Five Year Plan

Rockbridge Regional Library System
FIVE YEAR PLAN 2024 – 2028

DECEMBER 7, 2023


Jessi Whipple, Chair Buena Vista
Bret Kampf, Vice Chair Bath
McKinley Williams, Treasurer Lexington
Bob Kramer, Deputy Treasurer Rockbridge
Alexandra Brown, Past Chair Lexington
Thomas Bell, Buena Vista
Tim Eldredge, Bath
Melanie Forde, Bath
Tom Goodale, Rockbridge
Gail Heslep, Rockbridge
Margaret Kirkby, Lexington
Sherri Wheeler, Buena Vista


Christie Gearheart
System Manager, Circulation
Julie Goyette
Katie Ramsey
System Manager, Digital Resources & Cataloging
Elaina Skovira
Buena Vista Branch Manager
Barbara Slough
Glasgow Branch Manager
Ruth Tolson
Goshen Branch Manager


Rockbridge Regional Library System (RRLS) serves the counties of Rockbridge and
Bath, the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, and the towns of Glasgow and Goshen. The region
encompasses 1146 square miles.

RRLS serves a population of 40,000 with 14,769 registered borrowers. RRLS operates a bookmobile and
five locations in Lexington, Buena Vista, Glasgow, Goshen and Warm Springs. There are 50 employees,
14 full-time and 35 part-time and substitutes. The staff includes 5 professional librarians.

System-wide, RRLS branch libraries operate 215 total hours a week and have a total collection of
94,405 physical items and 24,929 eBooks. RRLS circulates 151,653 items and eBooks a year, answers
25,000 questions a year, and has 113,225 visits annually.

Outreach Services include our Bookmobile and serves residents across the region including senior
centers, day cares, deposit stations, and community agencies. Services for homebound residents and books by mail are also provided.

Rockbridge Regional Library Mission Statement

Rockbridge Regional Library System (RRLS) staff bolster the power of education, cultivate opportunities for learning, foster the fun in reading and serve communities as information professionals.


Rockbridge Regional Library System (RRLS) is an essential part of education across the region, providing resources for lifelong learning. The Code of Virginia states that public library service is part of the Commonwealth’s provision for public education (Code of Virginia, 42.1-46). In addition to print collections at all locations, RRLS services include public access computers, hot spots, Wi-Fi, online databases and resources, downloadable eBooks and EAudiobooks, printing from mobile devices, programs and classes for all ages, quiet places where people can study, conversational places where students can gather to work on school projects, and meeting rooms for public groups. The public library of the 21st Century is a center for the community. The RRLS Five Year Plan provides the residents across our region the resources they expect and deserve in order to continue exploring, discovering, and sharing the information they are seeking.

The plan also reflects input from our patrons, communities and staff with oversight from our board of trustees. It is the result of the knowledge and best efforts of the individuals who created it. To optimize feedback, print and online surveys were distributed, including to the four local governments, and focus groups were held at each location regarding the future of RRLS. While working through the process, our goal was for the plan to be responsive, flexible and clear. Guided by this plan, Rockbridge Regional Library System will continue to serve our communities providing information, learning opportunities and enjoyable experiences for our patrons.

The RRLS Five Year Plan takes into account factors that include input from residents, standards from the Library of Virginia, and from the Virginia Public Library Directors Association. Our goals reflect community demographics: age, ethnicity, education, income, and employment.

The plan is reviewed and revised annually.

Focus Areas

We learned from survey responses that residents across the region are satisfied with library collections, services and staff overall. However, survey comments and group discussions also revealed desired improvements to library spaces (e.g. provide fewer public computers to make room for more collections and updated technology).

Many residents are aware of the library via social media posts and our brightly colored bookmobile and smaller vehicles which travel throughout the system. In the focus groups most of our older patrons stated they tend to rely on library staff and word of mouth to learn about library events. Younger patrons are very comfortable with social media.

Most of the respondents live in Rockbridge County and use the library website at The most convenient location for survey participants is in Lexington. The majority of visitors to the library return weekly and most know about workshops and classes, passport processing and notary services provided at their library. The professionalism and customer service of library staff at all locations was praised.

The need to return to pre-COVID-19 operating hours was stressed by respondents. Also desired are additional weekend hours.

The RRLS Five Year Plan contains five focus areas to address feedback from surveys and group discussions, and guide the library system in the future:

  • Patron centered libraries
  • Welcoming environments
  • Improved collections
  • Sustainable organization
  • Training & development

Focus 1: Patron centered libraries

RRLS is a patron centered library system with programs, resources and services which represent community interests.

  1. Improve navigation and use of RRLS libraries for all patrons
    • Restore pre-COVID-19 operating hours and explore additional weekend hours
    • Continue to evaluate hours, staffing levels and capabilities of all RRLS locations to provide best service to communities
    • Inform the four jurisdictions about the importance of the library to communities across the region
  1. Provide learning opportunities and meaningful programs and services to communities
    • Utilize demographics to develop program topics, workshops and speakers at each location and online
    • Ensure each educational program has a literacy element
    • Develop and implement a system to evaluate all programs for success
  1. Continue to collect and value input from library patrons
    • Develop ongoing plan to collect input from patrons and staff
    • Track suggestions and evaluate for implementation
    • Analyze patterns about library usage to improve services

Focus 2: Welcoming and safe environments

RRLS strives to provide updated spaces and resources, both in our branches and online with the goal of providing pleasant and productive experiences for patrons and visitors.

  1. Provide spaces that are inviting, engaging, and comfortable
    • Finalize updated security plan and train all staff
    • Implement quarterly safety inspections at all locations
    • Continue the plan to update lighting, furnishings and signage
    • Continue to evaluate existing locations, including outdoor spaces, to maximize use of space
  1. Enhance library communications
    • Implement monitors at all locations to advertise programs and events
    • Work with communities to develop and promote patron-created content in catalog
    • Update navigation of website for patrons to bring more popular links to the top
  1. Improve technology access
    • Continue to look for opportunities to serve patrons in rural areas (e.g. additional lockers and hotspots, etc.)
    • Continue to implement new technology with training for staff and patrons
    • Look for opportunities to create collaborative spaces in existing buildings

Focus 3: Improved collections

RRLS collections serve lifelong learners through print and digital resources which reflect the needs and interests of the communities we serve. The Collection Development Policy is available on the library website at

  1. Connect patrons to popular books, music, films and eBooks
    • Explore ILS options to improve catalog navigation
    • Promote system-wide collections at all locations
    • Educate patrons about web resources and growing digital collections
    • Promote acquisitions in digital formats
    • Provide interlibrary loans at no charge
  1. Provide well rounded collections in all locations
    • Explore floating collections
    • Explore ways to maximize accessibility of collections in a variety of formats
    • Revise guidelines and training for collection maintenance
    • Educate patrons regarding the formats that are available (e.g. newspapers are moving to a digital format)
  1. Utilize attractive displays and exhibits
    • Ensure 3D elements in RRLS displays
    • Develop annual plans for exhibits and displays
    • Host traveling exhibits
    • Provide opportunities for local artists to exhibit artwork

Focus 4: Sustainable Organization

RRLS works to attain sustainability of system resources through stewardship of finances, employee participation and professional development, and partnerships which augment programs and services.

  1. Continue to evaluate business practices and workflow to ensure efficiency
    • Streamline workflow in collections, technology and resource sharing
    • Stay current with popular forms of payment for fees and donations
    • Continue to follow internal control methods
  1. Continue to stay transparent and financially stable
    • Continue to explore avenues for fundraising and additional revenue streams
    • Post financial reports online
    • Engage stakeholders in budget development process
  1. Support and empower staff with professional development and training
    • Create a culture of inclusion and accountability for staff
    • Create a program for staff to remain current in technology
    • Develop annual training for staff
    • Provide conference opportunities for full and part-time staff
    • Execute policies and procedures with consistent interpretation at all locations in the system
  1. Seek and establish partnerships
    • Explore programming in which community organizations complement library services and expertise
    • Rework volunteer process and experience
    • Continue to foster connections with local schools, business and city/county agencies
    • Work with library related agencies to contribute to the future of librarianship in recruiting and developing leaders

Focus 5: Training & Development

RRLS works to provide training and development for both employees and the board of trustees.

  1. Develop salary classifications and schedule for staff
    • Research other regional libraries and their approach
    • Educate staff regarding the importance of funding with regard to pay increases
    • Continue annual performance evaluations for staff
  1. Improve training opportunities for staff
    • Connect importance of training and learning new skills to job descriptions and performance evaluations
    • Conduct disaster training annually
    • Develop consistent orientation training for all new staff
    • Provide DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) and special needs training for all staff
  1. Develop board of trustees
    • Conduct self-evaluation of board of trustees annually
    • Seek community feedback on policies
    • Provide training opportunities
    • Add current budget and audit to the website

In accordance with requirements from the Library of Virginia, The RRLS Five Year Plan will be reviewed on an annual basis with revisions and updates made when necessary. Updates will be submitted to the Library of Virginia annually.

Adopted on December 7, 2023, by the Rockbridge Regional Library System Board of Trustees

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