson Library Foundation provided $28,134 in funding in 2017 and $30,250 in 2018. It's committed to supplying $37,200 in 2019.

The Friends of the Hudson Library provided $9,765 to the library for the children's area revitalization project, which was also funded by grants from community organizations.

"We've really made those partnerships work," Norris said.

The library programming has strengthened, with more than 500 programs implemented in 2018. Attendance was at more than 10,000.

"The attendance has been just amazing," Norris said.

Programs include story times, etiquette dinners, Hamil-con, Harry Potter Camp and more.

Adults were the main target audience for the completed strategic plan. Now, Norris said, the library has vibrant adult programming.

"I'm really proud of that," she said.

The programming is possible because of support from partners, Berning said, and could not be done with the normal operating fund.

The library has also seen a circulation increase of 1.6% and attendance increase, bucking national trends, Berning said.

Berning attributes much of the success to Norris's leadership.

Norris, he said, has shown the value of having an area library, not just a city one, to the other municipalities. The library, Berning said, is fighting for more support from municipalities, while staying cognizant of levy limits.

It's also fighting for more funding from the county level, Berning said. In 2017, St. Croix County made the decision to fund the Hudson Area Public Library at 70% of the cost incurred by serving resident outside Hudson. The remaining 30% was distributed to neighboring libraries impacted by the library's decision to halt funding to those libraries.

The decision has long been a contentious one between the city and the county.

"We have to get that funding back," Berning said.

To learn more or get involved with the library, contact Tina Norris, Hudson Library Foundation or Friends of the Library.