Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Ottumwa Public Library Approves New Strategic Plan

January 10, 2023

Contact: Sonja Ferrell

PH: 641-682-7563 

sferrell@ottumwapubliclibrary.org

 The Ottumwa Public Library is excited to announce that it is working to achieve the objectives outlined in a recent strategic plan approved by the Library Board of Trustees.  With this new strategic plan the library will help define what ways the library expands and updates their collections and services to the Ottumwa community through 2024.

“We are happy to have a plan on paper for our immediate future,” Director Sonja Ferrell said.  “It is both a road map for the next couple of years as well as a sort of to do list for our staff as we brainstorm how to best meet the needs here in Ottumwa.”

The new strategic plan was approved by the Library Board of Trustees in October, 2022 but the process for the plan was a year in the making. 

The Ottumwa Public Library prepared this strategic plan through the assistance and oversight of the State Library of Iowa and their District Consultant, Becky Heil.  The Board took a different approach from the Strategic Plan approved in 2017 both because they had done it that way already and also because the community was still finding a new normal after the COVID 19 pandemic.  

For this strategic plan the board utilized Heil’s experience with various strategic processes and took a two pronged approach. They had a space utilization report compiled and had Heil do 15 stakeholder phone interviews about the Ottumwa community and the Ottumwa Public Library’s role in it. 

To complete the Space Utilization Report the library applied for and received a $3000 grant from the State Library of Iowa for that purpose. They then hired Shana Stuart, PhD of Stuart Consulting and she compiled and shared a report with the board. An overview of this report is included in the strategic plan.

Becky Heil then conducted approximately 15 interviews by telephone with stakeholder suggestions from the library staff and Board of Trustees.  She presented the results of these conversations to the Board and those were used to formulate the goals of the strategic plan. 

In June, 2022 Heil met with the Board of Trustees to develop and brainstorm 7 goals and a review of the library’s mission and vision statements.   From those 7 goals the staff at the library then met and broke the goals down into 38 objectives for the library to accomplish in this newest strategic plan.  At the September 12, 2022 Board of Trustees meeting, the Director shared a draft strategic plan and at the October 10, 2022 meeting it was approved.

“We have already achieved some of the objectives listed such as focusing on teen programs like our subscription bags and an afterschool computer lab, for seniors with our addition of the Coffee and Conversations events, and adding partnerships new groups in the community.   We have put together a plan to achieve the rest of the objectives too,” Ferrell said.

The plan is attached and includes 7 main goals with objectives under each goal.  The focus is on teens, lifelong learners, educating on housing issues, community inclusion, the library facility, mental health resources awareness, and opportunities for the underserved.

This strategic plan is for 2022-2024.

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