ELMHURST PUBLIC LIBRARY STRATEGIC PLAN, 2009-2013
Explore, Learn, Grow
The Elmhurst Public Library has served the citizens of Elmhurst for more than 90 years, growing and changing as the community evolved. In October 2003, we moved into a new, state of the art facility that was the result of years of planning. The response from the people of Elmhurst has been overwhelming, with library use breaking records in nearly every month since then. Surveys indicate a high degree of satisfaction with the library. However we cannot stand still in a time of rapid change.We want to ensure that all residents of Elmhurst get the greatest possible benefit from their library both now and in the future. With this in mind, a Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC)was formed in January 2008 to review the local and societal environment, consider possible responses that would best increase the library's effectiveness and devise a plan of action. Their research was assisted by an Elmhurst College marketing class, which conducted a survey of library use and opinions of residents. A "Community Voice" forum was also held in April to solicit the views of leaders and stakeholders in the community. The results of the City of Elmhurst’s biennial Citizen Survey were also taken into consideration. Over the summer, six staff Task Forces chaired by the SPSC members were formed to investigate ways to realize the library's Vision Statement. The following Strategic Plan is the result of the work of all of these groups.
Like all other public libraries, we are challenged to remain relevant in a changing world. The advent of information instantly available on the Internet; mobile communications;and downloadable books, music and films have led some to question the future viability of public libraries. In response, many libraries are focusing on marketing and communicating the value of their services. Elmhurst is a well-educated, relatively affluent community that appreciates and uses its library. The city is experiencing growth in the number of school-aged children as well as older seniors (over age 75), and the population is becoming more diverse. The community has expressed a desire for more programs directed at teens and tweens. Changes in society and the economy have resulted in more single-parent families and more residents working from home. Many residents are involved in social and community organizations. Most people in Elmhurst have access to the Internet at home and/or work. All of this presents an opportunity for the library to function as the "heart of the community," guiding residents to needed information and services in a timely, efficient manner; providing opportunities to learn about the world around them; and offering a place to meet and exchange ideas.
Elmhurst Public Library enriches life in Elmhurst by providing opportunities to explore, learn and grow.
Elmhurst Public Library will be a place for discovery at the heart of the community. The Library will provide the support and resources for Elmhurst residents to
· develop a love of reading
· access information for work and learning
· pursue interests that will enrich their lives
· understand changes in technology, society and culture
· gather and interact with each other
Elmhurst Public Library values:
· We provide an environment that is welcoming to all.
· We protect the privacy of library users.
· We defend intellectual freedom.
· We respect all points of view.
· We believe that everyone has the right to be treated with respect.
· We commit to going the extra mile.
· We listen to our community.
· We put the public interest first in our decision-making.
· We are fiscally responsible.
· We protect the community’s investment by maintaining the library facility in top condition.
· We minimize our environmental impact.
· We provide equal access to information for all.
· We facilitate convenient access to library resources.
· We employ friendly and approachable staff.
· We foster literacy.
· We support lifelong learning.
· We provide diverse resources and programs.
· We hire well-qualified staff and support their continued learning.
· We encourage collaboration among staff and with community organizations.
Strategic Direction #1
A Visible and Engaged Presence in the Community
To achieve the mission and vision of the library we must communicate the library's services and value effectively to the community. Although the library already rates high in the biennial Elmhurst Citizen Surveys, much more can be done to ensure that residents are aware and take full advantage of what the library offers. An effective online presence is increasingly important to make the library accessible to our community,and person-to-person marketing can communicate the direct, individual benefits of library use. Collaboration with other institutions offers an opportunity for mutual enhancement of our contributions to life in Elmhurst.
1. Goal: We maintain the library’s role as a vital resource in the community by continually reassessing and responding to residents’ wants and needs.
1.1 Objective: Seek out community related information in a variety of ways, such as surveys, data analysis and advisory groups.
1.2 Objective: Identify and evaluate new technologies and other trends as they develop and adopt them as appropriate to enhance library services.
2. Goal: We spark the interests of our patrons through effective marketing and promotion of the library. Our active role in marketing increases awareness and reaches a broader audience.
2.1 Objective: Improve and expand the use of traditional methods of marketing, such as newsletters, displays, brochures, handouts and signage.
2.2 Objective: Identify and develop a plan for the use of innovative, in-person marketing, such as taking collections and services to locations and events in the community.
2.3 Objective: Take advantage of marketing opportunities through electronic communications,social networking and display screens in the library.
2.4 Objective: Create a friendly, informative, and highly navigable website, and publicize it as a portal to library services.
3. Goal: We increase our presence in the community by networking with local organizations and businesses.
3.1 Objective: Improve outreach to the educational community through collaboration, and provide training for school administrators, teachers and students in using library resources.
3.2 Objective: Establish stronger relationships with the local business community in Elmhurst.
3.3 Objective: Become more active in local community organizations and partner with them on special initiatives.
3.4 Objective:Support and participate in the Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition and other environmental initiatives.
3.5 Objective: Collaborate with area organizations and businesses to create a local information network to strengthen Elmhurst Public Library’s position as the heart of the community.
Strategic Direction #2
A Source of Inspiration and Knowledge
Programs and services are the value-added connection between users and library collections. They support the Library’s vision of providing the means for Elmhurst residents to “develop a love of reading; access information for work and learning; pursue the interests that will enrich their lives; understand changes in technology, society and culture; and gather and interact with each other.”
4. Goal: We foster a love of reading by providing strong readers’ advisory services and a wide variety of programs that connect patrons with books, authors, staff and other readers.
4.1 Objective: Promote Readers’ Advisory as a service.
4.2 Objective: Provide opportunities to meet and learn about authors.
4.3 Objective: Expand opportunities for patrons to share their love of books and reading, such as book discussions, contests and reading programs.
4.4 Objective: Continue to support children and their parents in developing a foundation for learning to read with skill and pleasure.
4.5 Objective: Develop programsthat actively engage Tweens and Teens.
4.6 Objective: Provide resources to assist adults who are learning to read (new readers and ESL).
4.7 Objective: Provide opportunities for those with physical or developmental challenges to enjoy the library and reading.
5. Goal: We are active participants in promoting economic development in Elmhurst.
5.1 Objective: Provide training for the public in using business resources.
5.2 Objective: Act as a hub for connecting business people, especially operators of home-based businesses, with each other and the library to enhance their business skills and knowledge.
6. Goal: We offer programming, services and materials for Elmhurst residents to achieve personal, professional and academic success.
6.1 Objective: Establish programs and provide materials that promote personal well-being on topics such as health and wellness, home management and lifestyles.
6.2 Objective: Establish programs and provide materials to support career development and learn financial skills.
6.3 Objective: Provide programs to help students.
6.4 Objective: Help people of all ages learn to use the library and its resources effectively.
6.5 Objective: Offer programs for Elmhurst residents to become more knowledgeable about the political process and local issues.
6.6 Objective: Encourage and support understanding and use of current and emerging technologies.
7. Goal: We provide opportunities for residents of all ages and walks of life to pursue their own interests and learn about those of others.
7.1 Objective: Promote social and cultural understanding among the people of Elmhurst.
7.2 Objective: Identify significant Elmhurst audiences and develop collections, programs and services to meet their needs.
Strategic Direction #3:
A Learning and Evolving Organization
A skilled and knowledgeable staff is essential to providing the resources and services that support the Library's mission and vision.We employ our knowledge to build strong collections, to connect users with the information they need, and to create a welcoming environment that encourages people to explore everything the library has to offer.
8. Goal: We ensure that staff has the technology resources and competencies necessary for their work.
8.1 Objective: Create a development plan for staff technology competencies.
8.2 Objective: Evaluate and optimize the role of IT support and communications in the library.
8.3 Objective: Ensure that staff are aware of and know how to use assistive technologies.
9.Goal: We provide opportunities for our staff to enhance their information and advisory skills.
9.1 Objective: Ensure that staff understands that Readers' Advisory is an integral part of their job responsibilities, and provide opportunities to strengthen their skills.
9.2 Objective: Encourage the entire staff to read and talk about books.
9.3 Objective: Provide Kids' Library staff with the necessary skills and tools to support the “Every Child Ready to Read” initiative.
9.4 Objective:Develop staff expertise in understanding and researching business information.
9.5 Objective: Provide training for staff to support the educational needs of students.
9.6 Objective: Educate staff on resources available to assist users who do not speak English.
10. Goal: We train staff in interpersonal skills to create a positive environment for all at the Elmhurst Public Library.
10.1 Objective: Provide sensitivity training on topics such as ageism, GLBT, and disabilities.
10.2 Objective: Find ways to promote a fun atmosphere in the library.
10.3 Objective: Foster staff cohesion and camaraderie.