Strategic Planning and the Value of Libraries

From the Government Info Pro:

Thanks to Ellen Ensel, Director of Knowledge Management and Library Services, U. S. Institute of Peace, for the this article: Strategic Planning and the Value of Libraries. This article was originally published in the 2010 Best Practices for Government Librarians: The New Face of Value. Best Practices is a collaborative document that is put out annually on a specific topic of interest to government librarians. The 2010 edition includes over 70 articles and other submissions provided by more than 60 contributors from librarians in government agencies, courts, and the military, as well as from professional association leaders, LexisNexis Consultants, and more.

Read on…

When librarians plan for the future, we make certain assumptions about our role in the larger entity, whether that entity is a county government; a school system or university; a corporate, non-profit or government organization. We assume that libraries provide important services and we are there to facilitate getting those services to the people who need them. We envision how we can continue to do what we do, only better. Dedicated to public service, we do our jobs well, and keep our customers happy and coming back for more. What more do we need?

Strategic Planning

I’ve recently worked through the strategic planning process, writing a Library mission statement and goals aligned with those of my organization and a detailed description of how the Library will achieve those goals. The plan was written to educate executive leadership on what we do, why it is important, and what we need for the future. It includes a:

1. work plan, including services the Library might reduce, maintain, and grow based on funding
2. transition plan for moving forward with other organizational initiatives
3. job and skills audit for existing staff and for additional, requested positions
4. budget history, comparing funding for the Library with funding for the organization over time
5. spreadsheet of usage statistics with key metrics such as:

b. reference requests
c. electronic databases
d. facilities usage

6. spreadsheet that compares our Library with other similar libraries in town,
based on:

a. size of the organization
b. number and composition of the library staff
c. square footage
d. size of Library’s print collection
e. services offered

I worked with an outside consultant to develop this plan, and tried to find ways to convey the value libraries bring to an organization, using words like “expert guidance” and “resource partners.” The idea was to cast the Library in the context of a professional consulting service and not just a support function, because support can always be cut. The consultant—not a librarian—provided an outsider’s corporate viewpoint, and thought the plan was strong…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN PDF starting on page 35.

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