When the Library District created its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, it reflected the various needs of our community and identified ways to anticipate and respond to changes through library services, programs, and collections.
What we did not anticipate was a global pandemic drastically impacting public health and the economy; changing how we all go about work, school, and our day-to-day lives; and interrupting library services and operations.
The original strategic plan was designed to be a dynamic tool that positions the libraries to be a vital force in a growing and changing community. As we’ve moved forward with our phased reopening plans and finding innovative ways to offer library services, we haven’t forgotten about the important goals of our strategic plan.
In fact, library staff has been busy re-visioning the plan to make sure that it reflects the community’s new immediate needs and takes into consideration the long-term effects of the pandemic on our community.
“Our strategic plan establishes our goals, guides our decisions, and shapes our budgeting and resource allocation,” says David Slivken, executive director, Poudre River Public Library District. “We felt it was imperative to reconsider our plan in light of the pandemic so we could truly serve our community where it is right now.”
The Library District will put resources toward four key areas where we feel we can make a significant and positive impact right now while staying flexible with our traditional services and programs and with our ability to respond to any new changes.
Just as local school districts have had to make difficult decisions about their reopening schools this fall for in-person learning, parents and caregivers have had to make difficult choices about what’s best for their family and child’s success.
School-at-home? Learning pods? Homeschooling? Some other learning model? The Library District plays an essential role in supporting children’s school readiness and K-12 learning, regardless of where or how the learning is happening.
We’ll continue to evaluate new learning tools, resources, and opportunities for students and families and make them available to the community. You may have already noticed new eResources like TumbleMath.
We are encouraging every student to sign up for a library card for easy at-home access to homework help, educational videos and resources, digital learning tools, and other useful books and materials. A library card is one of the most important back-to-school supplies!
For parents who may be called upon to support at-home learning, we offer an online homework help platform, BrainFuse Homework HelpNow, that includes live tutors and subject-area learning tools, among many other eResources. You don’t have to wrestle with math homework or book reports by yourself!
The journey to economic recovery is going to take a dedicated and coordinated effort from throughout the community. The Library District is well-prepared to assist the community with dedicated Business, Nonprofit, and Job Development librarians, online business and career courses, skills-based learning tools like Lynda.com, and at-home access to premium databases.
And that’s only scratching the surface.
Your Library will have an essential part to play in strengthening the local support network for entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly for professionals from traditionally underserved backgrounds such as women, people of color, immigrants, and veterans.
We will continue to evaluate ways to partner with organizations and directly provide business, nonprofit, and career development services to our community in both English and Spanish. It is our commitment to support a resilient, community economic recovery.
The stress and worry that many people are experiencing right now, amidst the uncertainties of the pandemic, has created real concern among mental health professionals. Our friends and family are grappling with spikes in depression and anxiety symptoms, and we’re witnessing increasing outbursts of anger and even violence.
The pandemic is as much a mental health crisis as a physical health one. And it doesn’t just affect one demographic or age group.
The Library District will pursue opportunities to support community health initiatives through local partnerships or through our own library services and resources. We will work to help families and individuals navigate complex issues of health care, mental health, aging, and other important topics around healthy communities.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Libraries hold long standing values of embracing and celebrating diversity and creating opportunity for all. We continue this work with renewed energy and commitment – to provide opportunities to educate, build awareness, and advocate for equitable treatment, inclusion, and respect for diversity in our community.
Libraries have a role to play in ensuring that the people in our community, especially those facing the greatest barriers, have access and opportunities. To do this, the Library District is being intentional in creating conditions for equity to flourish – in staff development, in collection development and staff outreach programs, and in digital initiatives.
And, although we’ve already achieved real results among these “re-visioned” focus areas of our strategic plan – the work is ongoing.