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Strategic Plans

SWOT analysis was covered in a previous post as the first step in creating strategic plans. If you are new to library planning or directorship, read on for simple tips to get started in strategic planning.

Six Components of a Strategic Plan

The six components needed for a robust library strategic plan are:

  1. A Vision Statement – usually taken from your organization, university, or city
  2. Core Values – your organization adheres too and embodies for your community
  3. Culture and Behaviors – need to be intertwined in the plan from the overarching values
  4. Themes from Data – need to be addressed from focus groups and surveys
  5. Timeframe Established – with deadlines to gauge results and outcomes of the plan
  6. Metrics – to provide feedback and business results for the effectiveness of the plan

Gain Support

Gaining the support of Human Resources and senior leadership is so important. This will enable your library to further explain the “why” behind the strategic plan. Your library will gain valuable partnerships. Furthermore, your success will determine having the backing of HR and your staff to see your vision behind the objectives. You need to start a year in advance with informational meetings with managers and partners involved.


The Library Friends, Board and managers need to have all the information and the projected timeline for the plan. Again, you need to gain support before you invite focus groups or engage with the SWOT analysis for staff.

Your first job is to engage your senior leadership, so they understand the importance of your intended road map. Having an objective for EDI, professional development, community goals is important.

Data Mining

After gaining support and hosting focus groups and surveys, you need to develop a committee to mine the data. You will gain valuable knowledge about needs, wants and goals for your plan. Next, develop objectives, timelines, and metrics for the plan objectives. Taking the necessary time to dig into the weeds is important. Data will be different depending upon the goal and result.

However, don’t let personal interests or “sacred cows” drive the strategic plan. Your leadership is most important here, to establish measurable outcomes that impact your community.

Follow Up and Feedback

Finally, after your strategic plan is approved, you need to implement and measure the results. These last steps are as important as the planning stages. You need to measure your objectives.

Questions to consider:

  • How did new software impact our customers?
  • Was the extra expense in personnel provide improved (and improved) access?  Measure it.
  • What was the outcome of the increased Wi-Fi in the building? Include raw data and narratives.

Again, feedback and results will need to be analyzed for success and moving forward. A strategic plan, especially during Covid, is a fluid document. Remaining flexible is my best advice.

Furthermore, a Library Director needs to have the vision and leadership to handle anything. A strategic plan gives you that roadmap to help lead and plan for the future. Best of luck!

Tell me how your strategic planning is moving forward during this challenging time. Please share your successes at:

By Kathy Husser (Tempe)

Kathy Husser is a Tempe librarian and educator who enjoys travel and learning about our global cultures. With post pandemic traveling open up more and more, Kathy wants to share resources for family friendly getaways and fun trips to meet your vacation needs. She enjoys gardening, the outdoors and cooking too!