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

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.

Village of Hay Lakes Library Board: a plan of service in pamphlet format for a village of about 425. (Full plan)

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.