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Strategic Planning for Small Libraries
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Course Instructor: Lana Gardner
- Does your library have a current strategic plan?
- Are you feeling unsure about where to start, who to involve, and how you’re going to find the time to take on one more project?
- Would you like to know how to create a practical framework for your strategic plan?
Having a current strategic plan is vital to all libraries as a way to help move staff, programs, and services in a cohesive, determined direction. For smaller libraries with constraints of time and resources, the planning process can be overwhelming. This course, specifically designed for small libraries, will equip you with a variety of skills and techniques to help simplify the process. Whether you are updating an existing strategic plan or starting from scratch, you will learn how to design a timeline for getting things done, as well as establish who should be involved in the process.
By the end of the course you will be able to:
- Identify the key components involved in strategic planning
- Create survey and research documents for data collection
- Identify community resources and partners
- Establish attainable goals (themes) and actions (strategies) for a basic strategic plan
- Create a framework for a strategic plan that can be applied to your own library
- Devise a strategy for sharing reviewing, and revising the strategic plan as needed
You will be guided through the creation of a step-by-step framework for a basic strategic plan that can be readily implemented, revisited, and revised according to library needs.
Course Description: This four-week online course will provide you with basic information and resources for creating a strategic plan for your small library. Through assignments, readings and discussions, you will learn practical information that will simplify and help guide you through the strategic planning process. During the course, you will be able to share experiences and questions with other learners, and the instructor will provide resources, best practices, and useful tips and techniques that can be applied immediately in your library.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: The Keys to Success
- What is a strategic plan and why it is vital for libraries?
- Who should be involved? Who are the stakeholders?
- It’s always a matter of time:
- Establishing a timeline for the process
- Establishing a time period to be covered by the strategic plan
- Establishing a steering committee and making the most of meetings
- Engaging the community:
- Planting the seed for strategic planning with community forums
- What is the library’s mission? Vision?
- What are value statements, and why are they important in a strategic plan?
- Week 2: Finding the Keys
- Where does the data come from?
- Is it timely, accurate, and pertinent? Consider the source.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel!
- Using SWOT: a simple form for gathering valuable information.
- How to find and identify community resources and partners for input
- Week 3: Unlocking the Information
- Why is the collected data important?
- Were there any unexpected or negative responses?
- Are there specific needs in the community that the library is not addressing?
- Goals: dreams or reality?
- Actions: proactive or reactive?
- Finally, it’s all coming together…
- Week 4: Door to the Future
- Choosing a format for the strategic plan
- What needs to be included? Photos? Stories?
- Succinct, yet thorough. Is that possible?
- How will the strategic plan be shared with staff? Stakeholders? Community?
- The strategic plan is complete. Now, what?
Time Required: Time required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. However, some learners who choose to complete additional optional assignments may spend 3 hours or more. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments and discussions. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Library Directors, Managers, Staff, Board Members and Friends who will be involved in creating a strategic plan for a small library.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: Community engagement, Leadership, Library policies, Planning, Project management,