Since February 2011 the Lexington Public Library has been working to develop a new strategic plan. A summary of these activities and what has been found are available on this page.
“American libraries will confront formidable challenges during the next few decades of the 21st century. Both the media and technologies they deploy will continue the digital transformation that has already eroded or swept away in years what had lasted for decades or centuries. Nor is the rate of change slowing. The new media and technologies are enabling a steady flow of genre- and usage-changing innovations, and institutions drawing on these disruptive changes are competing with the library in its most fundamental roles. Libraries also are challenged by the financial constraints facing the agencies that support them, as well as shifts in the nature and needs of library users. If libraries are to evolve rapidly enough to meet these challenges, they will have to make careful and difficult strategic decisions and persevere in implementing those decisions.”
Confronting the Future: Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library
Policy Brief, June 2011
ALA Office for Information Technology Policy
In February, 2011, a seventeen-member committee immersed itself in a five-month process to establish a new strategic agenda for Lexington’s public library system. Recruited for a diversity of perspectives and experiences, the group included three trustees, four advisory board members, four community representatives, and six staff members. Among the benefits the group considered most needed from the planning process:
- Future Focus. A new capacity to anticipate, stay out ahead, and see unmet community needs with fresh eyes
- Unity of purpose: the alignment of internal and external LPL stakeholders around a strategic direction driven by community need, a system-wide axis for internal decision-making , and performance metrics expressed in terms of results and impact
The process was formally launched with a series of focus groups and key informant interviews. Sixteen focus groups were conducted during March and April, 2011. Over 150 participants included civic and business leaders, representatives from public and non-profit community organizations, trustees, advisory board members, library administrators, library staff, and current library customers.
What They Told Us: The Forces Shaping Lexington’s Next Decade
- Contrasting, competing generational demands; growing demographic and social diversity; and greater ethnic ambiguity – these changes in Lexington sharpen community choices between “comfortableness” and “coolness”.
- Place-making initiatives spotlight the challenges of balancing urban, suburban, and rural life : competition for resources, growing infrastructure issues, local politics, and the community culture.
- A regional economy is increasingly dependent on local entrepreneurs for job creation. Increased pressures are placed on public education to produce a more globally competitive workforce.
- Rapid skill obsolescence, and lack of information literacy exacerbates the development of a two-tiered economic and social structure. The digital divide widens and the need for retooling programs escalates sharply.
- Economic necessity produces a more collaborative community environment and opportunities arise for new public/private ventures.
- In every sector, there is an increased use of objective data to justify need, strengthen decision making, and demonstrate results. Within the public sector, the competition for tax dollars likewise means increased scrutiny of management practices and greater emphasis on ROI.
- Connectivity everywhere: ubiquitous web-based tools, interactive technologies and social media allow quick and easy access to information. Impatient consumers with short attention spans and little free time demand convenient, quick, and easy access to customized services.
- Demand continues for community spaces that blend human and electronic interactions. Decentralized social networks and the emergence of new small, active groups who operate in less hierarchical ways continue to transform how business is conducted.
What They Told Us: The Implications Of Community Change for LPL
- LPL can be the community’s “front porch” in an increasingly diverse community - a welcoming communal presence nurturing a strong sense of belonging. The assimilation of new populations creates new demands for multilingual services at every library location.
- New technologies drive major changes in the way people use libraries. A new generation of consumers want instant access to easy, convenient services customized to reflect their unique, individual interests. Demand escalates for public access computers, wireless internet , downloadable books, all new and emerging formats.
- Library users increasingly need help navigating new media and accessing a whole world of products outside of LPL’s traditional collection. LPL increasingly fills the role of information broker .
- LPL is expected to be the champion of technological literacy, helping the community acquire and develop 21st century technical skills - incorporating easily accessible digital resources throughout its collections, offering multiple electronic platforms and mobile devices to improve customer-friendly services.
- New service opportunities come with change:
- Meeting customers where they are – offering services in neighborhoods and at local gathering places, providing convenience, hours, and programs consistent with current lifestyles;
- Exploiting LPL’s connections and buying power in order to close the “digital divide” for individuals, organizations, and businesses - regardless of their socio-economic status;
- Integrating technology and art to convene and connect, e.g. bringing together people to address big ideas of the day, nurturing a literary arts environment which connects writers and readers.
- The library, expected to demonstrate a return on the community’s investment, is challenged to model efficiency and innovation through * selective partnerships to build capacity, * brokering and outsourcing to conserve resources, and * connecting and leveraging community assets to innovate.
- The entire library system must stay in continuous learning mode, honing skills critical to managing change – attracting and retaining staff conversant with emerging technologies and proficient in a variety of electronic media, attracting and retaining staff who are “people people” able to embrace the changing needs of new populations.
- The library must be seen as a contemporary and relevant organization -- able to grow with the community without being prescriptive, able to be change agent instead of cultural guardian.
- LPL is challenged to stay strategically focused - pursuing unique opportunities that align mission, competencies, delivery capacity, and community need. As a community center attracting requests for help on anything and everything, LPL must manage competing demands by employing a referral network of partners and community agencies.
Strategic Focus: A 5-Year Destination and 2-Year Map for FY 2012 & 2013
The 5-Year Organizational Vision
Focusing on the challenges of today’s public library environment and drawing on input from local community stakeholders, this Five-year Vision articulates an ambitious, motivating course – aspirations for the five-years ending 6/30/2016. It is a destination against which LPL’s progress must be metered.
- Highly visible, outwardly focused, and well respected as an integral community asset , LPL is considered a “hip” and go-to resource - a community hub where a full spectrum of human and electronic assets, partnerships, and alliances converge to satisfy diverse community needs.
- LPL’s adaptive response to change is rooted in a continuous pursuit of new learning opportunities. Organizationally focused on linking internal performance with external results, it employs a vigorous combination of customer feedback processes and internal performance metrics to develop and improve services.
- Structured and staffed as an interdependent whole, the system is peppered with decisive, action-oriented leaders and competent, curious staff. A sophisticated, up to date technology infrastructure supports the seamless integration of resources - people, technology, and service delivery locations – to ensure the innovative delivery of on-time, on-point, on-demand services to library customers of every age, style, profession and purpose.
- A team-driven, results-oriented culture is the product of extensive retooling, unrelenting attention to getting the best staff talents in the right organizational seats, and efficient, transparent decision-making processes framed by objective data. An adaptive, collegial learning environment has produced an organization willing to take chances in order to innovate and eager to celebrate individual and organizational successes.
The Strategic Agenda For FY 2012 & 2013
Three Strategic Goals focus on system-wide priorities for the first two years of the five-year planning cycle. As a set, they map changes necessitated by the demands of a digital culture and focus on critical first steps toward realization of the 5-Year Vision.
Measurable Objectives define specific results expected from achievement of the three goals. These eleven objectives also set in motion the development of new processes by which performance against each goal will be monitored and movement toward the five-year vision objectively calibrated.
Strategic Goal 1
Marketing: Building Customer & Community Relationships
1.1 Brand development yielding a distinct, visible community presence
1.2 The use of systematic, regular customer research to assess, develop, refine, and/or discontinue programs and
1.3 A comprehensive system-wide collection philosophy responsive to customer interests
1.4 Interactive, web-based communications which strengthen customer services and community connections
Strategic Goal 2
Service Capacity: Implementing Goal-Oriented Structures & Processes
2.1 Standard project management practices emphasizing clearly delineated outcomes, timelines, and leadership
2.2 Strategic IT plans aligned with management and service goals
2.3 Community partnerships accelerating the development cycle for new products and services
Strategic Goal 3
Organizational Capacity: Leveraging Resources For Results
3.1 An annual strategic management cycle linking goals, resources, and performance
3.2 Trustee alignment and leadership on strategic development issues
3.3 Business modeling to improve focus on priorities and results
3.4 The development and reallocation of financial and human resources to achieve system-wide goals
|LPL Strategic Plan 2011.pdf ||312.89 KB|