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Prendergast Library Staff Introduces Strategic Plan

The James Prendergast Library will continue empowering lifelong learning for the residents of the city of Jamestown through its next strategic plan.

On Thursday, the library staff held a public online meeting to discuss the 2021-24 strategic plan. Annie Greene, library executive director, said no member of the public spoke during the virtual presentation of the plan, which will be voted on later this month by the library’s board of trustees.

“Having a strategic plan is good practice to guide an organization,” she said. “It is a healthy way to run an organization. As the library moves forward with the strategic plan, we will evaluate the plan yearly with surveys and hopefully public forums for public input. This will allow us to make changes or invest more in certain areas as needed.”

Greene said the library started the 2021-24 strategic plan process last December by providing the community the opportunity to fill out a survey and provide feedback on the library’s mission; community awareness and engagement; library’s collection; and programs and services. She said library officials received 165 completed surveys.

Greene said the library didn’t have to hire a consultant this time to complete the strategic plan. She said Dr. Amanda Lake, a consultant with Lakeside Leadership, volunteered via Catchafire, which is a New York-based organization that makes connections between professional volunteers and nonprofits.

“We did (the strategic plan) on our own this year with a volunteer from Catchafire, Dr. Amanda Lake,” Greene said. “She assisted us with formulating our plan.”

The library’s strategic plan includes its values, which is equity; community; creativity; sustainability; and collaboration. Greene said a review of the library’s values is important as they are the guiding principles that will lead the library to focus on the goals and approaches that they chose in their strategic plan.

“Not only does the library as an institution align with these values, but our working culture is also aligned with our values,” she said. “These are not just words printed on paper for show, this plan is the DNA of what our staff believe, and our positive working culture practices as a team, and this is what will allow us to achieve these goals.”

The plan includes three strategic focuses — the library’s mission, increase community engagement and awareness and a sustainable future.

“Every library needs a long-range plan as a formal document to provide information about the community and library to use in decision-making; clarify for board, staff and community the role of the library in the community; evaluate the usefulness and quality of specific services and activities; assist in preparing for change (dropping old services or adding new ones); establish priorities for the allocation of resources; and document the need for sustainable funding,” Greene said.

The library board is slated to approve the strategic plan at its next meeting 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

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