Rockbridge Regional Library Strategic Plan
Rockbridge Regional Library June, 2012
We present here with pride the 20122017 Rockbridge Regional Library Strategic Plan.
A librarys strategic plan differs greatly from year-to-year plans. Annual plans, such as those used in the budget process or in a periodic listing of facility and equipment needs, can be quite straightforward to compile. Multiyear strategic plans, however, are not. They require broad, diverse, and active input from a variety of sources from the community, from library staff members, and from the librarys Board of Trustees. They also require vision, thought, research, and an enormous amount of vigorous discussion and hard work.
The plan that follows in these pages represents a very good start at defining what the Rockbridge Regional Library is all about and the directions in which we and our community want it to develop. The plan spelled out here will, over the five-year period, be put into place and practiced. It is, however, a living document that will be regularly and thoughtfully reviewed and updated as needs develop and change.
We particularly wish to express our gratitude here to the leaders and other community members who participated in our planning surveys and who took time to join in our discussions and offer input. Our library system is a complex system, with a number of branches serving geographically and demographically diverse populations with varying and changing needs. It is our desire to serve our community as fully and effectively as possible, and our communitys involvement in this planning work has been essential.
The Rockbridge Regional Library is dedicated to providing free access to information, popular materials, and lifelong learning for all.
The Strategic Planning Process
On February 27, 2010, the Librarys Board of Trustees held a full-day meeting to evaluate the current state of the Library and to consider future directions. The decision to pursue a formal strategic-planning process emerged from this session, and at their June 16, 2010, meeting, the Trustees voted to issue a Request for Proposal in order to engage professional assistance to facilitate and guide this process. The Ivy Group, an organization that has worked in a similar capacity with hundreds of libraries across the United States, was selected, and the Rockbridge Regional Library Foundation provided funds at the Trustees request.
The initial research phase of the planning process involved gathering input through the following:
- A survey of Library staff
- A survey of Friends of the Library
- Interviews with community leaders
- A telephone survey of library users and nonusers
- Analysis of library and demographic trends
On September 10, 2011, the Trustees held an all-day retreat, facilitated by the Ivy Group, to review and consider the research and input. From this retreat, six strategic directions for the future of the Rockbridge Regional Library emerged. The many ideas generated at the retreat were organized according to these six directions, and at their September 21, 2011, meeting, the Board of Trustees adopted the agreed-upon directions with accompanying goals as the basis for the 20122017 Strategic Plan.
Subcommittees composed of Trustees, library staff, and members of the community developed goals and objectives for each direction. Staff then worked to identify specific action steps needed to make these directions and goals a reality for the Rockbridge Regional Library. These action steps were incorporated into the Strategic Plan, which was then approved in the form presented in this document at the Trustee meeting of February 15, 2012.
A good deal of useful information was garnered from the research conducted. We were gratified to learn of strong community support and of staff confidence in their programs and services, but the research also highlighted both major challenges we face and areas in which we must focus and develop. The Strategic Plan that follows is created in direct response to the priorities pinpointed by the research and voiced by our community leaders and members.
Over the next five years, we will focus on enhancing the Rockbridge Regional Library systems programs and collections to better meet the needs of seniors, teens, and other special populations. We will assess each branch, specifying the enhancements needed for all branches to provide a welcoming environment that supports efficient and effective public service. We will address the need for library services in growing communities and in outlying areas, staying alert to demographic changes, and new ways of providing services will be examined. We will keep abreast of developments in information technology and will incorporate needed changes to better serve all our patrons. Staff and Trustee development, necessary to accomplishing the Strategic Plans goals, will include a renewed emphasis on continuing education and enhancing performance. And we will work to communicate our programs and services more effectively to the community.
Much of our success will depend on our efforts in planning and fundraising. The Library will implement an expanded fundraising effort, working closely with the Rockbridge Regional Library Foundation and with regional Friends groups. Under the Trustees leadership, we will integrate our Strategic Plan into the operation of the Library. The Strategic Plan will be referred to regularly and updated annually. It will set our direction, guide our decision making, and continue to motivate us in our efforts to provide ever-more-effective service for our community.
The Six Strategic Directions
Complete details of the directions, goals, and objectives can be found in the appendices of this document. (The sixth direction, Fundraising, not outlined in this section but mentioned above, will be developed as we move forward with our plan.) Following is a brief summary of what we plan to accomplish in each of the first five strategic direction areas:
- Information Technology. The online library system and website will be enhanced to make it easier for patrons to find the materials they need, and technology infrastructure, such as Internet access, cabling, and IT devices, will be upgraded. The Library will focus on training, both for the public and for staff, to ensure that our patrons receive the help they need in using information technology.
- Support for Education. The Library will work closely with the school districts and other interested agencies to provide programs that support success in school for children from birth to adulthood. The needs of adults and seniors will be supported by new programs that provide opportunities for lifelong learning in a social setting.
- Expansion of Library Services. The Library has committed to serving the largest geographic area and most diverse population possible. Improved meeting spaces, establishing areas specifically for teens, and upgrading of the branches, all with an eye to being green, are being proposed. Establishing wireless access points in rural areas, collaboration with other agencies to provide library services in new ways, and revamping mobile library service (the Bookmobile) will also be investigated.
- Board and Staff Development. Ensuring that the Library has the right people with the right skills in the right place to optimize service to our patrons is a high priority, as is developing a robust cadre of volunteers to help us achieve the many goals of the Strategic Plan. The Trustees will conduct an annual self-assessment and will develop annual goals.
- Application of Research; Marketing; Public Relations. The Library will collect data, including demographic information, to revise services as needed and will emphasize providing accurate and current information about library events, including through use of social media.
ROCKBRIDGE REGIONAL LIBRARY TRUSTEES
Stephanie Wilkinson, Chairperson
Mary Jo Brinkley
Mary Frances Burks
Percy C. Nowlin, III
Joe C. Shaner, Jr.
PAST LIBRARY TRUSTEES
Thanks to the following community members and staff who were primarily responsible for the development of the Strategic Plan goals and objectives:
Thanks to the 20 community leaders (who were promised anonymity) who provided input to the Strategic Plan.
Directions, Goals, Objectives
Strategic Direction 1. Information Technology
Goal 1. Enhance automation system
Objectives 1a Provide refresher training to staff on a rotating basis 1b Implement use of TLC’s mobile app 1c Implement use of TLC’s self-check-out app 1d Investigate a new, regional online library system
Goal 2. Develop infrastructure
Objectives 2a Upgrade wiring and equipment racks at Bath, Buena Vista, and Goshen locations 2b Evaluate network equipment when RANA is completed 2c Investigate a new online phone system 2d Implement computer-replacement cycle beginning 2013/2014 fiscal year
Goal 3. Enhance public-access computing
Objectives 3a Explore a “virtual branch” with improvements to website and online services
Goal 4. Provide stable funding path for technology needs
Objectives 4a Establish a permanent Technology Committee on the Board 4b Establish an annual budget item to include routine replacement and enhancement of equipment
Goal 5. Improve resources for public and staff technology training
Objectives 5a Conduct basic computer classes as needed at each library location 5b Conduct initial and follow-up assessments of staff technology training needs 5c Develop online/printed training materials in the use of library resources
Strategic Direction 2. Support for Education
Goal 1. Formalize a system of communication among school divisions and the Library
Objectives 1a Form a committee of all stakeholders to develop communication strategies that meet mutual goals 1b Utilize technology to maximize communication among stakeholders
Goal 2. Maximize library experiences to attract families and children
Objectives 2a Develop programs that support school success beginning at birth 2b Develop a partnership with schools to support parental role in fostering literacy and school success 2c Develop strategies for children to learn to value the library and its resources
Goal 3. Develop experiences that support lifelong learning, targeting adults and seniors
Objectives 3a Expand and develop opportunities for face-to-face learning and socializing
Strategic Direction 3. Expansion of Library Services
Goal 1. Enhance existing facilities
Objectives 1a Create and adhere to an annually reviewed and updated long-term facilities plan 1b Establish green practices and facilities to serve as model for community and to best utilize available resources 1c Establish teen-friendly, family-friendly, and early literacy areas in branches 1d Create a technology lab that focuses on audio and video software and education 1e Establish/improve computer stations to include flexible space for varied and changing use (e.g., desktops/printers/tables/laptops) 1f Update/improve appearance of meeting rooms and areas to create welcoming and usable spaces for community gatherings 1g Explore ways to partner with other local agencies to create/expand/update spaces as sites for desired community programs (e.g., job training, computer or other skilled training)
Goal 2. Develop and improve online services
Objectives 2a Research options for wireless Internet access on the Bookmobile, to create an Internet hot spot for Bookmobile patrons 2b Establish Internet Wi-Fi hot spots at remote library locations
Goal 3. Serve largest geographic region possible
Objectives 3a Explore options for expanding the Extension Services department, e.g., Bookmobile routes in far corners of Bath County 3b Consider nontraditional library options, including storefront libraries, library kiosks, etc. 3c Create plan for “flexible use” vehicle (Bookmobile or other), with multiple purposes/shared use 3d Investigate possible partnerships with rural school to provide library service after school hours 3e Investigate service partnerships with Alleghany County Library, Clifton Forge Library, and Highland County Library
Goal 4. Serve broadest and most diverse population possible
Objectives 4a Investigate provision of services to underserved populations (e.g., incarcerated, homeless, people in shelters and halfway houses) 4b Expand and highlight materials (print and nonprint) and services available to targeted populations (e.g., teens, young professionals, job seekers, seniors, those seeking adult literacy aids, growing Hispanic population)
Goal 5. Identify and collaborate with community partners
Objectives 5a Open lines of communication with area nonprofit organizations to share resources and improve community awareness of services and events 5b Investigate possible partnership with rural schools to provide library service after school hours 5c Develop and maintain relationships with appropriate representatives of localities to find ways to provide needed and relevant services
Goal 6. Establish a purchasing plan for necessary expenses regarding expansion
Objectives 6a Develop a vehicle-replacement fund as part of annual budget 6b Establish partnerships and procedures for local fundraising
Strategic Direction 4. Board and Staff Development
Goal 1. Review and evaluate current and future staffing
Objectives 1a Annually review job descriptions, job titles and grades, and positions needed at each facility; create an annual list of staff by seniority, noting job title and work location 1b Review job descriptions with staff at annual performance review and revise as necessary
Goal 2. Evaluate continuing education and job training for staff
Objectives 2a Identify local continuing education possibilities 2b Investigate joint training with other local libraries 2c Base individual development goals on the Strategic Plan and replacement and succession plans; incorporate into the annual job performance review 2d Incorporate input from annual customer-satisfaction survey into staff development
Goal 3. Implement staff-replacement and succession plans
Objectives 3a Develop a staff-replacement plan so staff backups can assume responsibility for critical functions in an emergency or in the temporary absence of the regularly responsible staff member 3b Develop a succession plan to prepare a pool of staff who can be considered for promotion as vacancies occur
Goal 4. Enhance performance of Board of Trustees
Objectives 4a Develop needed skill sets
Goal 5. Engage in cooperative board development with Friends and Foundation
Objectives 5a Encourage cooperative board development with Friends and Foundation as appropriate to each group
Goal 6. Recruit and train volunteers
Objectives 6a Develop a cadre of volunteers to supplement (not permanently replace) paid staff members
Strategic Direction 5. Application of Research; Marketing; Public Relations
Goal 1. Apply research for improved services, programming, and outreach
Objectives 1a Coordinate the Library’s outreach efforts with other agencies to share resources and opportunities 1b Collect and review data on service populations annually to refine services, programming, and outreach
Goal 2. Market the Library
Objectives 2a Create and implement a marketing plan 2b Conduct an annual registration and outreach drive
Goal 3. Strengthen public relations communications
Objectives 3a Share the Strategic Plan with the public and public officials 3b Develop and implement plan to use social media and the library website to conduct outreach to the public regarding programming and services 3c Make appropriate and cost-effective use of staff and volunteer assistance for the ongoing functions related to public relations