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Library Planning: Working on a Blueprint for Change

Magazine article Information Today

Library Planning: Working on a Blueprint for Change

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Managing Facilities for Results: Optimizing Space for Services by Cheryl Bryan for the Public Library Association Chicago: ALA, 2007 ISBN: 9780838909348 $50, softcover 221 pages

Almost all libraries have physical facilities that provide some of their services. These days, we can't expect to build new buildings or even add on to what we have to offer new services. We need to work with the spaces we already have. But how can we retrofit or rearrange things to meet new goals? It may seem as though we have already maximized the space we have, so how do we fit something else in? As always, priorities are key. With a strategic plan in hand, you can manage your facilities to meet your priorities and goals.

Cheryl Bryan, who has worked in public libraries for more than 30 years, is currently the assistant administrator for consulting and continuing education for the Southeastern Massachusetts Library System. She is also an experienced consultant, trainer, and planner. In this new book, she shares her experience in planning and completing library projects of all sorts.

Managing Facilities for Results: Optimizing Space for Services is part of the Results series from the Public Library Association. These books are designed for use together to help public librarians plan for and provide services. The first and most basic volume is The New Planning for Results: A Streamlined Approach (ALA, 2001), which "describes a library planning process that is focused on creating an actual blueprint for change rather than a beautifully printed plan for your office shelf." There are currently seven volumes in the series.

Expanding Your Existing Plan

Bryan's book assumes that readers have an up-to-date strategic plan with service priorities. These are used as a starting point for facilities planning. This book doesn't take users through the planning process; it assumes you have already done that and are ready to make your facilities work with your existing plan.

Bryan makes it clear that her book is based on three important ideas. First, the library has "defined its public service goals or priorities and that those goals are based on identified community needs." Space and facilities should always be based on these goals, rather than on the buildings or how things have always been. The second concept is effectiveness: The programs must carry out these goals.

Even with an efficient program, it isn't effective if it doesn't work toward the goals of the plan. Finally, we must measure inputs and outputs. These measures can be anything from traditional library statistics to qualitative outcomes. With these concepts in mind, Bryan presents tasks and steps to carry out a facilities-related project. …

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