Over the coming weeks I will be discussing library planning. This post is an introduction to planning at the Williamsburg Regional Library.

The Williamsburg Regional Library has, since 2000, gone through two strategic planning processes. The current plan adopted by the Board of Trustees at its November 30, 2005 meeting covers the years 2006 – 2010.

Planning is important to any organization. Without planning, programs and services are based upon what has always been done, the whim of the moment, what is desired by someone with power within the organization, or by the individual or group with the loudest voice, or any number of other reasons. There is no effective evaluation of either programs or services because there is no agreed upon basis for such an evaluation.

As an organization owing its existence to local governmental entities and supported by tax funding provided by the citizens it serves, the Williamsburg Regional Library has a fiduciary responsibility as well as an ethical obligation to provide programs and services based upon sound planning that reflects the needs and desires of the community it serves.

Planning involves many steps. Included are the gathering of information on the community being served, input from those being served (community residents) as well as those providing the service (library staff) and the development of statements which delineate the library’s purpose (mission) and role within the community.

All successful planning is based upon a set of assumptions. This set of assumptions serves as the core upon which the framework of the plan rests.

It is important that the institution have a vision that can be clearly enunciated. It also needs a set of values that can be used to measure any activity or service provided or proposed for provision.

Once the above items are in place, a successful plan will indicate where the institution is going during the time period of the plan. Some plans will be goal orientated with detailed specificity as to what is desired to be accomplished. The approach adopted by the Williamsburg Regional Library is to provide strategic directions for programs and services with underlying expectations as to how these directions will be accomplished.

So long for now!