Library Strategies on the Move with Alayne Hopkins
Like many of you, our team at Library Strategies has been using this time of uncertainty to examine our organization, our services, and our team. We’re excited to share with you some of the plans and changes we’ve made that we hope will serve you, and organizations across the country, even better in your own journeys.
Housed within The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, with whom we share a vision for “a dynamic library at the heart of every community,” Library Strategies works with libraries and library organizations to realize that goal. At the beginning of this year, we began an in-depth market assessment to better understand the current needs of the library world so that we could align our services accordingly. (You may have even participated in our survey – thank you!) Here are a few of the insights we gained from libraries across the country:
- Strategic Planning, including facilities planning, is still a top priority. This is one of our core areas of expertise, and we will continue to partner with clients like you to engage your communities so that you can better prioritize services and activities, build innovation in your system, and use your resources efficiently in response to rapidly changing needs and budget challenges.
- Resource development and community investment is increasingly more important. With challenging budgets, this means that fundraising can’t be an afterthought. We will work with organizations to build a culture that understands and embraces philanthropy.
- Libraries are committed to equitably serving their communities. We share that commitment, and as we seek to grow within our own organization, we will share resources, recommendations, and referrals for consulting partners who can help you explore systemic racism, engage communities of color, and develop anti-racist practices.
We have aligned our services with these priorities and invite you to browse our website to see what we can offer you. Aside from these long-term strategies, we’ve also learned a lot recently about how to successfully engage with communities and with library leadership virtually. We’ve completed remote feasibility studies and development plans, as well as a number of strategic planning initiatives across the country, proving yet again that libraries can and will adapt to whatever is needed of them.
The other big shift on our team is that Stu Wilson, the former head of Library Strategies, has officially moved to Montana for what we might call a “semi-retirement.” He’ll still be consulting for us, of course, but our Saint Paul team looks a bit different. It is this change that prompts me to introduce myself to you. I’m Alayne Hopkins, Director of Programs & Services at The Friends. This role also means that I am the Director of Library Strategies, a position I’ve been in since the beginning of the year. I have worked with public libraries and programming for more than 20 years. In fact, a little over 17 years ago, it was Stu Wilson who hired me at The Friends!
During my tenure, I have worked primarily with programming, overseeing the growth of The Friends’ arts and cultural events, including stewardship of the Minnesota Book Awards – a program now in its 33rd year – and as the lead staff liaison to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in The Friends role as the Minnesota Center for the Book. The last year and a half have been an accelerated learning course into the world of library consulting and I have had the privilege to work on strategic planning and project management for clients, as well as overseeing Library Strategies’ partnership with the Montana State Library on an IMLS-funded project to advance strategic planning training for six states in the Midwest and Mountain regions (more on that soon!).
I, like many of you, am in the midst of learning how to work, live, parent, and teach all at home with my husband, nearly seven-year-old daughter, and four-year-old son. And as much as I wish we weren’t currently experiencing this kind of life, I am frankly excited by what it can mean for us at The Friends, Library Strategies, and as a collective society when we take a deeper look at what we are doing and who we are serving – and back that examination up with actions to move toward a more just and peaceful world.
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or feedback in the coming months. I look forward to working and planning with you for a better 2021.