Figuring Out Friends and Foundations

Along with recent, reinvigorated interest from libraries hoping to update their strategic plans, Library Strategies hears from many Friends groups and Library Foundations looking to verify that they are aligned to best support their public library. Friends and Foundations have distinct roles, characteristics, and expectations in their communities. Both types of organizations engage the community…

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Strategic Planning & Grant Writing

In the years of the pandemic and continued racial reckoning, we’ve noticed that grantors have become more specific in what they are looking for from organizations seeking funding. I asked my Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library colleague, Institutional Relations Manager Julia Ruther, to share some observations.  Julia and I have worked together on…

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On Hearing and Being Heard

One key principle of a good strategic planning process (and frankly, many other processes) is to listen before you speak. At Library Strategies, we like to embed multiple ways to listen during every project. For example, we always include an anonymous staff survey, in addition to holding focus groups with library staff. The focus groups…

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Webinar Series: Governance Structures and Best Practices

At the beginning of December, Library Strategies offered a free webinar on foundation board governance best practices. It was the first of three foundation-specific webinars we are offering, taking advantage of the excellent relationship between The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and their Board of Trustees.   Approximately 100 people registered for the event…

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The “We Make Workplans for Our Workplans” Edition

Here at Library Strategies, we’re always happy to help, so you’re never entirely without someone to go to in pursuit of answers to your implementation questions. However, there will be a time, following all the work we’ve done together, that you will need to rely on the brilliant minds in your own library. That is…

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Implementation Planning or What To Do In Case of Frogs

Pretend, with your humble author, that your library has just finished a strategic plan. You’ve got all these great ideas. Your community is engaged and excited about the future of the library. Momentum is still palpable, but what do you do with it? Strategic planning is not the “end.” (Don’t panic.) Library Strategies suggests following…

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Your Library is Preparing for a Capital Campaign! Now What?

We’ve seen increased interest in feasibility studies and capital campaigns in the last few months. Given funding opportunities like the American Rescue Plan and the infrastructure bill, we thought we’d take a moment to dig into this meaty topic. Says Library Strategies consultant, David Katz, “Even people who ‘get’ capital campaigns may not ‘get’ the public-private nature…

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Dos and Don’ts for RFPs

Say you have a project like strategic planning that you know will require the help of an outside consultant. An RFP (Request for Proposal) is a document you create that includes a detailed description of your project and the services you’re requesting that invites prospective vendors to respond with their approach and cost. This document…

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How We Operate: Lightbulb Edition

Library Strategies is a consulting group of The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. We are the only consulting group in the country based inside of a library organization. As such, we often have big picture conversations with our local library leadership. We offer a unique set of services designed specifically to strengthen libraries…

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