“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Over-planning kills magic.”
At last! After many months of researching, analyzing statistics, doing community surveys and facilitated sessions, and meeting with politicians and community partners, the library board has adopted a new strategic plan to lead us forward through 2020.
Before giving you a few highlights of what to expect, I want to give a very big thank you to everyone who contributed to this process. In the end we had almost 800 people complete our community survey, and it is your responses that form the basis of our plan. Many others attended meetings and planning sessions, assisted with data collection and analysis, and helped in myriad ways to put this plan together. So, thank you to every one of you!
The plan is organized around six goal areas: access, creation, public space, literacy, engagement and the organization. Within each goal area, we have identified several strategic directions, and for each direction, we have identified specific actions to be undertaken. Actions will be reviewed and augmented on an annual basis, which allows us to be flexible in responding to emerging needs over the life of the plan.
We are recommitting ourselves to the idea that knowledge changes lives. Knowledge is in books and online, in the stories we share and in the people around us. Libraries have become many things to many people, but the strands that connect all of our activities are knowledge and information.
Community engagement is front and centre throughout the plan. We will invite members of the community to participate in library planning and decision-making. We will devote time and resources to working together with community partners on shared initiatives and goals. And we will provide opportunities for local people to share their stories and knowledge with the broader community.
The library will explore and embrace new ways of interacting with information and knowledge. We will not only be a place where knowledge is consumed, but an active creation space, where people can gather to share and learn together, using hands-on tools and resources to facilitate learning.
The library will be a space where people of all ages, backgrounds and income levels are welcomed equally, and where dissenting opinions can be freely voiced. We also believe that we can do better at balancing the needs of groups and individuals, with spaces for those who need quiet study space along with spaces for conversation and collaboration.
A wise person once said, “To read or not to read — that is a silly question!” Direction 1 of the plan reads, “Affirm and celebrate the printed book as a key source of information, knowledge and wisdom.” We will have books, and lots of them!
We are currently working on formatting the 2016-2020 strategic plan for public presentation. Once this is complete, it will be available in its entirety for all to see. In the meantime, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to come in and chat, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron Francis is the chief librarian at Creston Valley Public Library. He is currently reading The Prague Cemetary by Umberto Eco.