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Strategic Planning

A strategic plan provides guidance for your library, detailing current strengths and assets, future goals and aspirations, action or implementation plan, and how you will evaluate progress. A strategic plan provides a framework by which to measure your successes, and involving community members in your planning process ensures that library goals, services and programs support the community and its goals.

Why do Strategic Planning?
Planning isn’t an end unto itself. Rather, it is important to have a clear plan to help guide what you do, and to ensure that library activities support the organization's mission. Setting priorities in keeping with your strategic plan, based on the expressed needs of community members, helps you make effective use of library resources. The plan’s priorities will help library staff, administration, and library board make wise decisions and provide innovative services.

SCLS Strategic Planning Services
There are many ways to plan, and various models. SCLS strategic planning services focus on community engagement and are modeled on the work of the Aspen Institute, the Harwood Institute, and the UW-Madison Certified Public Manager program. SCLS services focus on:

  • Staff development
  • Board development
  • Community conversations
  • Applying current data and demographics
  • Assistance with plan development

Additionally, an outside facilitator may have specialized skills that your staff and board may not have, and their neutrality can lend credibility to your process. You can often find someone in your community with the skills and experience you need. Possible sources include:

  • School District
  • University / College / Technical School
  • University Extension
  • Community Education program

Models and Resources
There are many models and resources for strategic planning, including:

Samples of Strategic Plans


For more information, contact: