This isn’t your momma’s strategic plan. In the past, strategic plans were based on best practices and metrics. Our new strategic framework is informed by civic goals and citizen concerns. In-depth interviews, focus groups, and community meetings have revealed important ways that GRPL can strengthen our presence in the community and our role in creating social impact. When fully implemented, service directions will be designed for the goals, hopes, and interests of local residents, backed by data and stories that document the library’s contributions. No longer will we measure success by comparing our organization to other communities or industry standards. Instead we will know the library’s true impact when we authentically listen to the public, build meaningful relationships, and are viewed with trust and credibility. GRPL will evolve from an organization that provides tools for the community to one that makes social impact by being a partner on life journeys. We will shift from transactional to transformational.
This strategic framework was developed using community input and intended to align with the City of Grand Rapids’ Strategic Plan. It is a vulnerable time in Grand Rapids. The city is experiencing economic and opportunity disparity that prevents equity and mobility for all residents. As with the city’s plan, GRPL will assist with smart, equitable growth for all. We will be a part of the creation, retention and growth of local business. We will be essential to increasing residents’ educational attainment and employment and wage growth. We will contribute to make Grand Rapids a destination city.
But first, we need to develop the library’s infrastructure and skills sets before adding more projects on our plate. The first year of the strategic framework will be spent learning about the communities we serve and training staff. The second year will be spent co-creating and prototyping new services and new ways of doing things. The third year of the framework we will refine and implement our new ideas. We want to get it right. We want to understand what the community wants and needs so that we can best serve them. This takes time. Time to innovate and recreate. Time to listen and learn. Time to seek feedback and re-evaluate. Trust us, it is time well spent.