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2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan Process

In preparation for developing the 2015-2018 St. Louis County Library Strategic Plan, much time was spent reviewing recent publications on the role of the public library in today's society. The following background reports reviewed:

  • Imagining Tomorrow for St. Louis County, Strategic Plan 2013 (St. Louis County's most recent strategic plan)
  • The State of American Libraries: a Report from the American Library Association, 2014
  • The Engaged Library:  Chicago Stories of Community Building, Public Libraries and Civic Engagement (a special issue of the National Civic Review)
  • Missouri Nonprofits: Building Capacity for the 21st Century
  • Toward Equality of Access: The Role of Public Libraries in Addressing the Digital Divide
  • Making Cities Stronger:  Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development
  • Opportunity for All:  How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries
  • Confronting the Future:  Strategic Visions for the 21st Century Public Library
  • From Awareness to Funding: a Study of Library Support in America

It was determined that the library district should engage the assistance of a professional firm to assist us in the community engagement portion of the planning process. After a formal bid process, in October of 2013 Vector Communications was chosen to direct focus group meetings and surveys for the public, the staff and the Library Board of Trustees.

The focus groups consisted of: (2013-2014)

  • Dec 19 - Two meetings with library staff
  • Jan 30 - All management staff
  • Feb 11 - Adult patrons, Thornhill
  • Feb 13 - Teens, Tesson Ferry
  • Feb 19 - Adults, Headquarters
  • Feb 19 - Adults, Daniel Boone
  • Feb 22 - Teens, Florissant Valley
  • Feb 25 - Organizations, Headquarters
  • March 4 - Adults, Natural Bridge
  • March 5 - Adults, Cliff Cave
  • March 5 - Adults, Lewis & Clark
  • March 6 - Organizations, Headquarters

As an added opportunity to communicate with us on the development of the plan, online surveys for library staff, Library Board and patrons/non-patrons were conducted from March through April 2014.

In May, a Managers' Meeting with all supervisory staff used three strategic focus areas (Increase literacy, Strengthen sense of community and social connectedness, and Create gathering spaces) to begin developing goals for the 2015-2018 plan and discussed on mission and values, based on information gleaned from the focus groups and surveys.

An all-staff survey was disseminated in June to winnow down the choices of mission and values statements.

Planning Committee meetings were held in July to further develop goals and objectives.

Managers' Meetings (3) in August 2014 were conducted to assist us in determining action plans to accompany the formal plan.

In October 2014, the final draft of the 2015-2018 strategic plan was presented to all staff at our In-service Day and was taken to the Library Board for approval. The plan was approved by Board in their October Board meeting.


St. Louis County Library Mission

The mission of the St. Louis County Library District is to provide the resources and services to enrich individual minds, enhance lives and expand perspectives.

Enriching minds, Enhancing lives, Expanding perspectives



  • Customer service excellence: Committed to being the best at what we do
  • Lifelong learning: Creating access to experiences and ideas
  • Advocate for youth: Empowering children and supporting their development
  • Community engagement: Building and maintaining relationships
  • Integrity: Honoring the public's trust through wise stewardship


St. Louis County Library 2015-2018 Strategic Plan

Increase Literacy: We serve the community's literacy needs from babies to adults: we are the best resource for supporting individual growth.

  1. Foster the love of reading: Be the community's best resource to foster the love of reading.
    1. Support and expand readers' advisory services, both formal and informal
    2. Connect the community to new material with author events and marketing techniques
    3. Create and support book clubs to foster interaction around reading
  2. Support print literacy skills as a critical tool for successful lives.
    1. Create opportunities for the development of emergent literacy skills to support the development of the community's children
    2. Reach out to immigrants by supporting those learning English as a second language
    3. Provide resources for all new readers, regardless of age
  3. Provide opportunities for learning and skill development to support individual growth.
    1. Create learning opportunities that teach 21st century workforce skills

    2. Offer financial and investor education, especially to immigrant and low- income community members

    3. Provide the community with the technological resources and support to stay connected and informed

    4. Promote the well-being of our community through our programs and services

Strengthened sense of community and social connectedness: We understand the needs of our communities and look for ways to support and enrich the lives of our patrons by providing opportunities to gather and enjoy shared experiences.

  1. Provide excellent customer service that sets expectations and creates awareness.
    1. Cultivate a dialog between staff and the public to break down barriers and improve service
    2. Market the library to raise awareness within the community and beyond
  2. Respond to the unique character of our individual communities.
    1. Support a culture of inclusion throughout the organization
    2. Identify and engage the underserved
    3. Create dynamic and fun programs that provide for the social needs of the community.
  3. Meet the community where they are.
    1. Understand the barriers that keep people from visiting a branch
    2. Utilize best practices for making outreach effective and efficient
    3. Use outreach as a marketing tool for creating library champions throughout the community

Create Gathering Spaces:  We build community through our shared public space.

  1. Provide welcoming spaces that promote community.
    1. Create spaces and services that strengthen neighborhoods
    2. Provide spaces for specific needs, i.e. homework help, business meetings, crafts
    3. Provide safe places to visit and work
  2. Create spaces that inspire curiosity and foster creativity.
    1. Use architecture and design to make branches into destinations
    2. Remove barriers to flow throughout our buildings
    3. Utilize green space as an extension of our branches