After our rousing success with the vision statement meeting (posted on here and here), the entire library staff got together to discuss our three-year strategic plan. I’ll admit, I was worried. We’ve had a lot of meetings lately and it’s getting a little old. But we somehow managed to discuss the strategic plan for an hour and a half, make significant process, and not end up hating the process, our co-workers, or the plan itself. (The scones and fruit waiting on the staff-room table helped keep us all focused.) Note that this does NOT mean that I hope we have all-staff meetings every other week! However, if we do have all-staff meetings, they should be like this one and the visioning meeting. They were successful because there was something to do, a plan for getting it done, collective and collaborative work toward doing it, and we stopped the meeting when it was done. These simple rules should apply for all meetings, please!
What do I like so much about this strategic plan? Well, it begins with an introductory statement which grew out of our discussion about the vision statement. We were burning with enthusiasm for the growing role the library will play in collecting, organizing, housing, and aiding in the discovery of not only text but also data, images, media, etc. And we were very excited about providing access to content regardless of format. Unfortunately, this excitement originally eclipsed any mention of text and content. So our Strategic Plan, as it is drafted at the moment, tries to bridge the old and the new in a much more constructive manner. It also includes specific affirmations of experimentation, not for experimentation’s sake, but in response to user need and with the recognition that not everything will work as planned.
Here are some of the specific pieces of the plan that really struck me:
- Experiment with new approaches to services, technologies, professional development, space, and furnishings to respond to user needs.
- Experiment with tools and interfaces that move us towards the goal of seamless access to a broad scope of distributed information resources and customizable views of information space.
- Secure grant funding to experiment with selection, acquisition, organization, and providing access to data, sound and image resources, and other digital content as needed by faculty and students.
- Widen the campus discussion of the future of scholarly communication and publishing and help develop a better understanding of their implications for the role of libraries.
There are three pages of bullet points… but you get the idea.
Since this meeting, we’ve learned that our strategic plan will have to remain in draft form until next fall (yikes!) when it can be vetted by some departments that are too busy right now to look at it.