Thursday, December 20, 2007

Top ten of 2007 ... at APL

This is the time of year for looking back and reflecting. Here's one take on the top ten items for our library:
  1. Our Long Range Plan was a lynch-pin for many other activities throughout the year, and right from the start featured involvement by the Outagamie Waupaca Library System, engagement by staff and road representation of community stakeholders. The process that gave us some clear direction and energy.
  2. Increasing community support was manifested in many ways: increases in circulation, volunteer hours, donations to our Foundation, and the political support from the Mayor, Council, media and citizens in our recent budget process.
  3. Project Promise was a wonderful collaboration with many agencies, companies and individuals to take a multifaceted look at poverty in our community. I'm proud of the key role our library was able to play, hosting and sponsoring events and providing information supporting citizens and partners.
  4. Library staff involvement in decisions: broad active participation in our staff policy task force and staff long range planning committee proved extremely valuable. These groups both gave vital input to administration and the Library Board. A staff survey brought out many productive ideas for updating our Intranet. Later in the year, there was good involvement in revising our technology plan. And other staff groups continue ongoing good work including the Training Task Force and Kudos & Kares.
  5. Library 2.0 activities & collaborations were many, including this blog, the OWLS-sponsored Project Play and several other staff blogs, blog feeds in the Intranet, wikis for planning and task force projects, for a tag cloud of links on our teen page, SurveyMonkey for staff and public surveys and lots of meetings set via Doodle.
  6. All-staff training was a key recommendation of our long range plan. For the first time, we developed a mandatory training curriculum that included everyone. Broad involvement in establishing the priorities and presenting material was critical -- this was not just a top-down exercise, but a real effort to give everyone useful information. It was a success and we learned things to make it better next year.
  7. We're going forward with a Building Study, after asking for several years. An RFP has been sent out to consulting firms, and we expect the study to be as much a focus of 2008 as our long range plan was in 2007.
  8. Fox Cities Reads was a first, after a successful "Appleton Reads" a couple years ago. We worked with several other public libraries and had a wonderful author visit from Barbara Ehrenreich, enjoying good media attention and synergy from Project Promise. This paved the way for future community reads beyond our own boundaries.
  9. Increased budget for materials, training after years of flat materials budgets and decreasing training budgets. The long range plan and community support helped us clarify these priorities and get them supported through the city budget process. Library staff found ways of trimming in other areas to achieve these increases while keeping the bottom line small.
  10. Patron pick-up of holds & increased use of self-checks - along with volunteers helping with the shelving, this has helped us keep our heads above water despite unrelenting increases in circulation and holds.

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