Did You Know: 2014


Strategic planning relies on strategic thinking. To think strategically we need to explore beyond our common environment, the usual places we look and the usual way in which we look at. The “Did You Know” series of videos is an excellent tool to use at the beginning of any strategic or planning discussion. And it’s been updated! Have a look – and start your next staff discussion with it:

2014 - Did You Know? You should...


Finally! a current version of Did You Know? Use this video to start staff, Board, stakeholders thinking about the world around the library – and spark conversations regarding what this means for the library:

Tools for Measuring, Influencing & Planning


If you are in Victoria, BC on Wednesday May 28th, Moe Hosseini-Ara and I will be working with a group to use practical tools for measuring, influencing key stakeholders and for long-term or strategic planning. This is a pre-conference workshop for the CLA and BCLA conference – and registration includes breaks and lunch! It is always such a fulfilling experience to work with Moe. He is on secondment from his job as Director, Service Excellence, Markham Public Library and is currently Director of Culture, Culture Services, City of Markham. He brings a stakeholder perspective to the templates and approaches for determining and conveying appropriate strategies and measures. I bring the academic, corporate and government perspective to these approaches and tools. And Moe and I are doubly proud that Ulla de Stricker, who can’t join us because of prior commitments, has sent along her work for us to use with the group. No one influences like Ulla!

To register, contact Wendy Walton at CLA:

Below is one of the templates participants will be working with. Come join us!

Strategy, Influence & Measures: Practical Tools

Information professionals and all those in management roles in libraries use a range of technical tools in their daily activities with our customers. What tools, though, do we use with our stakeholders or decision-makers to move forward progressively – and successfully? This workshop covers the components of four practical, critical tools and invites participants from government, corporate, academic, public and non-profit sectors to discuss: 1.

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OLA Poster: Growing a support program for the new Blended Services Model at McMaster University


Poster developed by: Jill Bedford and Rodney Howland; McMaster University

Launched in 2009, MAC’s Blended Services Model demanded more complex skills from Library Assistants at main service points. This led to the development of a library training committee composed of a blended services staff member from each library and a librarian. This group developed and implemented a participatory training plan for ongoing staff support. The poster will showcase a unique combination of training strategies and diverse activities that led to the successful implementation of this initiative. Two years later, results from surveys and feedback show the model works.

Strategic Thinking Takes Time


Jane and I will be focusing on Thinking Strategically and Building the Future at SLA’s Annual Conference on Sunday June 8th. As I think about the points we want to cover, the case study, and questions we’ll use to prompt participants’ discussions and reflection, there’s one issue Jane will have to keep me from harping: strategic thinking takes time, discourse, reflection, and time. Yes, I know I repeated time. And I know I used a no-no word regarding a learning environment: harping. Bear with me. Having been involved in 100+ strategic plans as a facilitator, a manager, a volunteer and a staff member, I know that the factor of time can’t be over-emphasized.

Too often leadership teams, staff and, in the case of public institutions, boards view strategic planning as an activity that can be accomplished in 2 or 3 meetings of a few hours each or a weekend retreat. Yes, so long as they have been preparing for these meetings with deep research, reading, and reflection it is possible for them to make strategic decisions in that time frame. But the sad truth is that management, staff and boards seldom commit the time and energy needed to come to terms with a very uncertain, unfamiliar future. They will review the trends and developments occurring, and probably complete a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), but will be reluctant to go the next mile (yes, MILE) of doing the strategic thinking by asking, considering and debating, “SoWOT? So

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Strategic Planning: Special Issue


Thanks to CLA for publishing an entire issue of Feliciter devoted to Strategic Planning. The October 2012 issue features articles on:

University of Alberta’s Process Mapping (Allison Sivak & Katherine Koch) Markham Public Library’s FailCamp as a Planning Tool (Megan Garza) University of Toronto Mississauga’s Staff Directed Planning Process (Susan Senese)

and many other solid articles. This includes one by Jim Morgenstern and I on how to develop a plan that is strategic – and that prepares the organization for the future.

Co-Creating Scenarios: Results in Solution Buy-in


People too often dismiss futures planning or strategic planning or scenario planning as a bureaucratic exercise they need to do for “the Board” (in the case of public libraries) or “management” (in the case of academic, corporate or government libraries). Those people need to reframe futures planning as creating solutions for the problems the library is beginning to face today and will most certainly face tomorrow. A future scenario or vision should not be a motherhood, lofty statement or story; it should be a solution to successfully confront emerging situations – be they opportunities or challenges.

We’ve just always believed that those who will be implementing the vision should participate in creating the vision. We’ve based that on common sense, really. It just made sense to Jane and I that staff who “see” themselves in the “future state” and like what they “see” and understand what they “see” have a vested interest in developing that future state. We didn’t have a lot of proof other than people’s testimonies that when they collaborated on creating the strategic plan they became more quickly and willingly engaged in implementing the resulting actions and initiatives.

Once again, a good ol’ Harvard blog has pointed me to evidence that this is indeed the case. The evidence has been around since the early 1980’s (I’ve been around the workplace since then too, so maybe I did learn back then that this approach was based on research and not just farm-girl common sense.) Today’s HBR blog by

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Strategic Planning: Make it Successful


Jim Morgenstern (dmA Planning & Management Services) and I presented on this topic at CLA 2012 today. The slides we presented used lots of photos to be visually compelling on a Saturday morning, but we’ve replaced these photos with text to hopefully make the slides more useful for you.

Cla 2012 Strategic Planning: Keep it From Failing

View more presentations from Rebecca Jones.

Oscar-Winner Launches Innisfil's Strategic Plan


The ink on Innisfil Public Library’s Strategic Plan was barely dry when they made great strides toward their Vision of “sparking ideas to ignite a creative and dynamic community.” How? By launching, that’s right “launching” their Strategic Plan with a community party, complete with an Academy Award. Yep, Oscar – the big, heavy gold guy.

Academy Award winner Colin Chilvers, renowned for his creative visual effects on movies such as Superman, Tommy and X-Men, applauded the Innisfil PL’s strategies: “I like helping people sell their ideas,” he said, “These people are trying to bring different things to the library, not just books. I’m happy to be here; not enough people support the library.”

Colin Chilvers, with his friend "Oscar" speaks at the Innisfil PL's Strategic Plan Launch

The Library’s strategies are to position the Library a hub for discovery and exploration, design and construct creative, collaborative space, develop a strong community presence, and cultivate a “hacker ethic,” and foster a culture of innovation. Their unveiling of the Plan touched on all of their strategies — bringing the community together in a fun Saturday evening, with live music, staff demonstrating their 3D printer and digital repository for community history, and Library alive with conversation, interest and laughter. A local business owner spoke of the recent “Let Us Surprise You” community contest in which the Library partnered with Hardie and Company, a local advertising and branding company, saying “I am continuously impressed with the initiatives of the Innisfil Public Library

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Owyang, KMWorld & Social Media Tips


Jeremiah Owyang

Great Mashable interview, 5 Tips for Creating More Efficient Social Media Processes, with Jeremiah Owyang, opening keynote speaker at KMWorld 2011. I’m looking forward to Jeremiah’s talk in DC on Nov 1, Architecting a Connected Enterprise.

From the article: “Creating, executing and evaluating a social media plan takes a healthy amount of time, money and talent — resources that are scarce in today’s business world….Here are 5 essential tips:


1. Utilize your existing team

2. Build a plan that is nimble

3. Minimize spend on tools & consultants

4. Hire qualified talent

5. Learn from others”

Interesting that these tips are the same ones we use with clients when we are working on strategic or direction planning. We work with the existing team to create flexible plans with stretch in them, using their talents to create environmental scans, focus groups, organization interviews as much as we can. We definitely encourage learning from others by doing industry research, as we did recently: Assessing Innovation in Corporate & Government Libraries.