Week 5 Strategic Planning

21st Century Library Strategic Planning and Mission

21st Century Library Strategic Management

Fairholm M.R. (2009) Leadership and Organisational Strategy. Innovation Journal 14(1) 1-16

Mott, L. (2008) Planning strategically and strategically planning. ‘Bottom Line’: Managing Library Finances. 21(1), 20-23

Stephen, E. (2010) ‘Strategic Planning on the fast track.’ Library and Management 24(4) 189-198

It is clear that mission and vision are essential components to strategic planning. Plans must be fluid and reflect the culture of the library at stake. One must take into consideration the clients and move with the tide and not against it. Whether a plan is formal or not, the client, the staff and the managers must be included in the process of strategic planning and it must be an inclusive process where communication is key and the community that we serve at large is taken into consideration.

Dr Stephen Matthews in his blog, ‘21st Century Library Strategic Planning Overview’ reviews strategic planning. He says that is a process and totally dependent on the needs of the library and community. So he asks, why do we develop strategic plans? Well his answer reflects others as it requires one to take into consideration the changes in our environment and to establish goals that will complement and be flexible in view of the challenges we may face.

He reiterates these key components in remembering that a Strategic Plan:
• is proactive to prevent being reactive,
• creates the right balance between what the organization is capable of vs. what the organization desires to do,
• addresses major issues, both internal and external factors, at a macro level,
• manages change within the library,
• prevents excessive inward-focused and short-term thinking,
• communicates a common vision for the library,
• establishes priorities that accomplish the library’s mission,
• helps to better focus activities and resources on the mission, and
• guides decision making at all levels – operational, tactical, and individual.

But why all this hoopla, we ask? Well a strategic plan gives you direction to achieve your vision of what you want your library to be, instead of wadding in the shallow end of the pool. A strategic plan is multi-faceted, it encompasses what you want your library to BE, DO and BECOME!

Dr Stephen Matthews in his blog on management states the next question should be HOW do you implement strategic planning in libraries. One must take into account that external and internal environments have changed. The mission, objectives, goals and actions must be consistant with the market and context. ‘There is nothing more wasteful then becoming highly efficient at doing the wrong thing’. (Drucker) 21st Century Libraries must provide for the information nedds of 21st Century customers. This can only be accomplished through strategic management of its goals

Fairholm illustrates in his article that organisational effectiveness can only reflected if we are to focus on both quantitative measures of success actions that are intrinsically linked to eachother  to realise fundamental goals and the qualitative measures essential in the organisation’s sense of values, resolutions, vision and meaning. Fairholm argues that strategic thinking and leadership takes place fundamentally at the qualitative measure and than drives forth to connect the organisational depth to a body that is reconstructed to fit together by organisational managers and planners. One must recognise the different perspectives of strategies in order to fulfil managing resources and delivering services. Fairholm concludes that it is of the highest precendence that government managers must see their profession as evolving to dealing with the strategic construction of community


Mott’s  paper aims to argue that when managing strategically it is important to consider how to get one’s priorities onto the institution’s agenda. Design/methodology/approach  is key steps for managing strategically. The author  discusses and gives examples to illustrate why and how one would get an issue onto an institution’s agenda.  The author’s findings  suggests that, in advancing the library’s issues, it is helpful to determine methods of getting on the governing body’s agenda. The practical implications provides concepts to be considered when a manager attempts to move a library’s priorities forward. Original/value is paramount to decision-making and managing with power.  The author hope that this article will motivate librarians to think strategically when working to advance their library’s interests. The key word here are library management and professional development. I find that it is including the stakeholders for organisational culture and to achieve a strategic plan and the elements of communication, values and ethics must be involved in the process.


Elizabeth Stephens goes into detail about strategic planning and how libraries develop plans sometimes when there is no real literature out there as a blueprint. I’m just adding Bryson’s model as I believe it offers a template for future librarians like myself, even if some people may think it is slightly out of date.

Bryson’s “Strategic Change Cycle” has been used by numerous academic libraries and the documented use of the Bryson’s model is one reason it was selected. The Bryson Model is based on the Strategy Change Cycle:

  •                  Initiate and agree on a strategic process.
  •                  Identify organizational mandates.
  •                  Clarify organizational mission and values.
  •                  Assess the external and internal environments
  • to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
  • and threats.
  •                  Identify the strategic issues facing the organization.
  •                  Formulate strategies to manage these issues.
  •                  Review and adopt the strategies and strategic plan.
  •                  Establish an effective organizational vision.
  •                  Develop an effective implementation process.
  •                  Reassess the strategies and the strategic planning
  • process

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s