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Running head: STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018

Strategic Plan: Eastpark Public Library, 2016-2018

Megan Berg

Casey Graham

Chelsea Johnston

Sukalaya Kenworthy

Sarah Qronfleh

Jose Rodriguez

University of South Florida


STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 2

The Eastpark Public Library Strategic Plan, 2016-2018

Contents
Mission Statement .................................................................................................................................................................3
Introduction..............................................................................................................................................................................3
Summary of Survey Results......................................................................................................................................... 3-5
The Proposal........................................................................................................................................................................ 5-6
The Planning Process ..........................................................................................................................................................6
Marketing Plan ................................................................................................................................................................... 6-8
Strategic Goals and Objectives ............................................................................................................................... 8-10
Evaluation (S.W.O.T.) ................................................................................................................................................ 10-11
S.W.O.T. Analysis .................................................................................................................................................................11
Summary.......................................................................................................................................................................... 12-13
References ..............................................................................................................................................................................14
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 3

Mission Statement

“The Eastpark Public Library enriches the lives of patrons and the community through
information and knowledge. The Library provides quality services and resources in formats
that encourage creativity, curiosity, community involvement, and lifelong learning.”

Introduction

The Eastpark Public Library was built in 1998 and was the tenth of twelve libraries now in
the Westonville Public Library System. The Library currently employs a staff of thirty full-
time and eight part-time employees, including directors and managers. The total operating
budget for the year 2016 was $6,545,000. The Eastpark Public Library serves a diverse
community of 120,794 people. Existing services for patrons include library cards, Ask a
Librarian, a vast collection of print materials, research databases, children’s and teen’s
rooms, and interlibrary loans.

Libraries have always been about serving their communities. While our services have
varied, our end goals have never changed: to encourage learning, to provide an outlet for
academic research and/or creative energies, to preserve content, and to share collections.
To succeed with such vast and varied goals, libraries must constantly adopt new offerings
for patrons. We must also be aware of the delicate balance between what patrons need and
what resources the library can feasibly offer.

When the plan for the Library was proposed, it included land for a future expansion in
accordance with the needs of the community. In May 2016, the Eastpark Library’s Board of
Trustees and the Library’s Strategic Plan Committee (consisting of eight full-time and part-
time library employees) sent out a community survey to Eastpark City residents and
library cardholders asking them the following specific questions: 1) Which collections they
thought were useful, 2) what new resources and services the library should provide, 3) in
what format the Library should offer those resources, and 4) what priorities and directions
the Library should consider. The survey was available for patron response via Survey
Monkey, with paper copies available by mail by request.

The Library also hosted two public forums and three community open houses to ask for
inputs and suggestions from students (from elementary to college-level), business owners,
community leaders, educators, and library users of all ages, careers, nationalities, and
economic backgrounds. The Library Board members and the Library’s Strategic Plan
Committee met again in September 2016 to discuss the survey results and outline a three-
year plan for the Library.

Summary of Survey Results

We received 7,109 total responses to the survey. Some patrons also shared their thoughts
with us face-to-face at the library and in public forums. The ages of responders was split,
with the highest percentages being in the ranges of 18-24 years old (21%) and 55-64 years
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 4

old (38%). We also had a surprising number of respondents in the 12-17 years old range
(7%), perhaps due to the outreach help from our teen page program with the local high
schools.

Ages of Survey Respondents

5% 7%

21%

38%

6%

15%
8%

Ages 12-17 Ages 18-24 Ages 25-34 Ages 35-44 Ages 45-54 Ages 55-64 Ages 65+

83% of the respondents indicated the need for the Library to expand its digital collections
with the latest eBooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines, and journals. Some respondents
used the write-in comment box to request additional support of digital versions. 10%
wanted more copies of fiction eBooks, particularly popular new releases. 7% of
respondents requested some variation of the theme.

Some additional suggestions from the write-in comment boxes included “more eBooks
being offered through Overdrive,” “better instructions on how to utilize library services
through tablets and smartphones,” “use of programs like Photoshop and InDesign to help
me with school projects,” “more tools to create art and digital media and workshops that
teach these tools,” and “more innovative uses of technology to help teach us all the exciting
possibilities of our new digital age.”

Another key takeaway from the survey was the need for improvements to the Library as a
physical meeting space. A significant number of patrons (67%) asked the Library to
provide a safe, comfortable, and modern space to relax, think, learn, create, and share
digital content. They specifically mentioned 3-D printers and photo and sound editing
software tools such as Photoshop, InDesign, WavePad, Audacity, and GarageBand. The
respondents commented that these tools are useful, not only for personal and recreational
use, but for the success of their careers, businesses, and education. Along with the demand
for these tools, there is a growing need in the Eastpark City community for free classes and
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 5

workshops that share how to use these digital tools. Classes are in particularly high
demand in the evenings, on the weekends, and after school and regular work hours.

What Do the Survey Results Mean for Us?

This survey reaffirmed trends that we, as librarians and as consumers of modern culture,
have noticed for years. Digital resources offer the currency, flexibility, and reliability that
our patrons need. Giving patrons the resources they need—from actual research materials
to a physical space for all to enjoy —is crucial. When students need primary sources for
papers, they need it now. When patrons want to check out some eBooks for an upcoming
trip, they like the ability to pick and choose on their own device from the comfort of their
own home. When college students are preparing to graduate and enter the workforce, they
need strong computer skills and increasingly special skills like programming and graphic
design that are traditionally only gained from practicing on expensive and not easily
accessible software. As a library, every day we aim to partner with our patrons to help
them succeed. To do this, we must stay relevant. Today, staying relevant means going
digital. While Eastpark Public Library maintains and will maintain a robust print collection,
over the coming years we plan to expand our digital offerings to better align with our
patrons’ rapidly growing and changing needs.

The Proposal

It is time for us to transform our library to meet with the digital needs of our community by
offering up-to-date materials in a format and platform that is user-friendly and accessible
to our diverse group of patrons. The digitization of print materials will include books,
newspapers, journals, and magazines.

To offer a comfortable and imaginative space for patrons to explore, learn, think, and create
media to share—and to teach 21st century skills that can be practically used in one’s career,
education, and recreation—we would like to propose implementing a makerspace. The
construction of a makerspace at the Eastpark Public Library will mean that patrons will
have access to new outlets for hands-on creation, exploration, and education through the
use of technology. It will also align with the Library’s objectives to allow for self-directed
learning and promotion of innovation.

This plan includes an expansion of 5,000 square feet at a cost of 1.5 million dollars. This
cost includes scanning equipment to digitize print materials to enhance our digital
collections, costs for the physical expansion for the makerspace, and software and licenses
for the makerspace’s digital media tools (including 3-D Printers, Photoshop, InDesign,
WavePad, GarageBand, and other software to create art and digital media). We estimate the
expansion will take approximately two years, including finalizing blueprints.

We view these proposed changes and additions as natural progressions from traditional
library values of serving the community, fostering creativity, and promoting education
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beyond the classroom. They will secure the Library as a place for the evolution of thought.
We are excited for the opportunity to be the place for Eastpark City residents to check out a
recommended audiobook, learn how to use an iPad, meet up with a monthly book club, and
host a special high school’s engineering class on 3-D printing—all while remaining the
neighborhood’s trusted place for quiet, safe, reliable space.

The Planning Process

We plan to complete our objectives in two important ways:


1. By bringing Eastpark Public Library into line with the current industry trend—
and patron preference—of migrating materials from print to electronic. We will
increase the number and quality of materials available in our digital collections
in a number of ways.
a. We will migrate 15% of our current print collections (including books,
newspapers, magazines, and journals) to digital collections.
b. We will expand the existing digital and electronic collections and
databases by selecting and purchasing popular and in-demand titles.
c. We will increase promotional efforts for our current eBook program.
d. We will offer workshops that help teach patrons how to use digital
resources, both in person and online. These will include technology
tutorials to ensure that patrons know exactly how to access, customize,
and utilize library resources to fit their needs.

2. By creating a makerspace that will allow us to serve our community in a wealth


of new ways. Our makerspace will give us new tools to lend patrons to help them
succeed in their projects at work, school, and play. It will encourage creativity,
particularly for younger patrons who have grown up heavily tech-focused. We
will focus on a few select tools at first, possibly expanding based on patron
interest and budget allowance in the future.
a. We will purchase two 3-D printers.
b. We will purchase podcasting software, photo, video, and voice editing
tools/software that are easy to use and in demand. Initially, we plan to
offer Photoshop, InDesign, WavePad, Audacity, and GarageBand.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan encompasses a year-long strategy, broken up into three-month phases.
The plan includes details for the new makerspace, the digitization of some of our current
print materials, and the additions to our digital collections.
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Months 1-3

At this time, announcements for the expansion of the Library will go out to all
libraries in the Westonville Public Library System. Freebies and brochures will also
be available to patrons coming into the libraries. Brochures will include the
expected dates of the start and completion of construction, as well as details on
what will be included in the makerspace. There will also be a section with
information on the scanning process for the digitization of materials when the
construction is complete.

Additionally, during this phase, a banner or poster will be placed at the entrance of
Eastpark Public Library with a notification of the expected construction dates and
any operating hours or sections of the Library that will be affected due to the
expansion.

Months 4-6

Construction will be underway. People who frequent the Library are well aware of
the expansion and what it will bring, so the focus is now on the community, who
may only visit the Library from time to time.

Branch managers will reach out to community groups and organizations in order to
see what kind of advertising opportunities are available. For example, The
Westonville Gazette may run a story on the progress of the construction and what to
expect from the makerspace.

We will also create a blog that will feature construction pictures; details of what
machines, software, and equipment the Library will include in the makerspace;
information on the scanning equipment and how it will be used for digitization; and
other topics of interest to our patrons. The blog will be reachable by a link from the
accounts themselves or the library system home page. We will promote this blog
through the social media accounts of both the Eastpark Public Library and the
Westonville Public Library System.

Months 7-8

The actual construction will be complete but completing the electric, painting,
decorating, and the purchasing and positioning of makerspace services will be
ongoing during this period.

At this time, library card holders will get an email blast with a reminder that the
makerspace will be doing a soft opening soon. At local schools, staff members will
attend open houses and parent-teacher nights to promote the new makerspace and
offer details of the Library’s digitization project and enhanced digital collections.
Our website will also include a link to the database for the scanned print materials.
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 8

Months 9-12

Construction will be fully completed.

A soft opening will allow patrons to test the new 3-D printers and digital art tools.
We will create a press release to announce the grand opening of the makerspace and
the beginning of the process of scanning items for digitization. At this time,
promotion materials will be offered at schools, other library branches, and
community events. After the soft opening of the makerspace, we will also advertise
the addition of small classes to people who want to learn how to use the materials
on our website.

Strategic Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Meeting our patrons’ increasing and changing needs by expanding the Library’s
digital and electronic collections

1.1 Adjust digital offerings in order to better serve adult and senior patrons
a. Expand and increase eBook and audiobook offerings in Overdrive and Hoopla
Digital, including large-print copies, new, and best-selling titles that are in high
demand
b. Add Zinio to our digital collections for patrons to access new and popular
magazines by tablets and smartphones
c. Increase the maximum number of audiobooks and eBooks checkout to meet
with patrons’ changing needs and increased use of tablets, smartphones, and
digital devices

1.2 Adjust digital offerings in order to better serve young adults


a. Develop strategic partnerships with local schools and colleges to further
promote the Library’s existing and expanded digital collections
b. Conduct in-house sessions and outreach workshops at schools guiding teens
how to use the Library’s online services and databases
c. Provide additional homework help to after-school teens who visit the library in
the afternoon and evening by offering Brainfuse, an online service for homework
help
d. Promote EBSCOhost to students and tutors who visit the library to research
assignments and homework

1.3 Provide patrons with disabilities access to print collections by offering scanning
services from the Library’s print collection
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a. Purchase scanners such as COPIBOOK Cobalt HD to scan books, maps, and other
fragile documents
b. Train library staff on the scanning process, from cover to cover of the printed
materials
c. Establish new circulation procedures for digital scanning services such as
notifying patrons by email with links of the download digital file they requested
and sending the file in Word and PDF

1.4 Migrate print resources to electronic resources


a. Brainstorm and come up with a list of specific articles and journals that have
electronic versions and decide which print sources will be weeded and which
will be switched to electronic format
b. Follow similar procedures when ordering new eBooks and audiobooks
c. Evaluate a list of audiobooks and streaming DVDs vendors and check our
contracts with platforms, specifically OverDrive and Hoopla

Goal 2: Implementing a state-of-the-art makerspace to satisfy patron needs for a safe, modern
space to relax, think, create, and share digital content

2.1 Assess physical facilities in search of a creative and educational space that is
accessible and comfortable for patrons of all ages and abilities
a. Meet with the Library Board of Trustees and the Library’s Strategic Plan
Management committee to discuss the location and a strategic plan for the
makerspace
b. Explore furniture, computer, equipment, decoration, and lighting options for the
makerspace based on patrons’ needs from surveys, suggestions, and requests
c. Work closely with the Facility/Maintenance Manager and IT staff to build the
digital space in alignment with the plan

2.2 Explore options for purchasing 3-D printers; podcasting software; and photo, video,
and voice editing tools and software that are easy to use and in demand
a. Consult with IT specialists on purchasing 3-D printers and digital tools based on
the above criteria
b. Continue to work with software vendors by outlining prices and features
c. Develop a systematic plan to record budgets and expenses
d. Create online tutorials for patrons on the use of the 3-D printers

2.3 Provide classes and workshops that teach patrons digital and 21st–century skills
a. Continue to work with schools, colleges, and universities in Eastpark City to
promote library classes and workshops at the makerspace
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b. Consider hiring two new part-time library assistants with experience in


media/software instruction for the Program Services Department
c. Create and host STEM events for further teaching and learning with this new
technology
i. These events will also open the door to grants that will help us keep
providing these services to our community.
d. Offer ongoing training, workshops, and classes for the community, focusing on
hands-on experience, creativity, innovation, and practical use

Evaluation (S.W.O.T)

The Eastpark Public Library is planning to implement two major changes to their current
service offerings in the upcoming fiscal year. The first change will be to increase digital
offerings for patrons, including eBooks, magazines, journals, databases, and other
eResources, as well as reference services. The second change entails creating a makerspace
at the Library to offer Eastpark City new ways to use and learn about technology. Our plan
stems from the results of our recent community survey and the shifting views on what a
public library should be within its community.

In examining the first portion of the plan, the Committee anticipates several negative
effects that should be taken into consideration.

Our plan calls for increasing the Library’s digital collections and scaling back on the
physical collection. This will mean the Library will be “licensing” more books versus buying
and owning physical copies. In the future, as the licenses expire and need to be renewed,
this could mean the materials budget for digital content will need to be expanded. This will
be alleviated in part by the decrease in the physical materials budget, but eventually, there
might come a time where the Library will need to slow the digital expansion. The digital
content licensing system for libraries is still fairly new and evolving, so future changes
could work in the Library’s favor. Hoopla, for example, operates on a “pay per use” model,
and therefore, the Eastpark Library plans to promote this database heavily to patrons.
Despite OverDrive being the most used eBook platform, Hoopla has the potential to offer
more in the video, music, and audiobook collections.

The Committee also foresees the need for extensive staff training. Employees will need to
be able to navigate the database on several different platforms (computer, tablet, mobile
device), as well as be able to explain common functions to patrons. With some databases,
staff will also need to be able to troubleshoot various issues that might arise. This might
cause some initial pushback from staff, but in the long run, these services are benefiting our
patrons and it is our job to know how to navigate and promote them.

The second part of the plan is implementing a makerspace at the library. The Committee
has noted the following positive sections of the plan: plenty of space in the library to create
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the new space, a grant from the state that will help in part to pay for the technology needed,
and the ability to be the only organization in the Eastpark City community that will offer
these types of services for free.

The biggest drawback that the Committee foresees is hiring staff that is qualified to work
with the new types of technologies being offered. As it stands, the library does not employ
“Technology Trainers” or those in similar positions. The library will need to budget salaries
and develop job descriptions for dedicated staff to work in the makerspace. Other library
staff will also be trained, but expensive machines like 3-D printers require employees with
specific knowledge and skillsets.

Another issue that the Library will need to consider is the changing nature of the
technology industry. The Library is making a considerable investment in equipment and
software that, unlike other library services, are always being updated and reinvented. In
other words, what is new and cutting edge today might not be in as little as five years.
Maintaining the makerspace “collection” requires updating to the latest software and
buying new and improved machines. The Library should develop a budget and timetable to
plan for these changes in the long term.

S.W.O.T. Analysis

The Eastpark Public Library Evaluation Committee has identified the following strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats in relation to this strategic plan.

Strengths Opportunities
1. Wider variety of services and materials 1. Bring in new patrons who otherwise
available to patrons. wouldn’t use the library.
2. Secure the library’s place as a community 2. Being the only organization in the
space for creativity and education. community with these technologies
available.
3. Ability to create classes and programs 3. Smaller physical collection leads to
centered on the new services. increased space for meeting/study areas.
Weaknesses Threats
1. Increased cost to continually license items 1. Securing funds to adapt to technology
rather than buy and own. changes and improvements.
2. Unknown outcome of marketing strategy 2. Hiring and retaining qualified staff to
and campaign to promote new services. oversee new digital collections and
makerspace equipment within the budget.
3. Upfront time required to train library staff 3. Continual maintenance of makerspace
on new services, software and equipment. equipment and possible damage by patrons.
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 12

Summary

Through the results of a community survey, we found that many of our patrons were
seeking more digital resources and needed fewer resources in print. Patrons also asked for
a space where they could learn more about certain computer programs and have an area to
work on school projects. These findings correlated with the trends that many libraries
seem to be following. In a world of instant gratification, digital resources offer a quicker
source to be accessed—one of the many reasons for their appeal. Therefore, the plan is to
move forward offering more digital resources.

The Eastpark Public Library has proposed to offer more digital options to our patrons, in
addition to a creative and imaginative space for them to use for their creative and digital
needs. These changes will involve a physical expansion as well as the conversion of many
print materials to electronic materials. The proposed changes should take about two years
to complete and, upon completion, will include a plethora of new resources that will benefit
our patrons. Incorporating these changes will also help our library stay relevant within our
community and allow us to truly be what our patrons need.

Our planning process involves two important components: the shift from print to digital
collections and creation of a makerspace. It is important to note that we do not wish to
completely do away with print copies; rather, just make more of our copies available
digitally. The makerspace we will be creating will house two 3-D printers as well as many
software programs for our patrons to use (including Photoshop, InDesign, WavePad,
Audacity and GarageBand).

In order to promote these changes, we have laid out a plan for marketing to the community.
The plan is broken down into months, detailing what will happen during each period.
Within the first three months, we will begin sending announcements to the other libraries
in the Westonville Public Library System as well as distributing brochures to patrons
informing them about the changes to come. Banners and posters will also be displayed. The
next three months will involve the beginning of construction of the makerspace, and will be
an opportunity for us to market beyond our frequent patrons and get word out to the local
resources (such as newspapers) about what is happening so that we can reach a greater
audience. A blog will also be created during this time to facilitate the user-friendly mindset
that we are trying to achieve for our patrons, keeping them in the loop and allowing them
to remain informed of changes. During the next few months, we will wrap up the
construction phase and move into decoration and other last-minute preparations. We will
then send out information via social media, our website, and emails to let people know that
we will be open for business in our new makerspace, as well as new additions to our digital
collections. Months 9-12 will be when we begin a soft opening to allow patrons to start
using the 3-D printers. A press release will follow, with more promotion materials to come
to local schools and other library branches.

The expansion of the digital collections as well as the creation of our new makerspace is
bound to impact our current and future budgets. Although there are definite benefits to the
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 13

use of electronic copies, the licensing period for many items is annual and must be
renewed. The Committee also thinks that the staff will require more training, thus having
the potential for initial pushback. The Committee feels that the makerspace will have
mostly a positive impact on the library and the community; however, they are concerned
that the new technologies being offered will need a certain level of staff qualification that
usually requires a larger budget, and therefore those factors would need to be taken into
consideration. The final concern of the Committee is the fact that technology is ever-
changing and what is relevant today may not be so relevant in five years. We will need to
take the above factors into account for budgeting in the future.

Overall, the addition of the makerspace and enhancements to the Eastpark Public Library’s
digital collections will bring a great number of assets to our space and allow our patrons to
access a variety of resources, all in one place. Although budgeting and funding will require
consistent monitoring and consideration, these new changes will have a dynamic positive
impact on our community. We believe the end results will be worth it.
STRATEGIC PLAN, EASTPARK PUBLIC LIBRARY, 2016-2018 14

References

Cervone, F.H. (2014). Improving Strategic Planning by Adapting Agile Methods to the
Planning Process. Journal of Library Administration, 54(2), 155-168.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2014.903371

Kroski, E. (2013). A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources. Open Education


Database. Retrieved from http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/a-librarians-guide-to-
makerspaces/

Stueart, R. D., Moran, B. B., & Morner, C. J. (2013). Library and information center
management (8th ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited

Twait, M. (2007). If They Build It, They Will Come: A Student Designed Library. Journal of
Academic Librarianship, 33(1), 14–26.

Wells, S. (2001). To Plan, Perchance, To Think; Aye, There’s the Rub. Information Outlook,
5(9), 8-12.