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.
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:
- Multnomah County Library in Oregon’s mission statement and philosophy
- Mission, Vision & Guiding Principles for the Yale University Library for 2011-2015, from their strategic plan
- Strategic Plan for the Los Angeles Public Library 2007-2010
- University of Toledo has a video archive of their strategic plan meetings – interesting because it gives an inside look at the planning discussion
- UK Data Archive Strategic Plan, 2010-2012
- Strategic Planning in a University Library: article from Marketing Library Services, about strategic planning process at Maryville University of St. Louis
- Strategic Planning in Academic Libraries: A Political Perspective: article from the ACRL