Step-by-step guidance on strategic planning for academic libraries

For Immediate Release
Mon, 06/03/2019


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — No doubt about it: strategic planning is a serious commitment. But when carried out skillfully, thoughtfully, and with sensitivity to the impacts on all those involved, it’s an undertaking that can pay large dividends for the library and its users. A strong strategic plan gives shape and clarity to the library’s intentions and, when carefully written, can make a powerful case for the library’s indispensability to its sponsoring institution. Written by Gregory C. Thompson, Harish Maringanti, Rick Anderson, Catherine B. Soehner, and Alberta Comer with library deans, directors, and university librarians in mind, “Strategic Planning for Academic Libraries: A Step-by-Step Guide,” published by ALA Editions:

  • outlines a step-by-step method that helps readers prepare for a successful strategic planning process, create and implement a strategic plan, and assess the effectiveness of both the process and the resulting plan;
  • discusses the differences between scenario planning and strategic planning, with pointers on determining which would be best in a given organization;
  • offers expert advice for communicating a strategic plan clearly and compellingly to the library’s many stakeholders at every stage of the process;
  • shares ways to bring library staff as well as users into the planning process;
  • teaches how to use surveys and focus groups to inform strategic planning, complete with sample survey questions and a consent cover letter;
  • addresses whether and how to hire consultants;
  • concludes with a summary of the essential elements of a successful planning process, ideal for quick reference; and
  • includes an appendix with numerous useful templates, from an Executive Council Strategic Planning Retreat Agenda to a Final Report.

Thompson is Associate Dean of the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library for Special Collections; he is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of History. He has published several monographs. Maringanti is Associate Dean for IT and Digital Library Services at the J. Willard Marriott Library. He is the lead Principal Investigator on an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant. He has also received grants from the Office of Vice President for Research at the University of Utah. Anderson is associate dean for collections and scholarly communication in the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. He serves on numerous editorial and advisory boards. His books include “Buying and Contracting for Resources and Services” and “Libraries, Leadership, and Scholarly Communication: Essays by Rick Anderson.” Soehner is the Associate Dean for Research and User Services at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. Her recent publications include co-authoring the book “Effective Difficult Conversations: A Step-by-Step Guide.” Comer is Dean and University Librarian at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah and has served as an officer on the Salt Lake City Public Library’s Board of Trustees. She is co-Principal Investigator on a Mellon Foundation grant. She has served as editor of Indiana Libraries as well as editor of Cognotes, the daily paper of the American Library Association Conference.

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