An Update on Framing the Future – Advancing Strategic Planning for Small and Rural Libraries

Library Strategies’ IMLS-funded partnership with the Montana State Library is proceeding into Phase Three – conducting strategic planning processes for four to six libraries in the five participating states. This means it’s an excellent time to look back at the results we are beginning to see for our partner libraries. Framing the Future: First Phases…

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Meeting and Mitigating Challenges: Part 3

In this third edition of our series about challenges facing the library, we’re going to walk right up to the elephant in the room and talk intellectual freedom and, specifically, how the library board interacts with this bedrock library concept. Ideally, the library board is comprised of citizens who are passionate about their community and…

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Meeting and Mitigating Challenges – Part 2

Libraries and their support organizations face a variety of challenges every day, it seems. For the past few years we have, appropriately, had a lot of focus on the challenge of providing services during a pandemic while keeping our staff, volunteers, and patrons safe. In working with many libraries around the country, and in our…

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Meeting and Mitigating Challenges: Part 1

We’re in another one of those “the world is a lot” times, or maybe we never left. Regardless, your friends at Library Strategies are here thinking about the ways in which challenging times are affecting libraries. We have used this space before to discuss the ways in which understanding your multi-faceted community can advance the…

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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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