During the initial class meetings the students reviewed the Guelph Public Library Strategy Plan 2015-2017. Examining the plan gave the students a perspective on the plans and aspirations of the Library. It identified what the Library thinks is important.
Students were asked to identify what they liked about the plan, what was missing, and what was problematic or of concern. Selected comments are quoted and paraphrased below. Opinions differed about the strengths and weaknesses.
– the format and layout of the report wasn’t very appealing; didn’t grab their attention or imagination (“dry”, “boring”). “Has all necessary information but lacks a Wow factor.”
– more a business plan (“sales pitch”) than a strategy plan; lots of incremental projects but lacks many “visionary” items or longer term goals. Where, for example, was any talk or mention of the new downtown library?
– the “customers” in Customers First (the title of the strategic plan) received a lot of negative feedback; should be “community first” or “people first.” The “customer” language made the Library sound like a business transaction.
– targeting 20-35 year old demographic was seen as very astute; bring this group back into active library use. However, short on details about how this would happen. “The choice to segment the libraries’ users was clever, and would aid in targeting certain demographics in order to better serve them.”
– “community services department showed vision, new way of engaging the community.”
– the ROI data (i.e. a $5.42 return for every $1 spent) dramatically and clearly showed value to community.
– “they want to use this library as a community center (e.g. events, celebrations…) If so, they should just expand it into a community center with a swimming pool and other exercise equipment.”
– “a lot of this is what we’re going to do not enough this is why/how we’re going to do it”
– “transitioning the bookmobile service into a community outreach service so that the needs of seniors and others are met, allowing people who cannot go to the library still be able to access its resources.”
– “an amazing job of giving relevant statistics that could be used to give a strong argument for building the library; all stats come with a description of why they are important and relevant.”
– “the text should have included less incremental changes and specify the library’s overall vision, while prioritizing how they plan on reinventing themselves to better serve in the 21st century (i.e. less about its resources and more about connecting the community)”