Strategic Planning for the Future

In keeping with our mission of serving all members of the community, we will endeavor through this document to chart a course that will maintain our high quality service as our community’s needs and preferences evolve.

Since our renovation project, we have attracted thousands of new patrons; more members of the community frequent the Library than ever before. We need to maintain this level of excitement and service through collection development, creative programming, keeping up with and promoting the latest technology, and high quality customer service. We need to continuously assess community needs and library service trends, and to market ourselves better, especially to less-served segments of our population.

To that end, this Long Range Plan addresses seven key areas:

Programming
Community Outreach
Personnel
Technology
Development of the collection and resources
Finances
Facility

1. Programming

The Library recently completed an ambitious renovation and expansion of its facilities. Our new library building provides a spacious, welcoming and comfortable environment for programs geared toward both small and larger groups. The Library will seek to increase patron interest in attending programs by examining and evaluating the latest trends in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workshops and other participatory programs.

Our Library currently runs programs for participants ranging from pre-school age to seniors. In order to expand and improve upon our program offerings, the Library must clearly identify the different age and interest groups in our Mamaroneck community that could benefit from its programs and assess their varying needs and preferences.

These groups include but are not limited to:

Pre-school children
Elementary, middle and high school students
College and graduate school students
Working parents
Senior citizens
Newly-arrived community members
Job seekers
Music, art and literature fans

The Library will seek input from members of these groups on what program offerings would appeal to them and what resources (materials, instructors, research engines, etc.) would maximize the impact of program offerings. Exit surveys for current program participants and an e-mail survey sent to current Library card holders will help the Library better understand what users want more, or less, of in terms of Library program offerings.

The Library will evaluate the relative merits of programs run by outside agencies to ensure that they meet a proven demand within our community. Programs that serve mainly as opportunities for the organizers to sell services or goods will be avoided.

The Library will network with community groups (e.g. neighborhood associations, LMC-TV, the Emelin Theater, Hispanic Resource Center, Elks, Lions, Rotary, Mamaroneck Artists’ Guild) and school district staff and local government to create participatory programs that respond to the needs and preferences of their constituents within the Mamaroneck community. These partners can then help raise awareness of Library program offerings among their members.

2. Community Outreach

The Community Outreach component of the Long Range Plan details cooperation and involvement with other local agencies, including government, local businesses, schools, civic groups and senior citizen groups. Increased collaboration with print and social media resources will help deliver our message to the intended audience(s).

Government

Community outreach should include maintaining a good working relationship with elected officials, the Village manager, clerk-treasurer, police and fire chiefs. The Library Director and Board should note when civic issues, such as parking space allocation, will directly impact Library patrons.

Local Business

The Library should continue to participate in the Mamaroneck Chamber of Commerce to foster relationships with local businesses. In addition, Village reports to the Chamber which might impact the Library (e.g. new parking study) should be evaluated with an eye toward Library services to our community. Chamber-sponsored events have included the Library’s participation in the past and will likely do so in the future.

Schools

Outreach to the school districts occurs routinely by staff. The Library should look for ways to strengthen our ability to share in the schools’ mission to optimize educational experiences for our community’s students. The gallery could display schoolchildren’s work; after school programming and homework help could be enhanced. Visits to the green roof, or discussion about our green building (or building design in general) could be considered in addition to more traditional how-to-use-the-library visits. Finding ways to help the districts by encouraging STEM activities at the Library could be mutually promoted.

Community/Civic Organizations

Ties to local organizations are one more way to build community and enhance our role as the community cornerstone. Some of the local groups that used to meet at the Library moved elsewhere during our construction. We should continue to reach out to all the local community organizations and build partnerships on programming whenever possible. Reaching out to non-traditional user groups or community-based ethnic groups might attract new people to the Library.

Senior Citizen Groups

While many seniors already use the Library, building more formalized relationships with local organizations that cater to seniors would be advantageous. The Mamaroneck Senior Center’s art class might be interested in displaying their work in the Library, for example. Reaching out to At Home on the Sound and other groups would also be helpful.

Friends of the Library

This group, which languished during construction, must be reinvigorated and nurtured. The more “Friends” we have the better. They can do so much for our Library and help us in community outreach, advocacy, programming and more.

Media

It’s important to have a good working relationship with the local media. Reporters for local press change often, so a staff member should be responsible for keeping on top of this ever-evolving local press corps. We need to supply local press with good feature story ideas, fun and creative activities to cover, and to keep them writing about the Library as much as possible.

E-List, Communications, and More

A goal should be to grow our e-list. This list, coupled with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, are the way to communicate effectively with citizens of the Information Age. We must ensure that we use all state-of-the-art channels to reach out to our customers and connect with them via the most convenient means for them.

3. Personnel

The Mamaroneck Public Library is committed to attracting and retaining talented and dedicated staff members who represent the diverse community we serve. While we are required to comply with the hiring regulations of the Westchester County Department of Human Resources, we also strive to recruit personnel who:

Are multi-lingual
Represent diverse ethnicities
Are customer-service driven
Have technological interests and abilities
Are intellectually curious
Are enthusiastic about the profession
Are innovators
Display leadership qualities
Communicate clearly

The Library promotes continuing education opportunities and encourages professional organization involvement, and it strives to compensate staff members on a competitive basis.

While staff members are hired to do specific tasks in their Civil Service job categories, flexibility is strongly encouraged, and cross-training is undertaken to provide coverage due to vacation or illness absences. In addition, whenever there is staff attrition, each position is carefully re-examined to see how current personnel could take on responsibilities and/or to reshape the position to eliminate additional costs.

Future hires will be expected to have high levels of digital literacy and full competence in outreach to the community. When staff openings occur, the Library encourages applications from a diverse field of qualified candidates.

4. Technology

The Library plays an important, democratizing role in ensuring that all Mamaroneck residents have access to the tools and skills they need, whether for education, information, or recreation. Technology is one of the foundations of the work we do at the Mamaroneck Public Library, from supporting the provision of information and services, to helping us communicate with staff and patrons more efficiently and economically. Library staff is tasked with helping patrons to find reliable information sources by serving as educated guides to increase information literacy and self-sufficiency in all formats. The Library is the one place in the community that provides exclusively free digital materials – software and hardware – and is a location where any resident may have free access to the Internet and free training in the use and application of both established and emerging technologies. This function is broadly supported by our customer base and is particularly important to very young children and seniors who might otherwise lack the opportunities to examine and utilize the newest products and services.

As we commit to expanding this core function of the Library, we recognize the importance of critical examination of the price and value of providing this service in a balanced budget scenario. We aim to carefully evaluate emerging technologies for our patrons, rather than to immediately adopt leading edge products and devices before their value has been determined. Outreach to the community and business partners and grant applications for funding will help us to incorporate appropriate new technologies in a way that responds to the community’s needs and maintains our commitment to being a good steward of public financial resources. In addition, liaisons with outside organizations will assist us in discerning products and services for individuals who have a range of special requirements (low vision, physical or mental delays or handicaps, and other needs).

5. Development of the Collection and Resources

The Mamaroneck Public Library recognizes the responsibility of providing a balanced, comprehensive collection of materials in various formats for the community’s recreational, educational, and informational needs. Each year, usage statistics are analyzed to determine trends for future purchases, and the materials budget is adjusted accordingly.

Trained librarians have the responsibility for selection of materials for the collection, with an emphasis on an overall balance between popular materials and materials needed for informational needs. Materials are selected on the basis of favorable reviews in recognized peer-reviewed professional journals, as well as through evaluation of customer requests and a search of materials throughout other Westchester libraries to avoid unnecessary duplication. Additionally, as costs of materials continue to rise, careful consideration of an item’s value in the collection must be examined. The collection is “weeded” on a rotating basis to ensure that up-to-date materials replace outdated titles, which are removed from the collection. When appropriate, “weeded” items are added to the book sale room, a source of revenue for the Library. Patron requests are accommodated as much as possible given budget limitations. In addition, materials donated by patrons are examined with the possibility of adding them to the Library’s general collection. Special attention is applied to care and development of the local history collection of documents and materials.

A growing concern is the funding of materials in new formats, for example, e-books, e-audio, and downloadable movies. Changing preferences in the ways our customers interact with materials, as well as learning differences, require frequent adjustments in the format of purchases.

Going forward, efforts will be made to:

Reduce reference collection costs, possibly by increasing or substituting e-formats
Re-assess vendor reliability, cost comparisons, and fulfillment rates
Outsource processing tasks to reduce staffing time/costs
Survey the community to determine level of interest in e-format and evaluate downloading trends for all media
Work to move all periodical subscriptions to a June 1 start date
Continue to archive historical pictures in a digital format and link to website

6. Finances

The following objectives have been designed to ensure that the Mamaroneck Public Library continues to secure the necessary funding to successfully implement its mission statement.

The Library will work to establish a five-year budget plan that outlines its financial needs.

Maintain adequate reserve funds
Strive to limit tax increases
Continue to set aside funds for the Library’s capital expenses with a plan to update | renovate | increase | repair portions of the facility
Work to ensure the community has all the information necessary to vote on the Library budget
Adjust annual fundraising goals as necessary
Continue creative partnerships with community groups, governmental, and private sector organizations
Continue to pursue partnerships with neighboring libraries and districts to reduce duplication, share resources, provide training, and exchange best practices
Make sure every Trustee and employee of the Library can answer why voters should economically support public library services in the 21st century

7. Facility

A great deal of thought and planning went into creating the recent environmentally-conscious renovations to our Library. The results have been viewed as a success by the staff, patrons, Library Trustees, and the community. Our goal is to build upon this success to provide exemplary service to all. Now that we have lived with the changes, we should revisit our original intentions to see if our expectations for improvement have been met. Staff input, as well as patrons’ comments (verbally and through survey analysis), will help identify gaps or needs. New ideas or adaptations to improve our service to the community will be evaluated by the Board and Library administration.

Trustees and staff will identify ways to optimize usage of our Community Room. Our Library serves as the civic center of discussion and information specifically related to the Mamaroneck community and beyond. Guidelines for those organizations wishing to rent the Community Room will be examined and updated.

Summary

This document is a “moving target” and is intended to serve as a road map for planning and providing Library services to the residents of our community as well as visitors to the area. The Long Range Plan will be evaluated and revised periodically to reflect changes in need, finances, and opportunities.

Adopted October 23, 2013