Strategic Planning Committee October 9 Meeting Minutes

Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
October 9, 2008

Draft Goals

The context of the library’s mission and vision, as well as the 2010 initiative should be included in the draft goals.  How/ which part of the library’s mission do the goals and strategy address the larger outcome that is desired by PLCMC. What are the priorities of these goals? This information could serve as the background information for the goals. Most staff would be able to answer questions about the system to anyone in the system (pertaining to patrons). The goals have not yet connected to the points in the mission and vision statement for PLCMC.

The group agreed that the library should incorporate volunteers into each area of the strategic plan.  This extends what the library can do, and creates ambassadors of the library in the community.

Build, renovate, and plan exceptional public library facilities:
• The Facilities Master Plan should be the first objective; everything else about the facilities flows from that.
• Library facilities should be built in proximity to public transportation (this ties to the goal about accessibility as well).
• The library should work with Mecklenburg County to agree on a sustainable approach to building maintenance, based on square footage maintained.   This would provide an annual amount per square foot for maintenance of library facilities.  This model is currently used with CPCC and other agencies.

Create cultural awareness:
• The International Advisory Board should be the first objective, as this will help determine the needs and how the library can address the needs.   Everything else flows from that.
• The Library is in a critical position to share information to the world. The library needs to create global awareness, not just cultural awareness.  We live in a global community now.   The description should be expanded to say “to create global and cultural awareness.”
• Volunteerism needs to be integrated into creating local and global cultural awareness. There should also be educational partnerships.

Provide accessible services and collections:
• We need to include here those people who don’t have computer access or don’t know how to use PCs, as that is a definite accessibility issue..
• Is there an accessibility issue in a digital way, is there a way to encourage digital reading.
• Does the mobile literacy initiative need “micro branches,” i.e. store front in neighborhoods where literacy impact needs to be?
• The proximity of public transportation to determine where bus stops or branches could be located. We need to also increase the knowledge of libraries to those people who don’t know they are there.
• If the library could work with county to create a more sustainable approach to increase funding for maintenance and renovation, for example, utilizing a per square foot amount with county. Once this is established, funding could be provided.

Provide personal, exceptional service to our customers:
• What are the metrics/performance measures that will tell us if we are providing exceptional service to customers?
• One way that staff provide exceptional service is to become more informed about community needs and how the library can respond to these.   One way to do this is to be more engaged in the community through involvement in community organizations.

Encourage the love of reading:
• Expand the goal to “encourage the love of reading and learning.”
• Encouraging the love of reading is what you want the library to have accomplished in 3-5 years. We want people to connect to the world of literacy.   Everything should flow up to encouraging a love of reading, but how will this be measured?  It’s all about reading and literacy; reading is a passport back to the world.
• Programming does a lot for the community and could be used towards literacy tutoring volunteer program. The library could foster and create a setting for tutoring, making sure time is well used.
• It is essential to have a central coordinator for the agencies and what they are doing. For example, Morrison Regional has the Sit, Stay & Read program, where kids read to dogs that come to branch. This is a great opportunity to expand what we have now.
• Change B to “Residents who cannot read or who have reading challenges will benefit from the libraries targeted literacy efforts.”
• The library needs to get feedback from nonusers, at some point, we need to know why these people do not use the library. We need to be more explicit on this point, explaining how the library provides a critical link for those who may get technology resources from other places.
• If the new plan is implemented, which direction would the library go in relation to this outcome? For example, if the library provides good service, is there a measurable improvement that will be seen in 3 years. (The goal is to work with the Library’s Board of Trustees to help set the priorities of these goals).
• We can measure how many cardholders the library has for each location.
• Something that is more explicit in strategy regarding literacy efforts could be created. The Library can also partner with other organizations such as CPCC, but duplication of other programs should be avoided. PLCMC should make sure that everyone gets access to what they need. (Because of these needs, the Lifelong Learning and Literacy position was created during the 2010 process.)
• The library is trying to encourage reading and assist those with reading challenges, but it is not as comprehensive as it should be. The library needs to do something that is more robust to get the point across. The question may be what is the role of the library, is it to be the leader of helping those who have reading challenges or who cannot read? There seems to be a turf issue around literacy because everyone is trying to achieve the same thing. There are resources that are needed to become the leader in literacy, and the library is poised and ready to take on this task. Trying to restructure the library to address this issue will help greatly.
• Information on how the county measures success in literacy should be made available, so that the library can tie to those measures.  Staff will follow up on this.
• There needs to be an aggressive, community-wide attack on literacy, beginning with kids at age 3 and above as well as non-English speaking families. The question lies in determining which area(s) does the library attack more aggressively or first.
• There should be efforts outside of the library to focus on literacy. Is there a way for the library to become a clearinghouse for literacy? The objective should be for the library to become the key organization in charge of literacy, otherwise things will be coming from every direction.
• If the library were to serve as clearinghouse, we would need to have an umbrella role, we would have to know the issues with literacy in the state and organizations that are involved in trying to remedy the situation.
• The role of the library is to provide answers and setting for tutoring and other services. Since the library does not provide tutoring for students, where do they go for this service?  We provide space right now.
• Families who may not speak the same language have been coming to North County’s tutoring sessions to teach each other English. It used to be mainly Spanish-speaking families, now it’s families that speak other languages. There are literacy initiatives that lie in this, but we are not taking advantage of them.
• The library can help foster a love of reading, but not make people love reading. The love of reading comes from the school and parents, but we can help by providing they type of programs they would like to come to. The mobile literacy bus was successful because it gave parents and children the ability to get books. Guys Read is another example of how we have fostered a love of reading in children.

Communicate the impact/tell our story:
• The library is a destination place with beautiful facilities and nice books for kids to check out. We want people to come in and use facilities and pass on information about the library. The library has a place in the market because everyone can use us.
• The branding and marketing plan should be in place so that we can commit to telling stories about the library’s impact.   The plan will help ensure consistency of messaging.
• The library should be involved in the community in a nontraditional manner; the staff should be more visible in the community. Library staff should be involved with more community organizations and community events.
• We should publicize that the library card gives more than free access to books.
• Businesses should serve as community volunteers. For example, business workers could come and read to students in schools, we would show them a positive role model in the community.
• The library needs to find consistency in a larger communication plan. Libraries have different services and it creates a challenge of trying to find broader areas to cover.

How does library staff play into prioritizing these goals?
• If there is input from the staff, they will take ownership of the plan and become more passionate about the outcome.
• If staff sees their own thoughts and how the outcome affects them, what does the success of the plan look like?
• As the plan moves forward, it will be important to bring staff into this plan. (Elly Tomlinson expressed that her staff supports the library system and they always work to make good programming and community programs. Morrison Regional is also working to expand outreach to seniors. Elly and her staff are working to make this branch a community center.) If the staff is given ownership, then they will be involved in the plan.

How will the library work to maintain employee retention?
• What are the issues or initiatives that should be considered for strategic retention and recruitment of employees? The goal of the strategic plan is to match goal to a larger aspect of PLCMC such as core values. What issues would be appropriate to improve? (Vanessa Ramseur explained the purpose of the staffing study as a way to see where our staff is located and what positions we have. She expressed that librarianship has employees coming from many fields of study and a career in this offers so much to people form many areas.) Ex. The County at one point has pay that was behind in market rate, a strategy for market pay analysis was created and utilized, now, the County plan deals with human capital management. It was explained that adding employees to plan was a goal, however, there was nothing in the plan about the stakeholders of libraries in plan

Measuring Performance
• Is there a way to measure the many ways that people use our libraries?
• Kids reading can be measured by having the kids read back. A library is a place where we can impact and change, a read back program can be in place where kids read in front of people in order to get prepared for school. It’s a great opportunity to make a difference in innovative ways instead of in traditional roles.
• The number of cards percentage in households could be a measurement.
• The literacy levels within the city.
• Levels of volunteerism: a measure in the number of people involved in the community.
• PLCMC’s circulation figures have to increase. Charlotte is not in the list of top literate cities. In locations where library use is high, events like Novello would be sold out.
• The challenge of measuring library use through card holders is not strong enough. How could the love of literacy and reading be captured that is not library card based?
• Many people buy books instead of using the library, if we want people to use the library, people would have to change their behavior. We need to figure out how to get people to use the library.
• Obtaining books from the library could be made more convenient, i.e. shipping books to patron, they would just need to pay postage.
• How are books going to be presented to kids who use different methods of reading (especially online reading? Kids need a comprehensive experience. If we rely on books for kids, we are setting up for failure. The library needs to provide different mediums than just traditional books for kids. They should be accessible enough so that kids think of books like they do video games.
• The library is a destination place, if the library could tighten partnerships with schools, we could bring the experience to the kids. How does the library become the bridge to parents who can’t get to the library–how do we remove those barriers?

Finally, can we tie each of the goals to the System Strategic Priorities that were identified in the 2010 process?   That would be helpful to staff and to the public.

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One Response to “Strategic Planning Committee October 9 Meeting Minutes”

  1. Rosanne Losee Says:

    There should be an intense reach into the senior community. From the standpoint of where I have been (Matthews Branch) there appears to be a increased interest by seniors to use the library for their needs and desires. There has been a marked increase in the senior population, particularly here in southeast Charlotte, and new and innovative ways to reach into this community should be examined. Certainly senior programming can continue to be a force, but other ways to engage them needs to be encouraged. Perhaps each library branch should have a senior outreach person, who works with community organizations, church groups, assisted living communities, as well as retirement communities, to inform them about the myriad opportunities for seniors to learn and enjoy their branch libraries. One idea that might work is to have senior groups come to specific branch libraries on a given pre-scheduled date and time to introduce library services to them. These could be limited to small groups at a time to allow for individual questions or concerns.

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