ALCTS Strategic and Tactical Plan: "So, how can I get my hands on the current version of the Plan?"

Laura Sill, Chair, Planning Committee

Fewer than two years after the Washington D.C. meetings, and just five years after the development of the Draft 1 of the ALCTS Strategic Plan in1998, momentum continues for integrated planning using the ALCTS Strategic and Tactical Plan. The Planning Committee considers one of its responsibilities to be the ongoing education of all leaders of ALCTS in the planning process, and advocating the use of effective mechanisms for articulating and managing the plan. To this end, at the 2003 Midwinter meeting, an opportunity for hands-on work with the plan was made available to division-level committee chairs and section chairs during a Friday afternoon joint meeting of the Planning Committee and these leaders. Friday afternoon 3-5 p.m. of Midwinter 2004 is already set aside by the Planning Committee to hold yet another planning session -- incoming chairs: mark your calendars!

The Midwinter Meeting 2003 also marked the introduction of a new tool for managing the Plan -- the Strategic and Tactical Planning Database. With the availability of the new database tool, the days of maintaining the Plan through a myriad of word processing and spreadsheet documents are over. No longer is it necessary to hunt down 'the latest version of the Plan', since the latest version of the Plan is what exists online within the Planning section of the ALCTS web site.

Searching and viewing the currently 174 records within the Plan is open to anyone. The database records comprise the heart of the Strategic and Tactical Plan database, which also includes an interactive Strategic Plan.

With a single click of the "browse" button located at the top of the database's user interface, a list displays all past, current and future tactical initiatives identified by various ALCTS units, for viewing as a group or individually. Each database record represents an individual tactical initiative. Detailed information about an initiative includes a description of the selected initiative and the goal and objective of the Strategic Plan with which the tactical initiative is associated. Additionally, ALCTS units of responsibility, activity type, status, anticipated resources, associated budget and completion date information are also included. Another helpful feature of the database is the "search" button, which allows the user to narrow the retrieval of records through a combination of search keys and Boolean operators.

The mySQL database with PHP front-end was developed by William Sill, Senior Technical Support Consultant/Analyst at the University Libraries of Notre Dame, with the transfer and subsequent development of the database made possible through the efforts of Kirsten Ahlen of the ALCTS Office and Jack Briody of the ALA Information Technology & Telecommunication Services (ITTS). Two years ago the Planning Committee stated "the process of strategic planning is as important as the Strategic Plan that results from that process." The Committee further suggested that "the 'care and feeding' of the ALCTS Tactical Plan needs to be the responsibility of the ALCTS office, that the document should be web-accessible, (preferably) with RDB software running underneath it, and that it should be capable of being served up in various views: by committee, by date, etc." We are very pleased that these goals have now become a reality.

The 2002-2003 ALCTS Planning Committee invites you to explore the Strategic & Tactical Planning database and to watch the ALCTS Newsletter Online for more updates about both the plan and the planning process. Based on the recent Midwinter meetings in Philadelphia, the committee has identified three areas of concentration for the remainder of the term: updating the content of the Plan, devising a formal process for updating the plan (in anticipation of transferring content maintenance to the ALCTS office), and ongoing training and communication about the plan, and its role in meeting the goals, mission and vision of our division of ALA.

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