Off the Shelf: Library Strategic Plan reaches goal-setting phase

Off the Shelf

Setting goals is pretty easy. For example, every year I tell myself I’m going to read more books, and I pick a number. Goal set = done.

Reaching the goal is another matter. It seems that every year in April I look at my list of books read and realize I’m a little behind schedule, but that’s not a big deal because I can make it up over the summer. Then it’s suddenly August, and I’m more than a little behind. That means I need to change my book list so I read shorter books, and weekends are spent cramming in more reading time (although, who am I kidding; that’s pretty much every weekend). Then it’s November, and I throw in the towel because there is no way I’m going to reach that goal.

I recognize it’s a big deal only to me that I can’t read 200 books in a year, but I have two points about my personal goal-setting that are relevant to the rest of this article. I need to set a goal that is realistic, and I need to create a plan to reach the goal.

The focus on goals is because this is the stage the library’s strategic planning committee has reached. We have received great feedback from the public on a revised mission statement as well as values and a vision statement, and we used that information to draft two goals. In addition, the committee developed four objectives for each goal. While goals are less tangible, objectives should be measurable and achievable within a defined time frame (in our case, five years). Our goals and objectives are as follows:

Goal #1: Provide a welcoming environment.

Objective 1: Provide exemplary customer service by a well-trained staff.

Objective 2: Provide a physical space and appearance that meet diverse and accessible needs.

Objective 3: Establish the library as a community gathering space.

Objective 4: Make our library easy to use.

Goal #2: Fuel passion for reading and learning.

Objective 1: Offer an array of programs and partnerships.

Objective 2: Maintain a well-rounded collection.

Objective 3: Maintain up-to-date technology.

Objective 4: Facilitate literacy and lifelong learning.

We want to hear from you about the committee’s work. Stop in and share your thoughts with a staff member, or leave comments on the designated board in the long hallway near the Children’s Room. You also may reach me at 507-359-8332 or Your feedback is an important part of the strategic planning process.

Our next step is to assign activities that help further each objective, and the entire library staff is submitting ideas. We then will assign measures and discuss outcomes. Because the entire process is going so well, I anticipate implementing the strategic plan in February 2018. At least that’s my goal.


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