Since 1980 there have been five planning guides developed for public libraries with the most recent being Strategic Planning for Results, by Sandra Nelson for the Public Library Association (PLA) in 2008.
Like the other guides, Strategic Planning for Results was built on three basic assumptions:
- Excellence must be defined locally—it results when library services match community needs, interests, and priorities.
- Excellence is possible for both small and large libraries—it rests more on commitment than on unlimited resources.
- Excellence is a moving target—even when achieved, excellence must be continually maintained.
There are two significant changes in Strategic Planning for Results:
“Strategic planning,” not “long-range planning” is used to describe the planning process. This change is an acknowledgment that libraries need to respond to the dynamic, changing environment.
The book includes a great deal of information about understanding and managing the change process.
The steps and tasks involved in using Strategic Planning for Results and brief descriptions of the service responses are included on the following pages.
Strategic Planning for Results Tasks and Steps
Task 1: Design the Planning Process
Step 1.1: Identify the reason for planning
Step 1.2: Define planning responsibilities
Step 1.3: Prepare a planning schedule and budget
Step 1.4: Develop a communication plan
Step 1.5: Design and present a staff orientation
Task 2: Start the Planning Process
Step 2.1: Obtain board approval
Step 2.2: Select community planning committee members
Step 2.3: Invite committee members
Step 2.4: Prepare and distribute community and library information packets
Task 3: Identify Community Needs
Step 3.1: Present an orientation for members of the planning committee
Step 3.2: Develop community vision statements
Step 3.3: Define current conditions in the community
Step 3.4: Decide what needs to be done to reach community vision
Task 4: Select Service Responses
Step 4.1: Present an overview of the library to committee members
Step 4.2: Select preliminary service responses
Step 4.3: Describe the effect of preliminary service responses on current library services
Step 4.4: Select final service responses
Task 5: Prepare for Change
Step 5.1: Assess the library’s readiness for change
Step 5.2: Plan to create a positive environment for change
Step 5.3: Review and revise communication plans
Step 5.4: Train supervisors and managers
Task 6: Consider Library Values and Mission
Step 6.1: Define values
Step 6.2: Consider the library mission
Task 7: Write Goals and Objectives
Step 7.1: Write system goals
Step 7.2: Write system objectives
Step 7.3: Determine the priority of goals and measures of progress for each unit
Task 8: Identify Organizational Competencies
Step 8.1: Understand organizational competencies and initiatives
Step 8.2: Identify organization issues
Step 8.3: Write organizational competencies and initiatives
Task 9: Write the Strategic Plan and Obtain Approval
Step 9.1: Write and review the strategic plan
Step 9.2: submit the strategic plan for approval
Task 10: Communicate the Results of the Planning Process
Step 10.1: Define the target audiences
Step 10.2: Develop a communication plan
Step 10.3: Develop communications to target audiences