Strategic Planning

Stueart and Moran (as cited in Woolls) write that strategic planning is what enables libraries to organize and to carry out major decisions and to measure the results of these decisions. Basically , no matter what you do in the library, you need to have a plan. This could include a plan for weeding the library (by sections, by date, by fiction, etc) to long term plans and many others.

It includes: the mission statement, policy statement, needs assessment and objectives.

1. Mission Statement
A mission statement states the purpose of an organization and puts it into objectives and plans. (Bundy, 2008). It is a view to what the library's future should look like. According to Zmuda and Harada (2008), there are three characteristics of a library media center's mission statement:
  1. It focuses on program resouces that can be used to support student learning
  2. It should be a brief statement
  3. It shoud be created collaboratively by administration and faculty

Workforms from the School Library Media Center Planning Guide WORKFORM 5-1.pdf, WORKFORM 5-1.pdf

2. Policy Statement
"The school library resource centre policy is a course of action that provides the basis for planning and action and should be reviewed annually to ensure that it reflects current pedagogical practices and changing needs" (Tarlinton, 2001). Essentially it describes the library services.

There are many items that need to be considered when creating a policy statement. The hard part is determining what to include. What's important? What's not? Tierney and Whitney (as cited in Tarlinton) have a list of questions to ask yourself before creating your policy statement.
  • What is the purpose of the school? This can give a guide to the library policy
  • What is the purpose of the library resource center?
  • Who are the patrons of the library? (includes all stakeholders; students, teachers, staff, parents)
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of those involved? (job descriptions of teacher librarian, library clerk, volunteer helpers, etc)
  • What do you want the library to accomplish? (IT skills, literacy, teacher support, collection)
  • How will you know the library is meeting its purpose?
  • How will you monitor performance? (data?)
  • Are there any priorities for the library this year?
  • How will resources be allocated? (library funds, learning resource funds, grants)

3. Needs assessment
A needs assessment is the assessment of the school library media center in terms of situation and service. This is done by teacher-librarian, personnel in the library and committee members. The question to be asking is "Where are we now?". In order for an assessment to be completed, elements of the program need to be determined. The American Library Association (as cited in Markusen et al,75) group these elements into three categories.
Teaching and Learning
-Information Literacy skills
-Staff Development
Information Access and Delivery
-Curriculum based collection development
-technological access
-Intellectual Freedom
Program Administration
- staffing
- facility
- finances
-policies, procedures
A rubric from the School Library Media Center Planning Guide Essential elements Rubric.pdf

4. Objectives
Objectives are the steps needed to be completed in order to fulfill the media cnter's role in the new curriculum. (Woolls)

Sample objectives from the School Library Media Center Planning Guide SAMPLE GOALS.pdf

Bundy, A. (2008). How are Your library's mission and vision statements?. Austrailian Public Libraries (Aplis),

Markuson, Carolyn, Mary F. Zilonis, and Mary B. Fincke. (1999) "School Library Media Center." Long Range Planning Guide.

Tarlinton, Denise. (2001). "Policy Writing for Teacher-Librarians." School Library Association of Queensland Inc - About Us. .

Zmuda, Allison, and Violet Harada.(2008) Librarians as learning specialists meeting the learning imperative for the 21st century. Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited,