Alexis M Waide

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Archive for the month “May, 2012”

MRG: Strategic Planning

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700.  The second topic for the course is Strategic Planning.

Prior to this class session and these readings, I knew what a strategic plan was but didn’t know much about putting one together or why libraries might choose to engage in strategic planning.  The two articles I found from library and management journals were great in making both of those points clearer to me.  The library journal article was great since it came from the perspective of former fundraising consultant who once did not see the value in strategic plans and he brought both sides of the argument to light.  The management journal article was helpful since it broke down in really simple language the basics of strategic planning.  The majority of the other resources I found are examples of actual strategic plans from libraries and archives.

Book Chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). The Planning Process.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 145-165).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Matthews, J. (2005). Strategic Planning and Management for Library Managers.  Santa Barbara, California: Libraries Unlimited.

Professional library journal article
Price, L. (2010). On the Vital Importance of Strategic Planning. Public Libraries, 49(2), 25-7.

This article takes a different tack with strategic planning.  The author was formerly a fundraising consultant who naysayed strategic planning and while he has since changed his tune, he points out reasons libraries may not see the value in strategic planning, which I found interesting.  It’s always good to have a devil’s advocate around to strengthen your own argument.  Price makes the point that it’s easy to manipulate a plan to meet a predetermined set of objectives, which honestly, before reading this article, that’s kind of what I thought planning was about.  Isn’t a strategic plan meant to outline the objectives.  But, ideally, to create the plan the library should conduct research and try to remain as neutral as possible and then develop the objectives.  Another issue I hadn’t thought of was that typically, it’s the management writing the plan but it’s the front-line staff expected to implement the plan, at least the bulk of it, which can be problematic if they’re not fully invested.  Thus, it’s important to include all staff in plan development.

Professional management journal article
Brockmann, E.N. & Lacho, K.J. (2010). Strategic Planning: A Practical Primer for the Entrepreneur. The Entrepreneurial Executive, 15, 25-32.

Though this article is a primer for entrepreneurs and was published in a entrepreneurial journal, I found it extremely useful in that it very clearly outlines the basics of beginning a strategic plan.  The language used is simple and easy to understand.  There is one example used consistently throughout the article to show how a restaurant might go through the planning process, and while it’s not library-specific, it’s easy to draw comparisons and adapt the instructions to a library or archival setting.  I feel that it takes a lot of the fear out of strategic planning, not only by assuring that it’s not as daunting a task as it may seem, but highlighting the important steps and asking questions to help guide the process.

Library policies, procedures, and sites

Here are some links to library websites that deal with strategic planning:

Other resources


MRG: Environmental/Community Scan

These sources are for my ongoing Management Resource Guide (MRG) project for LIS 2700: Managing Libraries & Information Systems & Services.  The first topic is Environmental Scans and/or Community Relations.

We discussed environmental and community scans in LIS 2830 Marketing & Public Relations for Libraries, so I feel like I already had a fairly good grasp on the concept.  Since I already had an understanding of many of the methods used in environmental scans, the articles I focused more on a “how-to” approach of conducting environmental scans instead of on “what is”, and featured some more interesting ways to go about gathering needed information from the community.  The article from the UK with the toolkit and the two blogs I found were both very helpful, since they gave practical advice on conducting scans.  “Musings about librarianship” in particular was great since he talked about using social media to conduct informal scans.   Finding an article from a management journal was more difficult than the library journal, since non-library management articles seemed to focus on healthcare scans, and it was sometimes hard to find relevant information in these articles.

Book chapter
Evans, G.E. & Ward, P.L. (2007). The Operating Environment.  Management Basics for Information Professionals (pp. 39-52).  New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, Ltd.

Professional library journal article
Goulding, A. (2009). Engaging with community engagement: public libraries and citizen involvement. New Library World, 110 (1/2), 37 – 51.

This article discusses the evolving role of libraries as community resources, with a focus on the UK.  The article focuses on a toolkit created by a consulting firm that gives libraries guidelines and resources on how best to involve their communities in “service delivery and development” (Goulding, p. 40).  From the interviews of the stakeholders, the conclusion was reached that in the past, public libraries have been too user-focused, which may seem contradictory, but the keyword here is “users” which implies people who are using the library already, which I thought was interesting.  Most of the stakeholders recognized that to make the public library more of a community place, they need to court the people not using the library and do this by allowing for natural community practices to occur in the library.  Partnerships with the volunteer and community sector would allow for this.

Professional management journal article
Mafrica, L. (2003). From Scan to plan: how to apply environmental scanning to your association’s strategic planning process. Association Management, 55(1), 42-48.

Though this article deals with conducting an environmental scan in a professional association (in this case the Oncology Nursing Society), I found it helpful because it discusses not only how the organization conducted their scan but also how they translated their findings into their strategic plan.  It discusses methods used in the scan process, who was involved in the scanning, and how the information was translated from implications into actions.

Library policies, procedures, and site

Other resources

WPWVC ACRL poster session

I’m going to my first academic library conference and attending as a presenter, no less!  Well, I’m doing a poster session with my supervisor and another Pitt librarian.  The poster session is their baby (it’s on the ULS’ virtual reference Knowledge Base) but I’m excited and honored they’ve invited me to work with them on it.  After a number of brainstorming sessions over the past two weeks, I finished designing the poster and we got it printed today.  The WPWVC ACRL (Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries) spring conference is June 1 in Waynesburg, PA.  Wish me luck!

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