Library Planning Research

Thinking About Public Library Strategies

It is not surprising public libraries are eager to help their communities. According to the American Library Associations core values – they provide access, education and life-long learning, diverse programs and professionalism. The libraries around the world are becoming more attractive places to be, and in absolute numbers increasing the access to knowledge.

In the United Kingdom the Government states that “Libraries change lives for the better. They not only provide access to books and other literature but also help people to help themselves and improve their opportunities, bring people together, and provide practical support and guidance. As a locally accountable service, they are well-placed to respond to local needs and issues.” See Library as a Public Space Article.

According to the Public Library Association President, Melanie Higgins “libraries are being asked to help solve community problems, respond to community crises, and provide leadership to help citizens literally survive a pandemic.” There is evidence that our libraries and librarians are important communicators helping people deal with problems. The buildings help break down the barriers to independent learning.

  • Flexible Libraries have features that make it a good fit for sustainable programs.
  • Digital Asset Management can be at a personal or community based level.
  • This can include modern buildings, flexible and adaptable spaces.
  • A place for children, teens and adults to learn how to conduct themselves in a professional environment.

According to Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government by Mark H. Moore – we need to support an uncertain future by implementing a series of concrete actions, some planned and some improvised. This includes developing a needs assessment, service and building program, scenario planning and master plan. The actions unleash unpredictable influences that will help define the libraries strengths and weaknesses.

The library planning process will help library and community leaders make many adjustments to keep their efforts to change on course. This may include interventions to change the digital services. More importantly, it will involve improvements to the libraries service, space and use. We know that it is hard to develop structures and planning strategies that improve the future. It is best to be organized by adding expertise to your libraries potential.

Here are some helpful links to consider:
Describing and Measuring the Value of Public Libraries.

IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto

Creating the Future: a 2020 Vision Plan for Library Service in New York State

The role and value of public libraries in the age of digital technologies

Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library – ICMA

The Libraries Timeless Purpose

Below is a graphic of the steps we take to support libraries in transition. We support the strategic development of libraries, including best practices and programs to support information gathering. We help communities define their public libraries and help build the next generation library services, buildings and access.