South Whitley Community Public Library Long Range Plan 2017 – 2019
Mission and Vision Statements Our Process Plan Description Collaboration Goals, Strategies, Evaluation Three Year Implementation Timeline
Approved by Library Board of Trustees on November 10, 2016 South Whitley Community Public Library Mission Statement The South Whitley Community Public Library is a vital gathering place dedicated to fostering lifelong learning, advancing knowledge, and strengthening our community.
South Whitley Community Public Library Vision Statement To inform, empower, entertain, and inspire the community throughout all stages of life. Our Planning Process The work on a new long range plan began in early 2016 with the hiring of consultant Kelley Sheiss to assist with the process. Ms. Sheiss has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations, including libraries, on strategic planning, leadership training, and facilitation. She has served as Program Director at Leadership Whitley County, Agribusiness Program Manager at the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation and as Learning Services Coordinator for the Purdue Extension Service of Whitley County. Kelley lives in the area and is familiar with local businesses, citizens, and community leaders.
Ms. Sheiss’ recommendation was to begin by meeting with veteran staff and Board members, since I was a new director as of November, 2015. So, a meeting with staff was scheduled first. At that gathering, staff shared historical information that they had individually chosen as representative of South Whitley’s library service. Then Kelley led a discussion regarding the library’s current situation. Staff shared the following responses:
Library Strengths Community collaboration Programming Community support Passion of staf Partnership with local schools Library Weaknesses Outreach to specific townships Meeting room use Homeschool services Non-users vs. Non-patrons Current materials collection configuration and diversity
Library Opportunities Senior programming Local history and genealogy offerings Cultural events Outreach to non-users/non-patrons and beyond library walls School (including homeschool) collaboration Makerspace and small business appeal Family, multigenerational programming Individualized technology assistance
Common themes that evolved related to the facility, community outreach/marketing, staff development, and programming (both traditional and non-traditional). The staff’s employment longevity helped them to provide valuable insight into the needs, interests, and concerns of library patrons.
Next, two meetings were held with the library’s Board of Trustees, many of whom have extensive experience on the board. Mirroring what the staff had discussed, board members were charged with taking a look at South Whitley Community Public Library’s past accomplishments, while also focusing on the strengths and challenges that are currently being experienced. The board shared the following thoughts:
Library Weaknesses Teen center in separate building Lack of measurable assessments
Library Opportunities Makerspace Cultural activities Historical museum Improved café area Meeting room use YouTube channel
Common themes from this meeting were facility/sustainability, community partnerships, and programming. At the conclusion of this meeting, Board members were asked to develop a new library mission statement by the time of the next meeting with Ms. Sheiss.
The second meeting with the Board took place about one month later, at which time both the library’s mission and vision statements were revised and updated. Discussion focused on the common themes that came from the meetings with both the staff and Board. These commonalities became our plan goals as they relate to the library’s facility, community outreach, programming, and sustainability.
Working with the consultant, the library director and full-time employees honed the goals to four specific focus areas, incorporating technology issues with the assistance of our computer support staff team member. At subsequent monthly staff meetings, employees contributed to the strategies for achieving these goals. A timeline for the three year plan was developed at a later staff meeting.
Final work on the specifics of the plan were completed and presented to the Board of Trustees for draft approval at their October, 2016 meeting. Shortly after this approval, a meeting with community members and stakeholders was facilitated by consultant Kelley Sheiss. The goal of this meeting was to share the plan with these individuals and groups to gather their insights on it. We also sought opinions on the library’s value to the community as a whole as well as to the specific sector that these leaders represent.
The community member and stakeholder meeting was attended by residents and individuals representing local businesses, the area schools, and county not-for-profit groups, as well as library staff. Valuable input was shared and pertinent questions addressed. It was gratifying to discover that many things that came up as possible library actions for the coming years were addressed in the plan as written. The overwhelming support for the library and gratitude for the service we provide that was expressed by these leaders confirmed that the work that the library is doing now and the work we plan for the next three years support community needs and interests.
Plan Description and Goals
This long- range plan for South Whitley Community Public Library endeavors to build on past successes and services, while also establishing goals for improvement, advancement, and growth based on community needs determined through the long- range planning process. In alignment with the Public Library Association’s service areas of Community Engagement, Digital Learning, Economic Development, Education/Lifelong Learning, Early Childhood Literacy, Job Skills, and Summer Reading, the library has determined four areas of primary focus for the next three years.
Learning and Literacy
The SWCPL has been recognized as an area leader in providing educational opportunities and a variety of reading materials for patrons of all ages. Over time, the format in which these have been offered has grown and evolved to meet the changes in learning styles, the prevalence of technology, and the needs of our clientele. Library users count on the library to continue this process of change and growth, and to provide future materials and resources as desired.
In a small community, opportunities to enjoy a variety of programs is often limited, due to access, lack of knowledge of their availability, or uncertainty about the quality of the presentations. There is an expanding need to provide a place where patrons can connect, learn, question, and collaborate with their fellow Whitley County residents on many topics of concern, including local economic and employment opportunities.
Together we are stronger. By reaching out to area groups, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals we can work together to maintain and enlarge our communication and outreach efforts to better our community service mission.
In order to remain a relevant institution for patrons, the library must maintain its physical plant, update and improve technology services, and hire and retain skilled, involved, and competitively compensated employees.
South Whitley Community Public Library cannot achieve the goals set aside in this plan without input and assistance from others. Through SWCPL’s collaboration in Northeast Indiana Libraries Serving Communities, a consortium of nineteen libraries in DeKalb, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley counties, we are able to provide a higher level of service to our patrons and also enjoy peer support from local colleagues. The sharing of information, ideas, concerns, and questions from the members of this group leads to new programming possibilities, access to additional resources, education about changing trends and materials, training in makerspace tools, and a growing involvement in the changing library environment.
Library staff also benefits from the collaborative opportunities that arise from membership in professional library associations, attendance at workshops and trainings at other libraries, programming offered by the Indiana State Library, the lending services of the Indiana Historical Society, and access to a variety of free listservs available to them for professional enrichment.
The library’s continuing collaboration efforts with local groups has contributed greatly to our accomplishments. Groups that the library will continue to partner with during the three years of this plan include One Community, South Whitley Main Street, the South Whitley Area Emergency Food Bank, the Whitko Community Schools, local preschool and daycare centers, B.A.B.E Whitley County, and Fox Products. We also enjoy a collaborative relationship with the other two public libraries in the county -- Peabody Public Library and Churubusco Public Library – for professional development and training, as well as special activities such as the annual Salute to Veterans program.
Goals and Strategies
Goal 1: The South Whitley Community Public Library will be recognized as a provider of resources for the lifelong learning and literacy needs of the community.
Increase materials’ circulation and patron library visits to the library by 5%.
Evaluate new formats as they become available in order to add to the library materials inventory.
Increase one-on-one opportunities for technology training with patrons, focusing on specific devices or program needs.
Highlight instructional video links on how to use library tools and services, such as downloading eBooks.
Increase Wi-Fi availability through the addition of access points.
Continue to assess and evaluate new technologies for their benefits to library services by gathering data from early adopters and researching availability.
Research new software and hardware needs for the library in order to offer diverse media to the public and staff. Increase promotion of library materials and online resources (Inspire, general and genealogy databases).
Explore ways to provide patrons greater accessibility to materials via arrangement of collection as well as composition of inventory.
Data from our integrated library system will be used to evaluate circulation figures for the time period of this plan, and our door count will offer figures for library visits. The library director and department heads will meet regularly to discuss research on trends in formats and technology, and reports to the board of trustees on these findings will be done frequently. The success of promotion of materials and services can be determined through usage and attendance figures, anecdotal evidence gathered from both patrons and staff, and feedback generated through print and online surveys.
South Whitley Community Public Library will serve as a community center where people can come together for a variety of programming and other community activities.
Gather feedback and information regarding library programs, facility usage and community needs through informal and focused patron interactions.
Increase library program attendance by 5 %.
Investigate and expand program offerings for seniors, programs that focus on quality of life topics (arts, food, nature), programs to improve career and workforce development, and multi-generational programs.
Explore ways to increase broader usage of meeting rooms through library partnerships, programs, and promotions.
Actively promote programs to the community through social media and other avenues available.
Include additional cultural, small business, and community-building activities in programming calendar.
Enhance children's programs with targeted investment in age-appropriate technology items.
Offer technology programs targeted to specific audiences based on requests and need.
Much of the evaluation for this goal will be done through data collection: numbers of programs on specific topics, meeting room reservation figures, social media interactions, and attendance figures. The program committee meets monthly and will generate specific figures for reports to the rest of the staff and the board of trustees.
Goal 3: The South Whitley Community Public Library will build collaborative partnerships, foster a culture of growth, and maintain or increase our visibility through effective marketing and communications outreach.
Develop a comprehensive 2-3 year marketing plan.
Seek at least 5 opportunities each year to speak with target audiences about library services.
Dedicate one staff person’s job to a focus on social media.
Explore feasibility of a YouTube channel.
Explore the development of a Friends of the Library group.
Keep staff informed and educated on social media trends and efforts to promote library services through social media outlets.
Reach out to students and families through presence at local school activities such as field days, open house, literacy night, back- to- school night, parent-teacher conferences, or carnival.
Conduct "bring a friend to the library" Facebook campaign.
Seek partnerships with other local businesses and organizations each year for awareness, support, and collaborative program opportunities.
Identify opportunities to meet the needs of the homeschool population.
Investigate the possibility of off-site library services extending into rural service areas.
Provide requested materials to local schools through regular scheduled delivery.
Develop relationships in the community to promote the benefits and resources of the library.
Evaluation of several elements of this goal will be a matter of ensuring that strategies are initiated, such as developing the marketing plan, seeking opportunities for partnerships, attendance at school events, and providing materials to the local schools. The library director is charged with overseeing the success of these initiatives and reporting successes or failures to the staff and board of trustees. Other sections will require specific task assignments, to be completed by the director. The broader outreach strategies for business and community partnerships and homeschool population will be developed by the director in conjunction with the board of trustees. Some board members may have existing contacts with these groups or individuals that can be further developed.
The South Whitley Community Public Library will support facility infrastructure, explore new and innovative funding streams and continue to recognize staff development and customer service as key components to our success.
Develop a staff continuing education plan that includes opportunities to attend trainings, webinars, and workshops, especially those focusing on readers’ advisory and population-targeted service.
Enhance accessibility and encourage users to linger at the library by improving front entrance, upstairs layout and any necessary furnishings. Consider adding a higher quality coffee bar/café to the main level.
Implement quarterly staff on-site training.
Optimize patron's ability to get informed technology assistance by increasing staff technological competencies through updates and training at monthly staff meetings.
Empower library staff to maintain their ability to respond to the changing and expanding technology needs of the library customer by implementing quarterly technology meetings.
Ensure that the library budget includes funding to repair and replace 20-25 percent of computer workstations (desktop or laptop) every 3 years.
Upgrade, maintain and provide services via LAN and Internet as needed.
Maintain sufficient volume of licenses for standard software. The library budget will cover funding to renew, upgrade as needed, and purchase new software as needed.
Maintain a secure library network as usage and services grow and change.
Update library accounting software and provide training as needed.
Identify revenue development opportunities that allow for financial sustainability and security. Evaluation Method:
The bulk of the evaluation of this goal will be done by the library director and the computer technology support staff. Training sessions on service and technology will be developed at the library with staff input and guidance. Information on upcoming webinars, workshops or conferences will be shared. Attendance will be determined by budget constraints, interest level, and the frequency with which certain staff members are away from their regular duties.
Annual budgeting plans will include addressing components of this goal, such as funding for replacement hardware, software licenses, and the purchase of network servers. The budget is a project completed with input from the bookkeeper, the finance committee, the Board of Trustees, and the library director. The evaluation of the need for library physical improvements will hinge on funding, space, and the ability to provide continuing patron service.