Strategic Planning: Getting Started

If you're getting ready to plan, any time is a good time to start the conversation and gather data.  Here are some questions and resources to get you going:

1. What does the future look like?  Brief, thoughtful pieces to get you started thinking

Three Trends Shaping the Future of Libraries - Library Journal

Beyond the Pandemic, Libraries Look to a New Era - New York Times

What the Future Holds: Library thinkers on the most exciting technology and noteworthy trends - American Libraries

Information on current trends that may be relevant to your library - ALA Center for the Future of Libraries:Trends

And a more detailed report a few years old but worth reading and considering.
Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries - Aspen Institute


2. What do we need to know about the library and the community?

Use the MSL Public Libraries Survey for information about your library's circulation, services, etc.
You can use the menus to look for data just about your library or do comparisons with other libraries

Explore Census Data about your community
Look for information on age groups, poverty rates, education levels, etc. Are there populations that appear to be underserved by your library that you would like to target for outreach and services?

Montana Census and Economic Information Center (CEIC)You might want to check it out to see if the information you want is available

Other community agencies and how the library services overlap or are unique:

Colorado's Library Research Service has a form you can use to input data from library statistics and census information and create a document that can give you a good overview of your community

3. What do we need to know about libraries and how they operate?

Sandra Nelson created the following 18 Library Service Responses - descriptions of some of the roles public libraries fill. This could be a good starting point for looking at eventual strategic plan goals.