Posted tagged ‘long range planning’

The Merry-Go-Round

June 16, 2009

After a few months of uncertainty, it looks like we finally have budget for the next fiscal year.  It’s worse than we hoped for, but better than we feared it would be, and I probably can’t talk too much about it yet.  So instead let’s talk about the agony that the last few months of worrying have been.

First of all, this is no one’s fault, and our city in particular has been fair and straight forward with us throughout the entire process.  But given the current economic climate there was no way for anyone to have a clear picture of what will be in store for the state next year.  

This last year we suffered a mid-year cut that crippled our book budget and brought about a hiring freeze.  We were also told to prepare for the worst for the next year.  We held meeting after meeting to prepare scenarios, about 5 I think, none of which wound up matching the “final” outcome.  On top of this we’ve been working on our long range plan, which has been nearly an impossible task without knowledge of the resources likely to be available to us (in the end we just went with being optimistic).

Understandably the stress level has been pretty high and morale has bottomed out.  So the last few months have been hellish, and there are troubles ahead, but we’ll endure and I think things will be better once we have a more certain future, even if its not the one we would really like it to be.

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Activities

May 19, 2009

Our long range plan planning reached its most interesting phase today, developing our activities for the next five years.  It’s fascinating seeing how everyone approaches this, pretty much we all brainstormed ideas on our own, then pooled them together for discussion and further brainstorming.

On our own, pretty much everyone thought big, and then many things got whittled back when opened to the group.  For example, one of my big plans was to launch a series of staff training workshops, which then became train staff on core competencies, and finally wound up with figure out what our core competencies should be in the first place.  Hopefully you get the idea.

The discussion was great, this was actually our first meeting to run late as no one wanted to leave mid-debate.  And we’re nowhere near done.

Publicity

April 22, 2009

Yesterday our planning committee entered the objectives phase of our 5-year plan.  Now we’re using the planning for results model for our plan in which there are goals, subdivided by objectives, subdivided again by benchmarkable activities; all of which can be frustratingly bureaucratic at times.

Now our primary objective all along is to ensure patrons get more use out of the library.  5 years ago when the previous plan was written (before my time) it was decided that the way to accomplish this would essentially be to get more stuff.  This plan failed.  Sure new stuff circulates more than old stuff but it doesn’t do anything to get more people in the door.

This time around we’re being a little smarter, focusing instead on our publicity.  The problem though is the structure of the planning for results model.  Increasing our PR efforts is an objective that fits perfectly under every goal we have, which people feel is just a tad redundant.  It is, but given how the planning model works that’s what must be done, and it’s a topic that certainly deserves the increased prominence that the repetition gives it.

But that still leaves another problem, we need ways to benchmark progress and this doesn’t really lend itself to any easily determinable service indicator.  Damn I’m starting to speak the lingo now!  Better stop before I begin thinking in metrics.  More next month.

Survey Madness Part III

March 17, 2009

We finally got around to discussing our survey results at our planning committee meeting today.  The ensuing discussion was actually incredibly fruitful.  

The trends I commented on earlier were put into a slightly different perspective ones the group had a chance to pour over the data.  In particular the slew of negative comments were counterbalanced by the incredibly positive feedback scores we received.  But that’s not to say the negative comments will be ignored.  Everyone present took them to heart, in particular the ones about our poor service.  But we’re also focusing on the noise level, the lack of awareness of many of our services, and the quality of our a/v collections

All of which means that we’re finally ready to get down to the business of charting our future.  Looking forward to it.