Myka Kennedy StephensJun 19, 2023
Integrated Library Planning:
A New Model for Strategic and Dynamic Planning, Management, and Assessment
Association of College & Research Libraries 2023
Many library project plans, from small projects to institution-wide strategic planning committees, follow a linear trajectory: create the plan, do the plan, then review the outcome. While this can be effective, it also sometimes leads to disregarding new information that emerges while executing the plan, making the outcome less effective. Planning processes can also feel forced and predetermined if stakeholder feedback is not seriously considered. When this happens too many times, people stop offering their honest opinions and new ideas because they have learned that the planners do not really want to hear them.
Integrated Library Planning: A New Model for Strategic and Dynamic Planning, Management, and Assessment (ACRL, 2023) offers a different kind of approach to planning that is both strategic and dynamic: fueled by open communication, honest assessment, and astute observation. Voices at the table, near the table, and far from the table are heard and considered. Its perpetual rhythm gives space to consider new information when it emerges and freedom to make changes at a time that makes sense instead of when it is most convenient or expected. The era of fixed-length strategic plans is coming to an end. Five-year strategic plans had already given way to three-year strategic plans, and now we find ourselves needing to plan and function when nothing is certain beyond the present moment.
The components of this model might look deceptively similar to the strategic planning practices used in libraries and organizations for decades; however, when implemented as a whole, with a monthly review cycle on a rolling planning horizon and space for regular analysis of information needs and behavior, it has the potential to shatter any previous notions of planning that serve only to satisfy administrators. Integrated Library Planning can help libraries effectively navigate and become agents of change.
Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.