Key Strategic Planning Steps


This long-range planning summary refers to the relevant chapters of Hennen’s Public Library Planner from the American Library Association.


Task Description

# Task Description Chap-ter
1 Conduct self-assessment Conduct the Library Planning Self-Assessment. Use results to begin planning the elements of the plan that need development or revision. 1
2 Review tasks checklist a. Obtain board approval; get endorsement by governing board, union, and library related groups such as the Friends of the Library or the Library Foundation. 1
b. Develop a budget for the process. Get approval for the budget by the library board, governing body, foundation, or whatever group is paying the bill for the planning process. 1
c. Set deadlines for the entire project-usually 3 to 12 months. 1
d. Determine whether or not you will need a consultant or added staff resources to do the planning process. If so, develop a Request for Proposal or contact possible consultants, facilitators, or temporary help. For engaging a consultant, consider using “Typical Request for Proposal for Library Consultant.” 1
e. Determine who will be the lead writer for the plan. Decide who will develop the necessary data for the planning committee’s consideration. 1
f. With library board approval, decide on the composition of the planning committee (if it is to include individuals beyond the library board itself). Try to get representatives from the full range of library stakeholders. Review the Stakeholder section in Chapter 2, as well as Figure 2-3, “Involving Stakeholders in the Planning Process.” 1
Review the “Preliminary Tasks Checklist” 1
3 Review Library Planning Matrix Review the “Library Planning Matrix” for ideas on how much effort is involved for various activities. This will help in defining level of effort in the step below. 1
4 Determine level of effort The director and board determine the level of effort involved with the project: intensive, moderate, or basic (see “Defining the Level of Effort”). 1
5 Review and evaluate the previous plan (if any) Examine the previous plan (if any) and evaluate the results in a written form. Where goals have gone unmet and objectives unfilled, list reasons. 2
6 Schedule meetings Consultant or administration will need to develop the schedules for all planning committee efforts. 1
7 Publicize meetings Part of developing a plan is publicizing its development. Plan to put out press releases and invite the media to all meetings. 1
8 Develop mailing materials and agendas Effective planning committees will receive an agenda and decision documents well in advance of each meeting so the documents can be carefully considered. 1
9 Review planning issues checklist The board and administrator can use the Planning Issues Checklist to develop additional areas that need work for a planning cycle. For instance, if trustees and staff are not bonded and a review indicates that they should be, this should be included in the planning. 2
10 Include overview questions Ask the planning committee, the board, and the staff key essay questions at the start of the process. Compile the responses and consider strategy based on the written replies. 2
11 Review policy manual Inventory The results of the policy manual inventory should be used to recommend policy changes that are consistent with the plan being drafted. Review the steps in policy creation as well as the “Test for Good Policies.” 9
12 Present demographic and statistical data Develop charts, tables, and graphs on the key data for decision makers. Planners will need to be made aware of key issues such as population growth trends, circulation patterns, tax base changes, and so forth. The consultant, director, or assigned staff member will develop these data. 4
13 Review budget options The consultant or the director will work with the library’s auditors, municipal finance personnel, and the board to assure that the library’s budget, financial records, and so forth are in good order. The entire planning committee need not be involved, perhaps a subcommittee will be in order. 6
14 Review governance options Assemble and evaluate information on governance options in your state. 6
15 Review finance options Assemble and evaluate information on finance options in your state. 6
16 Review impact fees Evaluate options for impact fees in your area. 6, App. 3
17 Identify added elements-surveys, etc. Planning committee will determine added information it needs for decision making. 4
18 Build consensus Consider the types of activities that will be needed to develop consensus on the elements of the plan. 3
19 Decide on mission, vision, core values, roles There is a section on each in Chapter 2, while Chapter 3 provides planners with the neeeded consensus building tools. 2, 3
20 Establish goals and objectives Goals and objectives are the heart of any strategic plan. Effective planners will spend most of the planning committee discussions developing them. Libraries in states with standards should use them in developing objectives. All libraries should consider using the percentile comparisons and the Metrics Worksheet to develop measurable objectives 5
21 Revise board bylaws Effective planners will recommend that the board’s bylaws be up to date and consistent with local, state, and federal law. 6
22 Draft plans The single author decided upon at the beginning of the process (Chapter 1) writes a draft of the plan in the format provided in Figure 10-2, and uses the elements of the planning process discussed throughout this book. This draft is clearly marked DRAFT so that planning committee participants, the staff, the library board, the governing body, and all stakeholders recognize that it is scheduled for revision. 1
23 Build consensus The draft is presented to the planning committee for further amendments. Feedback from the other stakeholder groups is incorporated considered by the planning committee. Depending on the degree of consensus on the plan, various consensus building tools will be used. 3
24 Hold public hearing Depending on the library and municipality’s circumstances, it is usually a very good idea to hold a public hearing on the plan. Check with legal counsel on the statutory requirements for a public hearing in your state and follow the advice given very carefully. 3
25 Revise plan Based on data from the public hearing it may be necessary to revise the plan yet again. Use the consensus building techniques in step 23 again, as necessary. 3
26 Board and governing body adopt plan Present a copy of the finished plan to the library board for its formal adoption of the entire plan. Depending on local political circumstances, it is usually a good idea to present the plan to the city council (or other governing body). This is especially true if the plan has recommendations for significant spending (on a building or a new circulation system, for instance.) 11
27 Publish plan In step 2b, you established a budget that included the costs for printing and dissemination of the plan to all the appropriate stakeholders.
28 Set evaluation schedule Based on the parameters you built into the plan, set up a proposed schedule of evaluation of the elements of the plan. Do this at least on an annual basis.