Finding our way for the next five years
Read in Ned | August 25, 2017
By Jay Mann
Strategic plans set the direction for an organization. They help determine where resources – time, staff, and money – will be focused.
And they have grown shorter over time. Nowadays they typically plan out five years or less. The reason is that things – technology, people’s needs, etc. – are changing very quickly.
In preparation for writing a strategic plan, over the past year the library conducted a community study which included a survey, analysis of demographics and past community studies, and interviews. I will be summarizing some of the plan here; the full plan can be found at www.nedlib.org/sp
Spaces: Provide library spaces that are inviting, stimulating and comfortable for a wide variety of uses.
Libraries will always be about resources, but they are becoming increasingly about place. Small libraries struggle to meet a variety of needs in a shared space. Letting children be children while respecting the needs of others for quiet is a huge challenge. Part of this is temporal: many of our patrons quickly learn when our children’s programs happen and adjust their schedules to avoid rambunctious children. Thanks to the Library Foundation, the library owns the small parcel of land east of the library. The hope is to develop that into useable spaces soon. I believe that libraries really shine when they can help create community. Our community room can do just that and is available for free for non-commercial uses during library hours and after hours as well.
Materials: Ensure that our community has access to resources in a variety of relevant and useful formats.
It is an understatement to say that a lot of people in the Peak to Peak region commute to work and have a hard time visiting the library during its open hours. A quick note: we can’t open the library on Sundays because we lease the majority of our parking lot from the church and part of that agreement is that we not use it on Sundays. To help serve the commuters, we will continue to provide resources that are available outside the library. This includes ebooks, eAudiobooks, and databases. And we will continue to expand the nontraditional items that we offer (Colorado State Park passes, thermal cameras, and a VHS to DVD converter).
Equality: Provide information literacy and job skills training in pursuit of a secure, informed, and technologically capable community.
The most common salaries in our region are less than $30k and over $140k. In order to help meet the needs of our lower income residents, we will continue to do things like partner with Workforce Boulder on programming like a resume workshop. We will continue our free tech help – Tuesdays at 2 PM or by appointment. And we hope to expand wifi beyond the library soon: both immediately outside the library and by circulating mobile hotspots.
Programming: Provide programming for patrons of all ages and backgrounds that helps build community.
The past couple years have seen local scientist talks, book discussions, local author readings, astronomy presentations and more. We hope to offer programs soon that were requested in our survey. But programs are only successful if they are attended. People often say that they would have liked to come to something but didn’t know about it. We do our best to promote our programs – through flyers, newspaper ads, Facebook posts, and word of mouth. But the best way to hear about our programming is to subscribe to our monthly newsletter (you can do this on our website or in person at the library). If you have subscribed but aren’t seeing the newsletter, please check your spam folder.
The goals listed above get at the how but not the why. That is covered in our new Mission Statement which is “The Nederland Community Library empowers our community to learn, connect and grow by providing equal access to information and resources and compassionate service to all.”
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at email@example.com, call 303.258.1101, or speak to me in person.
Jay Mann is the Director of the Nederland Community Library.