VisionIn 1988 the Highlands County Library System had a collection of 62,935 items with a circulation of 17,840 items and a registration of 8,781 patrons from the Highlands County population of approximately 62,000. The primary goals of the library system were to serve more residents of the county and to increase and diversify the collection.
Since then, the Highlands County Library System has increased and diversified the collection based on needs of the county and reached out to a higher percentage of county residents. At the end of FY02 the Highlands County Library System had a collection of 122,328 items with a circulation of 347,625 items and a registration of 41,158 patrons from a population of approximately 90,000. The library system also entered the electronic age by providing a county wide on-line card catalogue, adding Internet reference databases and increasing materials availability with First Search.
In the 3-5 year range plan, the Highlands County Library System should strive to have at least one library meet state basic standards for library service with the other two libraries being brought up to the basic standards in the 5 - 10 year range plan. State basic standards for a population of 50,000- 99,999 include the following services: providing at least 2 items per capita in all formats and 5 subscriptions per 1,000 population; 0.6 square feet of facility per capita; adequate staffing to provide quality services and have the libraries open 48 hours per week. By year 2005 the Highlands County Library System would need 55,161 square feet of library space to meet the needs of the citizens of the county. Bookmobile service would be one alternative to building additional buildings to meet those needs.
It is now the 21st century and Highlands County continues to grow, the Highlands County Library System can become a library system that provides beyond basic library services to all residents of Highlands County. To realize this vision the Highlands County Library System must have adequate and stable funding available to provide the basic standards. If Highlands County meets the challenge of bringing the library system up to basic standards by augmenting the collection while maintaining diversification, building facilities for the collections and services, providing qualified staff, using new technologies to provide up-to-date information and pursuing outreach programs; the Highlands County Library System could become a role model for other rural library systems.