The Plan

In Theological Librarianship class this week we read about a Strategic Plan. Here are some brief thoughts on that.

Purpose. Goals. Mission. Policy. Budget. Collection. Technology. Teaching. Hiring. Job descriptions. Staff development. Administration. Faculty. Peers. Collaboration. Accreditation. Assessment. Research. Past. Present. Future.

These are the pieces of the strategic plan of a library. It defines the purpose, envisions the future, and fleshes out the facets of the purpose within the vision. It is bigger than the to-do list of projects, it selects and defines the projects. It flexes as the future becomes the present, never quite being exactly what was planned, but moving with the reality.

Of course the above is idealistic. The reality is not nearly as lofty or poetic. As Project 2000 illustrates, attempting to predict the future needs placed on theological libraries, and planning ways to meet those needs, is a difficult business, and it must be done with intentionality, purpose, and flexibility. Stewart’s experience of top down planning, and Wood’s experience of bottom up planning, makes me wonder why you can’t have both. Librarians know best how the library is used and what the trends in that world are. Administration sets the overall institutional goals that the library needs to support. Both perspectives are needed when developing a strategic plan.

But not only do administration and librarians need a say in this plan, there are also faculty and students. These are the constituents the library exists to serve. To serve them, we need to know what they need. This requires collaboration with faculty, and assessment of student needs and uses of the library.

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