With the official adoption of a three-year strategic plan, new beginnings are in sight for the Missouri River Regional Library and its Osage County library branch.
The library's 14-member executive board voted Tuesday to adopt a new strategic plan that works toward evaluating community relevance, focusing on citizen participation and addressing financial limitations.
The board said the three major challenges stemmed from community feedback, staff suggestions and strategic planning sessions with board members.
The MRRL strategic planning process began in early 2016, when they began hosting community conversation events, distributing surveys to community members and staff. That led to a January board retreat, where the core issues were identified based on feedback collected along the way.
Starting in the rest of this year through 2020, the library plans to:
Establish the library as an integral community resource by strengthening relationships with users and non-library users, building relationships with community partners and promoting the value of library services.
Expand library facilities and services in Osage and Cole counties, emphasizing the Osage branch has not been forgotten in the plan.
Find resources to fund current and future needs by identifying areas of unmet need, developing private funding support and locating new public funding sources.
"I like that we started from the ground up with this project," MRRL Foundation liaison Debbie Rowles said. "By hosting community conversations, gathering input from staff members and working together to examine where we want to take our library. This should be the process every time we do a strategic plan."
When the process began, the MRRL executive board set sights on implementing a new strategic plan to improve overall functionality and outreach.
Since then, the plan has evolved much more.
Kit Freudenberg, strategic plan consultant, calls the plan a road map for the staff that will be an integral part of their work plan for the years to come.
"I hope that, in a year, when you look at one of these strategies you have made updates and revisions, " Freudenberg said. "Please think of this as a very fluid tool to help the library move forward toward meeting those goals."
Board President Stu Murphy called it a blueprint for implementation for the good of the organization.
The board would oversee it, but ultimately the staff will be responsible for accomplishing the goals under the board's guidance and leadership, he explained.
"This process has been long and deliberative. The process is a big piece of the product," Murphy said.
Board member Adam Veile said when looking at finances, the board should consider increasing the library's overall marketing budget.
"You can kind of achieve your goals with talent and time, but sometimes you need some money behind it," Veile said.
MRRL Director Claudia Schoonover agreed, noting this is something the library could address in the near future. Overall, Schoonover said she was proud of the end product.
"We did this together, and I appreciate everyone's engagement — including the community — in this process," Schoonover said.