Plan of Service
Doing planning? Need help? Check out our planning toolkit
The Libraries Regulation requires boards to have a current plan of service, including a mission statement and goals and objectives, based on a community needs assessment.
A plan of service is more than a legal requirement; it is a great tool for managing a library. It helps a board to govern at a strategic level. It aligns the library with the community and helps increase use. It builds community support and helps fundraising and advocacy. It helps a library measure its success and identify improvements.
Creating a Plan
Library boards are responsible for planning and they can choose the approach that works best for their situations.
We highly recommend a process called Strategic Planning for Results. It is defined in the book Strategic Planning for Results by Sandra Nelson, published in 2008 by ALA. This approach is:
- Designed specifically for public libraries, by leading library professionals;
- Focused on the community and community needs;
- Straightforward and easy to follow, with detailed instructions.
It includes a simple and easy community needs assessment that meets legal requirements, and it defines library service responses that fill community needs.
Help is Available
Sandra Nelson trains Alberta librarians at a branch-sponsored workshop
Library professionals throughout Alberta have been trained in Strategic Planning for Results and they can help your library develop a plan. Staff from the Public Library Services Branch and the library systems can deliver training and get you started. Facilitators are available for public needs assessment meetings.
A toolkit for planning is available that includes various resources for those involved in planning.
Samples of Alberta Library Plans of Service
Village of Elnora Library Board: a plan of service for a village with a population under 500.
Town of Rocky Mountain House Library Board: a plan of service for a community of about 7,000 that incorporates statistics in a graphic format.
Town of Stony Plain Library Board: a plan of service for a community of about 15,000 people.
Yellowhead County Library Board: a plan of service for a rural county with multiple service points.