What You Want
In the fall of 2016 we started looking at the what is known as “Strategic Planning.” Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. I found a wonderful example of a strategic plan from the Springfield-Greene library. The board and myself listed goals for the library and then plugged them into a modified version of the Springfield-Greene example. Shortly afterwards we realized this was an over-simplified version of strategic planning, way, way over-simplified. In fall of 2017, I attended a MLA pre-conference on strategic planning and now we have a legit plan. One of the first steps is input from the community. The last 2 months the board and myself have been working on creating a survey, the survey is complete and was shared electronically on Tuesday of this week. Over the next few weeks we will be visiting locations to share the survey and we hope that you will also help spread the word. We have paper copies to pick at the library, and as I mentioned before we will start delivering them to different locations throughout the county. The survey is available on our website homepage at morgancountylibrary.org. The survey has also been shared through our Facebook page.
The survey basically asks if you use the library (if not why), what services do you use (all that are listed, we currently provide, so a nice way to plug what we are doing), what services and programs you would like us to provide, what you would change about the library, what you value about the library, and if you would support additional funding for the library. So, yes, we want feedback from everyone. This is your library.
In 2 days of releasing the survey, we have had over 60 responses. Our population area is listed as over 20,000, so as happy as I am with the initial response, we expect and hope for more. This is the time to let your voice be heard, and it can be heard anonymously, so there is nothing to lose. Be honest, I will try not to take it personally, I won’t, I promise. Dream big, strategic planning does not mean it is what you hope to accomplish right now. Most plans are based on a 5-year model, with the process being repeated again at the end of the 5 years.
Money and human resources will be the most challenging part of implementing our plan. That is a “duh” statement, but it is important to keep in mind. Since 2016 we have updated our software and added multiple databases to the tune of approximately $11,000. These resources are not a one-time purchase, fees are yearly. MOREnet currently costs $3,500 yearly with REAL resources, without REAL the amount would almost double. As we add programming there are some financial costs but the largest burden is on human resources. Someone must run these events, during business hours this is not a problem. We are blessed with 2 volunteers that have totally taken charge of one of our new programming events, thus relieving any burden on personnel. As much as I love servicing our community, I cannot spend every night at the library, John would miss me.
On Tuesday night, there was a first meeting of the Friends of the Library. The Friends are a question on our survey, and currently most survey takers do not know what the Friends are. Friends are citizens who choose to help their local libraries, they value the service of public libraries and volunteer to help them. The group is in the beginning stages of reforming. This group will be vital as we go forward. They will help offset the money and human resource issues, and the library is excited to have them back.
We have big plans for the library and we hope you do too, we are so excited to hear from you, so get those surveys filled out. Keep in mind that the surveys are only the first step, we will be visiting other libraries, we will have focus groups, and then we will start creating our strategic plan. This process will take some time and not every dream will be fulfilled, but we will do our best to meet the needs and wishes of our community.