Strategic Plan

Putnam County Public Library Strategic Plan 2016 - 2019

Grier Carson, Director
Nancy Zennie, Library Board President

Download a printable PDF of the Strategic Plan

Mission

The Putnam County Public Library strives to connect its users through the shared acquisition of knowledge, the cultivation of curiosity, and an ongoing engagement with the world around them by promoting and supporting all forms of literacy, creativity, and cultural engagement.

Background

The Putnam County Public Library provides free and equitable access to information, services, and resources for all residents of and visitors to Putnam County. Located in downtown Greencastle, IN, PCPL opened its doors in 1903 with a newly-constructed Carnegie Library building at the corner of Vine and Walnut St. In 1995, a substantial expansion project was completed which added approximately 18,000 sq ft to the original library space. Today, the library maintains its original and expanded spaces with a single branch at 103. East Poplar Street while providing outreach and community services through materials delivery and off-site programming. A belief in the transformative power of literacy through the adoption of new technologies informs all aspects of PCPL’s service models including collection development, programming and instruction, onsite and remote support, community partnerships, and early literacy initiatives such as the Imagination Library program. The library continues to partner with area schools, community organizations, local business, and its neighbor, DePauw university, in order to enhance and expand its services.

The population of service area for PCPL (12 of 13 townships) is approximately 37,000 (United States Census Bureau, 2014 estimates).

Strategic Planning

The 2016-2019 Strategic Plan process began in August 2015 with the formation of the Strategic Plan Committee. A community survey was published and distributed via the library’s website (with a corresponding print version made available at the library and distributed through the Outreach Services materials delivery program). 85 print surveys were completed and returned while 17 online surveys were submitted. A series of community forums were held by library administrators, staff, and trustees in Cloverdale, Bainbridge, and Greencastle respectively. The library board also formed a focus group in early 2015 consisting of community representatives, staff, and administrators, known as the Library Improvement Committee, to discuss some of the community’s foremost concerns regarding literacy, education, and cultural engagement. In addition to community forums and surveys, the library held internal meetings and discussions regarding strategic planning goals, as all departments were charged with outlining key areas for growth as well as reviewing the library’s many successes and challenges in order to best identify how to address principal community needs.

Community Needs

Based on feedback from community surveys, public forums, and staff discussions, the following points represent the greatest areas of need for Putnam County residents with regard to library services:

  • digital/technology skills for all citizens
  • literacy and education (including continuing adult education)
  • serving the needs of area teens and pre-teens
  • addressing the digital divide within Putnam County (particularly with regard to internet access)
  • job-seeking programs
  • support for homeless population
  • partnering with and supporting area schools
  • expanding outreach services to more areas of the count

Objectives and Action Steps

  • Objective:  Attract and engage the next generation of library users

 

      • promote onsite library engagement for next generation users
        1. build a dedicated teen space (long range plan)
        2. leverage existing spaces within Adult Reference and Young Adult areas to engage teens
        3. maintain ongoing collaboration with area schools with specific focus on 1:1 learning environments and supplementing existing resources and support practices
        4. exploit digital creativity lab(s) through programming and open use
        5. redefine existing public space(s) to focus on “doing” things at the library
        6. address idea of multiple literacies within the context of education
          1. programming
          2. collection development
          3. targeted marketing
      • focus on building and developing interactive experiences for all patrons
        1. makerspaces
        2. music/drama performance opportunities (begun in 2014)
        3. a/v production and distribution opportunities
        4. patron-driven/hosted events
      • enhance general marketing efforts
        1. streamline communications and PR workflows across departments
        2. hire Communications Director in 2016
        3. increase and improve social media presence
        4. increase local community presence (virtual and physical)
          1. Director
          2. Department Heads
          3. Communications Director

 

  • Objective:  Enhance existing library services and collections

 

      • review and update library’s approach to Reference Services in 21st century
        1. repurpose existing reference department space(s) to better meet the needs of today’s library users
        2. address adult literacy needs with new programming and outreach through Adult Services
        3. enhance patron computer area(s) to include additional machines, makerspace(s)
        4. connect Reference Dept with Technology Support and Instruction
          1. increase help desk hours for Technology Support
          2. make technology more visible (help desk locations onsite and offsite)
          3. coordinate roles across Reference and Technology Depts
            1. cross training and collaboration between departments
      • develop engaging new collections
        1. improve existing collections through robust collection development practices
          1. draft and adopt new library-wide collection development policy
          2. develop consistent collection management criteria across departments
          3. focus on weak areas of print collections
            1. Children’s
            2. Adult Non-Fiction
        2. investigate new digital materials collections
          1. streaming audio/video service(s)
          2. steam and related web-based gaming platforms
          3. digital periodicals solution

 

 

      • continue to review and improve aspects of general operations
        1. consider new hours of operation
          1. adjust weekly hours to achieve consistency and uniformity
            1. emphasis on Monday-Thursday hours of operation
        2. improve circulation options
          1. review self checkout options including kiosks and roaming circ
          2. review RFID solutions
          3. address circulation lobby deficiencies
            1. circulation desk functionality
            2. public postings and digital signage
            3. patron accommodations (seating, decor, etc)

 

  • Objective:  Promote and support literacy across all age groups

 

      • “new literacies” programming at the library
        1. interactive media (games, creative platforms)
        2. passive digital media (film, television, music)
        3. daily living skills (cooking, managing family meals)
        4. “technological self-reliance”
          1. connected to Adult Reference and Technology Support programs
      • improving access to literacy support services for youth
        1. maintain and expand Imagination Library participation
        2. new Children’s Outreach programming for young readers
        3. maintain and expand existing Youth Services early literacy programming
      • addressing adult literacy issues within Putnam County
        1. adult literacy programs through Adult Services and Reference
        2. review and expand existing book group(s)
        3. maintain existing prison reading program
          1. building off of this to include other similar community service and rehabilitation initiatives
      • coordinate with area schools to provide better access to resources and instruction
        1. onsite, offsite, and virtual instruction opportunities
          1. ex: local history primary sources project(s)
        2. teacher card program (begun in 2014)
          1. improve logistics, benefits of participation
        3. Overdrive card program (begun in 2015)
          1. expand participation
          2. work with school media specialists to provide/enhance onsite e-resources support/instruction for students
        4. 1:1 Technology support programs and services
          1. parents
            1. mobile tech orientation programs
            2. support programs
          2. students
            1. design meaningful 1:1 technology education program(s)
            2. attract student leaders to participate in instruction and support through library programming

 

  • Objective:  Provide excellent remote patron services throughout the county

 

      • continue to develop Outreach Services model
        1. identify and address materials delivery gaps
        2. build on existing Outreach programming
          1. Children’s Outreach programming
          2. Technology Outreach programming
          3. explore new Outreach programming opportunities
      • enhancing access to single/main branch
        1. review hours of operation (additional/improved hours)
          1. addressed in Objective 2
        2. identify opportunities to improve parking options for patrons

 

  • Objective:  Address the “digital divide” within Putnam County

 

      • maintain and continue to improve network infrastructure (see Technology Plan 2015-2017)
        1. adopt appropriately aggressive update cycles for patron and staff computers
        2. leverage 3rd party support entities
          1. ENA (ISP and WiFi solutions)
          2. Telemaggen (network analysis and troubleshooting solutions)
      • further development of our technology support program
        1. help desk hours, staffing
        2. Adult Services and Reference coordination
      • further development of our technology instruction program
        1. review computer class offerings
        2. increase online, phone, and onsite technology help desk hours
      • merging modern reference with technology support/instruction
        1. build technology skills development into expectations for reference work
      • enhancing community access to technology
        1. annual technology sale (FOL)
        2. technology outreach initiatives (begun in 2015)
        3. increase patron access points
          1. continual network improvements
          2. additional patron technology resources and technology areas

 

  • Objective:  Expand and improve library programming

 

      • new and unique programming ideas
      • pursue FT programming director solution and develop programming team/committee to sustain new programming going forward
      • partner with area organizations on new programming opportunities
        1. DePauw Fine Arts, Creative Writing, Music and Theater
        2. area school corporations
          1. suggestions for new programs to connect students to library services
          2. suggestions for after-school programs that enhance the student experience off campus
        3. Ivy Tech
          1. collaborate with library professional degree program managers
          2. student volunteer opportunities

 

  • Objective:  Cultivate a committed and professional body of dedicated library professionals

 

    • work to improve employee compensation
      1. make PCPL more competitive in attracting and retaining regional library and information professionals
      2. continually evaluate operating budget to prioritize the cultivation of staff and long term commitment to PCPL
      3. adopt merit-based compensation measures in addition to annual cost-of-living increases
    • build workflow incentivization into department operations
      1. identify and capitalize on opportunities for specialization within departments
      2. identify and capitalize on opportunities for diversification across departments
      3. improve department-specific scheduling practices to better serve the needs of part-time library staff
    • connect individuals across departments through creation of goal-driven teams
      1. form committees for specific projects (both short and long term) that pull from all departments
    • connect individuals to other library professionals throughout the state and beyond
      1. increase ISL offerings on-site
      2. seek to improve funding for regional conference attendance
      3. send at least 2 staff to Computers In Libraries (or similar) conference annually
    • establish professional development as job expectation across all departments

 

  • Objective:  Enhance existing library services and collections

 

      • review and update library’s approach to Reference Services in 21st century
        1. repurpose existing reference department space(s) to better meet the needs of today’s library users
        2. address adult literacy needs with new programming and outreach through Adult Services
        3. enhance patron computer area(s) to include additional machines, makerspace(s)
        4. connect Reference Dept with Technology Support and Instruction
          1. increase help desk hours for Technology Support
          2. make technology more visible (help desk locations onsite and offsite)
          3. coordinate roles across Reference and Technology Depts
            1. cross training and collaboration between departments
      • develop engaging new collections
        1. improve existing collections through robust collection development practices
          1. draft and adopt new library-wide collection development policy
          2. develop consistent collection management criteria across departments
          3. focus on weak areas of print collections
            1. Children’s
            2. Adult Non-Fiction
        2. investigate new digital materials collections
          1. streaming audio/video service(s)
          2. steam and related web-based gaming platforms
          3. digital periodicals solution
      • continue to review and improve aspects of general operations

 

 

      • consider new hours of operation
        1. adjust weekly hours to achieve consistency and uniformity
          1. emphasis on Monday-Thursday hours of operation
      • improve circulation options
        1. review self checkout options including kiosks and roaming circ
        2. review RFID solutions
        3. address circulation lobby deficiencies
          1. circulation desk functionality
          2. public postings and digital signage
          3. patron accommodations (seating, decor, etc)

Operations, Facilities, and Services (as of January 2016)

Putnam County Public Library maintains a single branch located at 103 East Poplar Street, Greencastle IN  46135-0116.  The building has 2 main entry points (Poplar Street and Walnut Street respectively) with ADA-compliant accessible entry at the Poplar Street doors.  The library also maintains its own parking lot consisting of 23 spaces adjacent to the Poplar Street entrance.

The main branch consists of 2 main floors of patron and staff space with a single set of stairs at each entrance to the library.  A single elevator resides in the Circulation lobby near the Poplar Street entrance.   

The library is open a total of 58 hours per week.  Public service departments are fully-staffed and open during all hours of operation and include:

  • Circulation - 1 FTE (state certified librarian), 2 PTE, 3 pages
  • Adult Services and Reference - 1 FTE (state certified librarian), 2 PTE
  • Youth Services - 1 FTE (state certified librarian), 2 PTE
  • Local History - 1 FTE (state certified librarian), 2 PTE
  • Technology Support - 1 FTE information professional, 1 PTE  
  • Outreach Services - 1 PTE materials delivery specialist, 1 PTE outreach programming librarian
  • Technical Services - 1 FTE (state certified librarian), 2 PTE

Technology

Technology plays a central role in the library’s overall philosophy and service model.  In 2014, a major renovation of the Children’s Department saw the introduction of a new kind of library space at PCPL that encourages hands-on digital creativity, online cooperative work/play, and myriad digital literacy instruction and support opportunities through the use of new tools and new spaces.  2014 also saw a significant overhaul of the library’s internal network infrastructure including an internet bandwidth increase from 10mbps to 70mbps.  A new technology plan (adopted in October 2014) provides context for these upgrades and outlines a robust initiative aimed at integrating technology access, instruction, and support across all aspects of library services.

Patron computers and related technologies available to the public as of January 2016 are as follows:

  • 30 onsite patron access computers (Lenovo, Dell, HP, and iMac)
  • 4 fully-networked flat screen monitors
  • 3 game consoles (Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One)
  • 2 wireless projectors
  • 11 touch screen laptops (technology mobile classroom cart)
  • 1 88-key digital piano

Financial Resources and Sustainability

The library is funded through a combination of typical public library funds and reserves.  The annual operating budget is proposed by the library in November and approved by the state in early January. 

Operating Budget

  • requisite staffing, materials and resources, operations, and facilities maintenance expenditures

Annual Gift Funds (combination of discretionary and non-discretionary, 25 in total)

  • new and existing collections
  • new and existing programs
  • professional development

LIRF (Library Improvement and Reserve Fund) and Rainy Day Fund

  • renovations
  • building repairs and improvements

Friends of the Library

  • various programs and services not covered by operating budget

Evaluation Process

Ongoing evaluation the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan by staff, administrators, and trustees will involve the following:

  • semi-annual board-level reviews of existing programs and services as they relate to the goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan
  • monthly department and administrative reports evaluating actions steps pertaining to goals and objectives outlined in the strategic plan
  • community surveys focusing on new and existing programs and services
  • statistical evaluation of library programs and services
    • monthly statistical reports on patronage, program attendance, circulation, and other relevant metrics
    • annual and comparable statistical reports on all aspects of library use
  • annual or semi-annual board retreat sessions focusing on synthesizing usage data with evaluative information as they relate to the strategic plan