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Updated: May 30, 2007

link iconPlanning (L4L)

General Resources

Imperatives for Planning, Wisconsin Public Library Standards
An excellent, brief overview of the planning process that incorporates the use of the Standards both to assess where the library is now and to establish goals and objectives.

Strategic Planning in Smaller Nonprofit Organizations
"This short guide is designed to help board members and the staff of smaller nonprofit organizations develop strategic plans that can help them strengthen and sustain their organization's achievements." An excellent guide to planning that is practical. It suggests an eleven step process and includes questions to ask and exercises to do at each step. One important feature is its description of how to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis and, even more importantly, how to use it in planning.

Lessons Learned: A Planning Toolsite
This site, provided by the National Arts Endowment, contains a variety of good articles on the planning and budgeting process. They are, of course, oriented to planning in the arts, but most articles and the insights contained in them apply to any context. Be sure to notice the articles on facilitation of meetings.

The Planning Cycle: A Planning Process for Middle-Sized Projects
Oriented toward project planning and looked at within a broad context of management tools. The evaluation tools suggested are more elaborate than libraries generally use, but definitely worth browsing. From Mind Tools, a fascinating site to explore; its purpose used to be described as "helping you to think your way to an excellent life." Now it's defined more prosaically as "Mind Tools mission is to help you understand the essential skills and techniques that will help you to excel in your career, whatever your profession."

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Resources on Specific Planning Topics

Public Library Space Needs: A Planning Outline
The document developed by Anders Dahlgren when he was a consultant at the Division that is the standard guide to evaluating and planning for your space needs. "This outline defines six broad types of library space-collection space, reader seating space, staff work space, meeting space, special use space, and nonassignable space (including mechanical space). It suggests how library goals relating to each of these areas can be projected to meet future needs and provides a way to translate resulting service assumptions into space needs."

Disaster Planning for Libraries and Archives: Understanding the Essential Issues
A disaster plan is a document which describes the procedures devised to prevent and prepare for disasters, and those proposed to respond to and recover from disasters when they occur. This paper, last updated in 1998, concentrates on the management aspects of disaster planning. For more resources on this topic, see Disaster Planning.

Library Technology Planning
From Bob Bocher at DLTCL. "Computing and networking technologies, in all their various forms, are becoming an integral part of almost all library services. To help make certain these technologies are used in an efficient and cost effective manner, libraries should develop a technology plan. Ideally, any technology plan will be part of a broader long-range plan encompassing all library services. This page is designed to provide basic information on the planning process and assist actual development of the plan.

Developing Effective Technology Plans
This brief article is incomplete and directed toward school libraries, but makes several excellent points to remember in planning. For 'curriculum' just substitute 'library services'.

What are the Individual Roles in the Planning Process?
Why is it important to involve people in the planning process? Who should be included? This is part of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management's FAQ on Strategic Planning that has more information you may want to browse, including the useful comments on mission statements and vision statements.

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Public Library Mission Statements
From the Mid-Hudson Library System, including mission statements from MHLS and from other libraries.

Appleton Public Library Long Range Plan, 2005-07
Municipal Population: c. 75,000

Multnomah County (OR) Library Strategic Plan
Note especially the presentation of this plan.

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