WILLIAMSBURG REGIONAL LIBRARY
The Williamsburg Regional Library embarked on its second strategic planning process in November 2004. The planning committee closely reviewed the text of the first plan and considered the library’s experience with implementing it. The committee also studied new or updated information on the community and the library users we serve. The resulting plan for 2006-2010 features new vision statements and strategic directions that focus on excellence in all areas of library operations.
The greater Williamsburg area is experiencing significant growth, and the library expects that trend to shape our work over the next five years. Community growth makes it particularly important that we provide reliable vehicles for our Bookmobile services and explore options for a third library facility. In the midst of these efforts, the library will maintain and develop our tradition of excellence and innovation in service, collections, programming, facilities, and organizational culture. We will rise to these challenges by adapting organizational structures to meet changing library needs.
The Williamsburg Regional Library continues to benefit from the support of our funding jurisdictions and the loyalty of our users. Over the next five years, we look forward to expanding our role as a cherished community asset.
Michael J. Fox
Chair, Library Board of Trustees
John A. Moorman
The Williamsburg Regional Library’s strategic plan for 2006-2010 builds on the strengths of our plan for 2002-2005. Shaped by the March 2004 recommendations of a review committee and the work of a planning committee from November 2004 through October 2005, this plan features new vision statements and a significant reworking of the library’s strategic directions.
The development of our plan for 2006-2010 offered many benefits. It permitted us to consider up-to-date demographic information, to use new techniques for gathering community input, and to address issues that arose during the implementation of our first plan. Most importantly, the process allowed library staff members and representatives from our boards to think about the future collaboratively. The resulting document gives our users, staff members, boards, and funding agencies a clear statement of the library’s plans and priorities.
An electronic copy of this plan is available on the library’s website (http://www.wrl.org/info/strategicplan.html). The site also provides supporting documentation for the plan.
The Strategic Plan 2006-2010 Committee held its first meeting in November 2004. Over the course of the following year, the group considered the library’s mission, vision, planning assumptions, and core values. The committee also reviewed demographics and community and staff input. Using this work as a foundation, the committee then developed a statement of the library’s strategic directions and priorities. The Williamsburg Regional Library’s Board of Trustees adopted the plan at its November 30, 2005 meeting.
Free access to information is a foundation of democracy. The Williamsburg Regional Library, a basic government service, provides that access through resources and programs that educate, enrich, entertain, and inform every member of our community.
The Williamsburg Regional Library inspires people of all ages and backgrounds to expand their knowledge, pursue their dreams, and enjoy the rich cultural tapestry of our world.
The Williamsburg Regional Library enriches the life of our community by encouraging and supporting interaction among all our residents.
* The populations of James City County, Williamsburg and Upper York County will continue to grow. The expanding population will increase demand on library facilities.
* Commercial, residential, educational, and not-for-profit development will have an impact on the use of the Williamsburg Regional Library facilities.
* Library users will continue to expect convenient, equitable access to a wide variety of materials, formats, and delivery options.
* To meet the increased demand on library facilities, new location possibilities will be explored.
* Economic uncertainties will continue to affect the Williamsburg Regional Library.
* The City of Williamsburg and James City County will continue to support the services of the Williamsburg Regional Library for their residents. York County will continue to support the services of the Williamsburg Regional Library for its Upper York County residents.
* The Williamsburg Regional Library will actively pursue partnerships, including those with businesses and not-for-profit entities.
* The Friends of Williamsburg Regional Library, the Williamsburg Regional Library Foundation, and individual, corporate, and foundation donors will continue to support the provision of non-budgeted resources, services, and special programs that our user community expects from the library.
WE VALUE FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL ACCESS TO INFORMATION.
The Williamsburg Regional Library supports freedom of speech and the right of residents to select the information appropriate for their needs. Access to information from all library resources will be open and unrestricted, convenient and confidential.
WE VALUE ALL RESIDENTS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
Each individual in our community will receive the best library service possible. Everyone will be treated with respect and will receive friendly, courteous service. We value input from the community regarding collections, programs, and services. All suggestions are considered and many are implemented.
WE VALUE A LITERATE COMMUNITY.
Literacy is important to the successful functioning of a democratic society. The Williamsburg Regional Library promotes lifelong literacy through collections, programs, services, and cooperative ventures with community partners.
WE VALUE STRENGTH FOUND IN DIVERSITY.
Our resources, like our residents, form a tapestry embracing multiple cultures, values, and lifestyles. Discovering and sharing our experiences through collections, programs, and interactions enriches us all.
WE VALUE OUR STAFF.
Providing quality, comprehensive library services demands a talented, well-trained, and knowledgeable staff. The Williamsburg Regional Library maintains this high level of service by providing opportunities for continued education and training of all staff members through classes, conferences, and professional memberships. Williamsburg Regional Library provides a positive work environment that respects each staff member’s unique contributions.
WE VALUE ETHICAL, FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP OF PUBLIC RESOURCES.
Each employee of the Williamsburg Regional Library is a steward of the public trust. All staff members exercise prudence with library resources. Staff members work with community partners to utilize resources most effectively.
WE VALUE WORKING COOPERATIVELY WITH GROUPS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
Collaboration with community partners strengthens the library’s ability to fulfill its mission and helps the library meet the needs of all members of the community. We value input from our community partners regarding collections, services, and programs.
The library conducted a thorough review of demographic information available from federal, state, and private sources. (The demographic data was subsequently refined during the review process) Rapid growth emerged as the most significant trend in the community. Between 2000 and 2004, the library’s service population grew by 13.6 percent. Among all Virginia cities and counties, James City County ranked eighth for its growth rate during this period; the City of Williamsburg ranked tenth. Other areas of note include:
* Proportional growth of the population age 65 and over (from 12 percent to 16 percent of the total) between 1990-2000
* Proportional decrease of the population aged 0-19 (from 27 percent to 25 percent of the total) between 1990-2000
* Doubling of the Hispanic population (from 1 percent to 2 percent of the total) between 1990-2000
* Proportional decrease of the African-American population (from 18 percent to 15 percent of the total) between 1990-2000
* Higher than average median household incomes in James City County; lower than average median household incomes in the City of Williamsburg
* Expensive houses (Median price, January-June 2005: $300,954) and limited public transportation
COMMUNITY AND STAFF INPUT
Throughout the strategic planning process, the library gathered feedback from the community and the staff on improving services and planning for the future. Two focus groups were conducted by The Wessex Group, Ltd. The adult focus group captured the views of fifteen randomly selected community members including current library patrons and non-library users. The teen focus group, coordinated with the assistance of the Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools, gathered impressions of the library from fourteen public school students ages fourteen to eighteen. Users were asked their opinion on library resources, services, and programs through a survey conducted over a one-week period in both library buildings. Six hundred and six patrons completed the survey. Library staff members were also asked to share their perception of how well the library met the goals of the FY 2002-2005 WRL Strategic Plan. Forty-seven percent of the library staff participated.
Both the survey responses and the focus groups indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the library. The following responses will guide planning and improvements to the library:
* WRL should focus on what it does well rather than trying to be all things to all people.
* The library should reach out to teens with space and services but should proceed cautiously and engage teens in the planning process.
* Although the community regards the library as an important community center, most users are not aware of the programs in its facilities.
* The library needs to continue to reach out to serve the needs of teens, low socioeconomic groups, and non-library users.
* Site selection is a challenging task that is crucial to a library facility’s success. Some users prefer library facilities in locations surrounded by restaurants, shops, and businesses. Others, however, view the library as a destination unto itself.
In keeping with our mission, vision, values, and the information we have gathered, the Williamsburg Regional Library will focus our efforts on the following areas throughout the years of this plan.
Provide excellent service:
* Put users’ needs and expectations first.
* Treat all users with courtesy and respect.
Provide excellent collections:
* Focus on books and reading.
* Ensure that collections are practical, available in multiple formats, and used regularly.
* Use technology appropriately.
Provide excellent programs, meeting space, and outreach services:
* Offer programs that promote lifelong literacy and further the library’s role as a community center.
* Offer meeting spaces and the Williamsburg Library Theatre to all groups to enhance the life of our community.
* Extend services beyond the walls of library buildings.
Provide excellent facilities:
* Maintain and improve existing library buildings.
* Ensure that the Bookmobile operates with reliable vehicles.
* Investigate the need for a new library facility; if appropriate, begin to plan for that facility.
Develop and maintain the library’s culture of excellence and innovation:
* Acknowledge and reward the importance of day-to-day operations.
* Continue the library’s award-winning services for all age groups.
* Provide regular opportunities for staff development and growth.
* Use partnerships to enhance the delivery of services to a wider community audience.
* Adapt organizational structures to meet changing library needs.
Within these areas, the library’s immediate priorities are the Bookmobile’s vehicles, organizational structures, programming, and a third facility.
To remain a vital part of our community, the Williamsburg Regional Library must be flexible and open to the changing society around us. These strategic directions will ensure that we remain a vibrant institution responsive to the needs of our residents. We will assess our progress periodically during the plan through staff, board, and community input. Departmental implementation plans, the annual budget process, and interactions with government officials will allow us to sustain our vision and vitality.
Strategic Plan Committee
Victoria Gussman, Chair
Library Board of Trustees: Victoria Gussman, Bill Porter, Robert Watson
Library Foundation Board: Donald Drosselmeier
Library Friends Board: Linda Massie
Library Staff: Janet Crowther, Janet Curtis, Eletha Davis, John A. Moorman, Elizabeth C. Parker, Cela Schmidt
Data Gathering and Analysis: Genevieve S. Owens
Community Input: Barry Trott
Staff Input: Patrick Golden
Mission and Vision: Peg Bradshaw
Core Values: Noreen Bernstein
The library extends our appreciation to the Strategic Plan Committee, the research personnel, and to all staff members who participated in the development of this plan. We especially thank Patrick Golden for his efforts to keep these groups apprised of our progress and Genevieve Owens for her work on the plan’s text.