By Ann Zydek, library director
WARSAW — The library is ready to welcome 2021! The Warsaw Community Public Library Board in 2020 elected to work with consultants at Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) of Lansing, Mich., to facilitate a five year strategic planning process based on community needs.
A Statement of Community Needs was created by MCLS based on recent documents published in the community: the Kosciusko County Community Foundation Hometown Chats and the OrthoWorx Kosciusko County Welcomeness Study. In addition, the library conducted a patron survey and compiled library statistics; examining uses such as circulation of materials, library visits, collection holdings, and program attendance to identify trends.
A 12-person Strategic Planning Committee was assembled, which included representatives from the library board, the library staff and the Friends of the Library. The Strategic Planning Committee reviewed the community needs summary, library survey results and library statistics prior to meeting on Aug. 6, 2020.
The group participated in a SOAR analysis of the library, identifying strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results. The strengths provided the basis for the development of the library’s new core values: welcoming, inclusive, accessible, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, adaptable and forward thinking. The aspirations became the basis of the library’s new vision statement: WCPL engages and equips our community by providing inclusive, innovative and relevant services without barriers.
On Aug. 13, 2020, the MCLS consultant returned onsite to work with key library staff to create a tactical plan to address the strategic priorities that were identified by the strategic planning committee. Questions answered for each priority were: “What will the customer experience?”; “How will the community benefit?”; “What activities might occur?” “What will success look like?”; “What organizational issues will need to be addressed including facilities, technology, policies, staffing, etc.?” This work created the basis for the goals, objectives and activities that make up the 2021- 2025 strategic plan.
This fall, the MCLS consultant, the administration team and I worked to further develop measurable plans for evaluation of objectives and implementation of activities. The library board adopted the finalized 2021-2025 strategic plan at the Nov. 9, 2020 board meeting with the following key strategic service priorities:
1) Reimagine Physical Space: Enhance in-person experiences by transforming traditional library spaces,
2) Expand Virtual Presence: Create a seamless, full-service virtual library experience, and
3) Cultivate Community Engagement: Develop deeper connections and enhance collaboration
within the community.