STRATEGIC DIRECTION #1: Introduce the Community to Itself
Participants in the Community Visioning Workshop (CVW) held at SourcePoint (formerly known as the Council for Older Adults) on Saturday, March 3, 2012 lamented that there is no sense of “identity” to Delaware County. While there is some debate about whether such a sense of identity is necessary or desirable—perhaps residents are more happy identifying with “Powell,” “Ostrander,” “Radnor,” etc.—the Library, as an impartial organization dedicated to serving all these areas may be in a good position to help the community learn about itself and its different facets.
Strategic initiative: To help introduce the community to itself, the Library should take the lead in serving as the local intellectual capital aggregator in areas such as collecting, digitizing, and organizing the intellectual output of the people and businesses of Delaware County, in print and in other media. The Library is uniquely positioned to function as the capital aggregator because of our inherent interest in local history and information, as well as a being a trusted and neutral institution in the community.
In addition, helping to introduce the community to itself affords the Library fertile opportunities for high-profile, productive and mutually satisfying partnerships that will reinforce our relevancy and good standing in Delaware County and develop supportive partners.
Strategic initiative: In partnership with existing organizations, the Library can help to strengthen Delaware County’s identity, further helping to introduce the community to itself. Again, the Library has a tactical position because of its reputation as a clearinghouse for information of all people. To help strengthen the community’s identity, the Library should continue to develop partnerships with agencies and organizations to improve community communications. In doing so, the Library furthers its vital and integral position in Delaware County, as well as highlighting its relevancy and its role as a community gathering place.
Strategic Initiative: Participants in the workshop identified the county’s diversity—economic, social, ethnic, and geographical—as both a strength and a weakness in our community. The Library, in partnership with other organizations and agencies, should help to build awareness and appreciation of Delaware County diversity to aid in the introduction of the community to itself.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #2: Support Improved Community Efficiency
The participants of the workshop discussed the duplication of services in our community and the apparent paucity of countywide services. They also noted the need for better safety nets in our community for those less fortunate, connecting services currently available with those who need them. The participants bemoaned the fact that it appeared that organizations were not as aware as they should be on the impact that their services have (or do not have) on other organizations, including the coordination of various government and community organizations in terms of future planning. Taxes and the sustainability of current levels of taxation were also topics of discussion.
Strategic Initiative: By embedding Library staff in community organizations and agencies, the Library can gather critical information and determine overlapping, redundant and unique services. The Library has an excellent reference staff who have knowledge of the Library’s strong collections, as well as authoritative Internet resources. Using these strengths, Library staff can provide information to keep community members informed of existing services, potentially offer direction to minimize overlap and duplication, and be instrumental in developing services that are needed but unmet.
Strategic Initiative: The participants at the CVW seemed to embrace the opportunity to discuss the challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses of Delaware, and several of them asked if we would continue with meetings of this type. While the CVW was clearly focused on the Library’s strategic planning, the Library could assume the role, with collaboration from other agencies and organizations, as the convener of community conversations, given that our facilities dot the county and can accommodate community gatherings. Again, the Library’s neutrality is an asset in this initiative.
Strategic Initiative: Because the overarching goal of strategic planning is to secure voter support for the Library’s next levy, it is critical for the Library to demonstrate its cost effectiveness and good stewardship of public dollars, particularly in fulfilling the promises made during the last campaign.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION #3: Support the Local Economy
At the CVW, participants noted that there were poverty and employment issues with our community. While Delaware County is faring significantly better than many other Ohio counties, there is still a lack of local jobs and the workforce often commutes out of the county for employment.
Strategic initiative: The Library should take the lead in helping entrepreneurs and small business owners, with resources such as databases, physical space, wireless access, fax machines, Internet access, print collection, and extremely knowledgeable librarians.
Strategic Initiative: By partnering with businesses and organizations, the Library can be a proactive force in aiding and promoting the economy of the community through collaborative training opportunities.