The current Guelph Public Library (GPL) strategic plan titled Building Steam was about doing business differently, focusing on productivity and exploring alternate revenue sources. It was an ambitious and to date, very successful game plan that included annual goals to enhance customer service and strengthen organizational performance. As a planning tool, a strategic plan can either be a public relations tool used to connect with the community or it can be a set of strategic actions and programs. At GPL we consider our strategic plan a living and actionable to-do list, that is built on community engagement, supports our success and is monitored by the GPL board.
Our first step in crafting a new plan was to talk to our customers and solicit their comments and recommendations about how we can improve public library service in Guelph. Over a seven week period in early spring we conducted a series of user satisfaction surveys. We talked to 6,007 people or over 11% of our customers in person and online. This is what they told us:
► 97% said GPL was important or very important to them
► 95% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with GPL services
►when asked about the quality of services, 88% said it was good or very good
I was surprised that there was very little difference between Main and branch customer comments, except when it came to more meeting and study space at Main, earlier open hours at the branches and from our online customers, more eBooks and databases on the website.
However, 34% of respondents all agreed there needs to be more public library cooperation with local schools and 28% recommended more adult programs and events. When asked the all-important question about how we could improve library service:
► over 30% suggested more new movies and more copies of best sellers
► 23% recommended building a new, bigger new Main library
► and there were lots of suggestions about more/longer open hours and of course better parking especially at the Main library and West End branch
We also learned a lot about our customers for example:
► over 40% of our customers walk into a GPL library weekly and over 12% visit Main or a branch every day
► over 51% of our online customers visit the GPL website weekly and over 9% visit the website daily
The next step will be to consult with the amazing library staff, conduct a SWOT analysis and use the resulting data to establish and communicate annual goals, service reviews and performance measurements. We will then research best practices and innovations by identifying public library trends and their impact on customer service. The goal of this benchmarking is to develop an ambitious plan focusing on actions that will enhance GPL’s mission and staff performance.
The 2015-2017 GPL strategic plan will:
► move GPL forward in an informed and strategic way
► prove staff with a comprehensive road map of annual goals
► empower the GPL board to effectively monitor performance, embrace change and provide guidelines to continuously improving library service
This may all seem like a lot of work, but just like any business, without a strategic plan there is no direction and no way GPL can move forward, embrace change and be relevant in the lives of our customers.
Stay tuned there is lots more to come.
Kitty Pope #15 April 2014
There is a new movement sweeping North America that I thought you’d be interested in. It’s called Ban Bossy . It was launched by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Girl Scout CEO Anna Maria Chavez. The goal of the public service campaign is to empower girls to become leaders by removing the negative label of “bossy” from our vocabulary and promote gender equality.
In a video Sheryl and Anna Maria talk about how confident girls are often labeled “pushy” or worse “bossy”. Whether it is said directly or implied, girls get the message: Don’t be bossy. Don’t raise your hand too much. Keep your voice down. Don’t lead. And don’t stand out in a crowd, its unattractive! So girls often learn at an early stage not to lead, not to take charge and to be content to follow.
Celebrities Jennifer Garner, Beyoncé and Condoleezza Rice have joined the campaign and in a recently released video talk about being discouraged as young girls to lead or take charge and being negatively labeled as bossy.
Interestingly the campaign has all the hall marks of a great marketing plan, including:
►a simple, clear message
►a memorable, repeatable catch phrase plus
All of which are some of the reasons why it has spread so quickly around the world. That doesn’t mean it is not without controversy. Some skeptics believe:
► “bossy” applies to both boys as well as girls…really how many boys have you called bossy?
►the campaign is detrimental to boys and stereotypes girls
►the idea is ideologically one dimensional and too simplistic
To be sure “Ban Bossy” does not apply to every girl but, it does remind lots of us that the fight for equality has moved from:
●the suffragette parades of the early 20th century
●to the feminist writings and manifestos of the 1960’s
●to video clips like “Here is where I…” video
But, the message is still the same; you can be whatever you want to be.
You go girl!
Kitty Pope #14 April 2014
It’s funny how time and the years change our attitudes and beliefs. Over the weekend I was looking at some terrible old photos and just for fun I started a list, which turned into a chart of ideas that have changed over the years. For example, when I was thirty, Friday evening was my favorite time of the week. But now, I think any day is great; I love Mondays because they are full of new challenges, Hump Day is always promising, and Saturday is great because anything can happen!
Your Favourite Day:
in your 30′s… friday evening
in your 40′s… saturday or sunday
in your 50′s… any day, they are all great
The World is Driven By:
in your 30′s… trends and getting enough sleep
in your 40′s… the babysitter or janitor
in your 50′s… parking
Best Advice You Ever Received:
in your 30′s… “dance like there is no tomorrow”
in your 40′s… “it’s ok to say no”
in your 50′s… “don’t sweat the small stuff”
in your 30′s… freedom
in your 40′s… freedom
in your 50′s… still freedom
in your 30′s… “lose 100lbs in 100 days”
in your 40′s… Weight Watchers
in your 50′s… skip the donut
Favourite Foot Gear:
in your 30′s… trendy heels or flip flops
in your 40′s… runners
in your 50′s… loafers or boots. It’s all about comfort while still running
Being a Librarian:
in your 30′s… is awesome! who knew!
in your 40′s… rocks
in your 50′s… is still the best job in the free world!
in your 30′s… stay out of trouble and learn lots
in your 40′s… not so afraid of trouble but keep learning
in your 50′s… embrace trouble and write about it!
What Surprised You Most About Library Work:
in your 30′s… it’s so much fun!
in your 40′s… it’s so political; did I learn that in library school?
in your 50′s… it’s still fun even if it’s political!
So how have your ideas changed over the years? I bet you’ll be surprised by your answers.
Have a great day.
firstname.lastname@example.org #13 March 2014
I know better, but it was parked in the driveway and I had a bunch of stuff to haul so it seemed like a good idea. I climbed into his vehicle, adjusted the seat and as usual, the radio was set to a country music station. Now I am not a country fan; I am definitely a rock and roller with a little folk, Motown and classical tossed in for variety. However, changing the channel in the other guy’s vehicle is a virtual declaration of war at our house (it’s almost as bad as using the other guy’s scissors or power tools!). I was in a hurry to get my errands done, so I just put his vehicle in drive and endured the country tunes.
However, somewhere between stopping at the market for eggs and swimming lessons I found myself singing along to the tune Helluva Life from the album by Battle Creek, Michigan country music star Frankie Ballard. It’s a catchy tune but the phrase that caught my attention was “…the bad times make the good times even better…”
Now, I am guessing that country music fans around the world already know the connection between bad and good times. But honesty, I had never thought about bad times being the bellwether or precursor to good times,
It’s not the first time this idea of the bad times teaching us about the good times has appeared in movies, poetry, fiction or song, but the common message is always:
► through tough times, we learn, evolve and grow
►tough times expose the inner strength we never knew we had
► nothing happens by accident, tough times happen for a reason
►when you overcome tough times, you understand the good times better
“Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment, are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment.
There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution” - Deepak Chopra
So my apologies to all the country music fans, Blake Shelton and The Voice followers for under-estimating the power and wisdom of a country tune. The next time I borrow my husband’s SUV I will be a bit more open to listening to his country music station and songs like:
•Fishing in the dark (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)
•This one’s for the girls (Martina McBride)
•Life’s a dance (John Michael Montgomery)
And, if you are struggling through some tough times, the good news is they are the training program for fully embracing the good times!
Have a great week.
Kitty Pope #12 March 2014