Deputy State Librarian for Lifelong Learning
She used to be a director for a very small library. She does recommend consultants, but they do cost a lot of money, and it’s hard for some libraries to be able to afford that. She wants us to take away that strategic planning is for everyone and for every size library. Most libraries do a three-year plan, because tech is changing so quickly.
She said libraries can’t keep doing what they have always done and expect to survive, let alone to flourish.
What does the director need to do?
-Education your Trustees. Why is this needed?
-Work with a planning team
-Help conduct the research
-Show the Trustees Good plans
-Help set goals, strategies and priorities
-Collaborate to draft the plan
-Suggest action items
Manage the library to support it
What do the Trustees need to do?
-Establish how to work on it
-Determine goals obkectives and priorts
-Regularly evaluate it
It's Not OUR Library, it's THEIRS. Strategic planning reminds you of who you serve. You need to do some field research that forces you to ask some tough questions. What should we do differently in the future and is it sustainable?
Basic Elements of an SP:
Average plan should be 10-20 pages.
- Vision Statement
-Goals and Strategies
There isn't a "correct" way to do a SP. No two of them are the same.
So, where do we start?
Vision Statement: This focuses on what the library will be in the next decade. It focuses on what the customer needs. It should be short and readable. A few sentences is fine.
Mission Statement: This is your purpose statement, the reason you exist. What are you trying to accomplish? Who are we as a library? Where are we headed?
Information Gathering and Analysis: Observing, watching, listening. We want to skip this part, but we can't. This is the research that we need.
She showed us some sample plans on the NJSL website, which also has some scripts.
Goals and Strategies: 3 to 5 goals are ideal, and plenty, for a small library. Keep this simple, because we want to be able to achieve it. If you have a staff of 4-5, you have to be realistic.
Goals: What will the community receive? General statements. Should be achieved in a reasonable length of time.
Strategies: How do we reach the goals? They set a framework for the activities in the library.
Budget and Anticipated Costs:
We need to estimate planned programs and include cost of personnel and other operations. We also may need a capital plan if saving for future building projects. The budget should be transparent.
They must be made to review the plan and check against current decisions and expenditures. Always use your SP as a check against the budget. We should map out a timeline outlining our goals.
After you do the SP, put it away for a week and don't look at it.
Ask, Did you create the plan you intended? Does it connect your mission to your vision? Is it realistic? Is it complete? Is it clear?
Finally, we have to monitor it and evaluate it:
Are things being achieved?
Will the goals be achieved according to the timelines specified? Why or why not?
Should the deadlines need to be changed?
Do you have adequate resources to achieve the goals?
Should priorities be changed to put focus on achieving your goals.
There shouldn't be any surprises with it.
How often do we monitor?
We should monitor monthly and update our board quarterly.
Adaptive Planning: If you come to a fork in the road, take it. (Yogi Berra). There are opportunities that come along, especially with grants. Plan for disruptions if you didn't see big things coming your way.
Promote Your Plan:
It needs to be transparent. The community should see it, and celebrate it with you. Instead of focus on problem solving, also focus on celebrating it.
Question: When a director is being evaluated, should this be tied to the SP?
Michele said this is an entire library venture, even though a lot falls on the director. The trustees should be moving the plan along.