Monday, December 20, 2010

Planning for the future.....

The Richmond Public Library Board of Trustees has just completed its strategic plan for the next five years. Part of the discussion was whether to have the plan cover three years or five years. Planning beyond five years was not even on the table -- conditions change too quickly for that.

The Board decided to stay with a five-year planning time frame. One reason is that it simply takes time to see some progress in your initial work. If we start tomorrow to implement something that has implications for the library system as a whole, it takes nearly a year to start seeing results, and it takes more than a year to have comparable data to assess changes, successes or mistakes.

A second reason for the five-year planning time frame is that this is a strategic plan. In order to gather resources necessary for significant changes, lead time is needed.

The key areas of both strength and opportunity that have been identified for the strategic plan are:
  • A welcoming and safe presence in the community;
  • Current collections to meet our community's identified needs, and access to information in all formats;
  • Dedicated, well-trained library staff;
  • Rich and diverse programming that enriches our resident's lives, focusing on early childhood and family development, and life-long learning for all stages of life.

Thanks to the City of Richmond's commitment to renovations of the libraries, we are well on the way to providing library buildings that are truly welcoming and safe places in each neighborhood. Mayor Jones and City Council members participated in recent re-openings for the North Avenue and Westover Hills libraries. The use at the North Avenue Library has increased 20% in its first month following renovation -- a strong statement for the value of the public library in North Avenue's neighborhood.

We have much farther to go in our collections, however. I'd be interested in your comments about Richmond Public Library's collections -- what is good, what is missing, and what you'd like added to the collections at your library.

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