Mission, Vision, and Goals
The Decatur Public Library is here to strengthen our community educationally, economically, and culturally through its vast resources.
In January 2023, the Decatur Public Library engaged Library Strategies to help facilitate a strategic planning process. Library Strategies, working with the Decatur Public Library’s leadership and strategic planning Committee, developed a multi-pronged approach to assessing the current state of the Library and gathering community and stakeholder input on its future.
The process started with multiple meetings with staff and board leaders and working with the planning committee. From this the lead consultant reviewed both Library data and trends, as well as relevant community demographics, primarily from new census data. The consultants also conducted a tour of Library facilities, and assessments of current Library services and resources.
The process continued with gathering community input and additional input from key constituencies. The primary processes conducted in this phase included:
• An online, largely qualitative staff survey sent to all staff
• An in-person SWOC (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Challenges) session with select staff
• An online community survey, which garnered an excellent response rate with over 460 total participants. Hard copy surveys were also offered in Library facilities.
• A series of community interviews with local leaders
• A community retreat on March 4, 2023, representing the broad population of the Library’s service area.
Summaries, reports, or notes on all these processes were provided to staff leadership. Many of these steps provided insights into specific community wants and needs, that while not necessarily strategic, offered rich possibilities for the Library’s operations.
Following the input/gathering steps, the consultants drafted an initial strategic plan. Subsequently, the plan underwent numerous revisions following input with the director and staff leadership, Library Board, and strategic planning committee. Ultimately, the Library Board reviewed and approved this plan, which outlines the major goals, directions, and strategies for the Decatur Public Library’s next three years. Following approval of the plan, Library Strategies also worked with Library staff to develop an internal workplan, designed to move the Library to specific tasks and outcomes in achieving the plan’s goals.
GOALS & STRATEGIES
Visibility & Outreach: Engage the community by raising awareness and increasing access of the library’s offerings
• Explore the feasibility and effectiveness of providing outreach services to residents, especially those facing barriers
• Market digital resources and collections as outreach services
• Develop a mission statement that is short, memorable, and captures the aspirations of the library to serve all of
• Develop a marketing plan to communicate and engage with the greater Decatur Community
Programming & Partnerships: Strengthen and expand partnerships to increase programming that targets Decatur’s social and educational challenges and highlights the city’s strength
• Expand early-literacy efforts that encourage family engagement, school-readiness, social skills, and emotional skills,
especially for those facing barriers to literacy
• Increase the number and variety of programs geared towards teens
• Increase accessibility to programs and spaces, especially to those programs that address topics such as aging and
• Deliver more programming through the library’s exterior green spaces
Resources & Services: Expand resources and implement services that remove barriers and ensure all members of the community have access to the tools they need to succeed and thrive
• Continue to acquire and implement self-service technology that increases ease-of-use and improves customer service.
• Focus customer service on removing barriers to technology and collections
• Develop an approach to collection development that sets goals for growth and change according to user demand
Customer Service & Staffing: Continue to streamline internal processes for greater efficiency and effectiveness, and build upon efforts that have led to improved customer service
• Review effective organizational structures and practices of other libraries for possible implementation
• Create an organization-wide onboarding process that is assessed periodically and will ensure all staff are similarly trained when hired
• Each year, create a calendar of training that is scaffolded and perceived by staff as relevant to their jobs
• Continue to improve upon DPL’s reputation as a place that is welcoming to all
• Build upon the benefits of the on-site social worker by analyzing how the services are being used and what changes might make them even more accessible to patrons and staff
Facilities & Grounds: Establish Decatur Public Library as an attractive and welcoming destination in the community
• Assess previous facility and layout plans in light of current usage patterns and changing service model
• Create an atmosphere at the entryway that ensures every member of the community immediately feels welcomed
• Replace all library spaces with furniture, furnishings, and decorations for a more appealing, modern space