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Strategic Language for Reader Services

Strategic Language for reader servicesPatrons believe that promoting reading should remain the core focus of the library. Is reading your library’s core focus? Does your strategic plan reflect that focus? At NoveList, we believe reading has the power to transform lives, and libraries are uniquely positioned as centers for reading.

Here are some examples of strategic plans we thought were worthy of being called out for their laser focus on books and reading.

 

Bellingham Public Library (Bellingham, WA)

http://www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/strategicplan2013-2017.pdf

Their Goal: Inspire Bellingham to read, view, and listen.

What's great about this:

  • Use of the word “inspire” in their goal is, well, inspiring, and conveys a sense of passion and dedication.
  • Bellingham wants to be “everyone's favorite place to borrow books, films, and music, with help from knowledgeable, friendly staff.”
  • Describing staff as knowledgeable and friendly -- we think this is the linchpin of success!

 

Seattle Public Library (Seattle WA)

http://www.spl.org/Documents/about/strat-direction-diagram_web.pdf

Their Goal: Bring people, information, and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.

What's great about this:

Seattle calls this their "Strategic Direction" rather than strategic plan "in order to reflect a shorter timeframe of three years and to allow the Library to be more flexible in responding to patron needs." They are “reimagining their role in introducing readers to new books and helping readers choose their next book” and providing “more ways for people to join conversations about books and culture.”

 

Gleason Public Library (Carlisle, MA)

http://www.gleasonlibrary.org/documents/Strategic%20Plan%202016_2020.pdf

Their Goal:

Foster a love of reading and learning among children, teens, and adults 

What's great about this:

  • “Foster of love of reading” is just perfect.
  • In a different section of the plan, they have a separate goal to “encourage library users to make time for reading and reflection” and include plans to create comfortable reading spaces in the library. An excellent blend of library as collection AND library as place.

 

West Fargo Public Library (West Fargo, ND)

http://www.westfargolibrary.org/vertical/sites/%7B61157EF4-17C9-47CD-921E-0FEC6DE5C786%7D/uploads/West_Fargo_Public_Library_Strategic_Plan_2015.pdf

Their Goal:

Fuel a passion for reading, personal growth and learning

What's great about this:

  • Kudos to West Fargo for this tagline: opening doors for curious minds. What a fantastic metaphor for books!
  • We love that they recognize the importance of public perceptions with this objective: “ensure that the public recognizes the importance of reading and lifelong learning and that it continues to associate reading and lifelong learning with the Library.”

 

Norfolk Public Library (Norfolk VA)

http://www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=822 

Their Goal:

Build the collection of books, ebooks, and other materials to meet community needs.

What's great about this:

  • Norfolk gets a shout-out for their tagline: “creating a city of readers.”  So amazingly simple and straightforward.
  • They also get bonus points for making staff development and training their #3 goal. They want to make it possible for “all staff deliver a great library experience to each and every person who visits.”

 

Orange City Public Library (Orange City, IA)

http://www.statelibraryofiowa.org/about/sp/fy18-22-strategic-plan/at_download/file

Their Goals:

The library will provide materials and information citizens want and need, while also employing and maintaining a knowledgeable and community focused staff who incorporate "the best professional practices to deliver high quality library services."

What's great about this:

  • We love that Orange City made it a priority that staff be able to assist readers “in locating materials and introduce them to new options” (a.k.a readers’ advisory!).
  • Something else we really admire about this plan is the inclusion of specific desired results – in this case, their desired results are for staff to “be able to recommend ‘read-a-likes’” to patrons.

 

Kalamazoo Public Library (Kalamazoo MI)

http://www.kpl.gov/strategic-plan/

Their Goal:

Residents of all ages will have access to materials, programs and services designed to enhance their leisure time.

What's great about this:

  • What impresses us most about this plan is Kalamazoo’s objective that “adults, teens and tweens will say they found something good to read, listen to, or view at the library” (emphasis added).

 

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Cuyahoga)

http://www.cuyahogalibrary.org/About-Us/Strategic-Plan.aspx   

Their Goal:

We serve as the community's first and best resource to reconnect with reading.

What's great about this:

  • They clearly listened to their patrons who expressed strong feelings that “promoting reading should remain the core focus of the library.”
  • Cuyahoga has just 3 strategic goals: reading, lifelong learning, and civic engagement. We love these big, clear priorities – and that reading is the first one.
  • We love the passionate language Cuyahoga uses, including being the “first and best resource” and “branches [that are] places of reading discovery.”

 

Madison County Public Library

http://www.madisonlibrary.org/parts/reports/strategicplan.pdf

Their Goal:

The Madison County Public Library will foster the love of reading in our community.

What's great about this:

  • Madison gets a special note for this particular objective: “Management will emphasize the importance of readers’ advisory service and will support staff in providing personalized service.” When employees know something is valued and important to management, they will make it happen.