Library strategic planning expert David Bendekovic led all GCPL staff in exercises to help them envision the community they want to live in.

As 2018 gets underway, GCPL is engaging the community in an active strategic planning process. This project has been on my mind since I was hired in 2015. What kind of a community do our patrons want? How can GCPL facilitate those desires? When voters passed the bond issue in 2017, our strong suspicions were confirmed that people want safe and modern physical spaces. To ensure that GCPL is a vital resource to the community for years to come, we secured Board approval last year to begin strategic planning that will ensure that our goals are in line with the vision of the entire community.

To achieve this level of understanding, we are facilitating a series of community conversations throughout our service area. During these discussions, library staff will connect with and listen to the people who live, work, learn, and play here, including those who are hard to reach or seldom heard. Don’t be surprised if a shelver, circulation clerk or reference librarian asks you what you care about in a library and how you see GCPL fulfilling those desires of what a strong, vibrant community can be. We want to hear from you.

The entire strategic planning process can take up to six months to complete, but it is essential that we take the time to reach out to the community and engage people in learning their vision of the community of their dreams. We need to understand what people want so we can create library spaces, programs and a collection that supports those desires. These conversations are being scheduled now, and as soon as we have dates and locations, we will post this information on our website as well share in social media and send to the press.

We are working with David Bendekovic, a strategic planning expert who specializes in working with libraries. His company, The B.A. David Company, has helped hundreds of libraries throughout the United States and Canada. The formal process began this week when we brought all 200 employees to the Administrative Center in Chardon in four separate sessions to share how the process will work. Everyone shared their personal aspirations as well as what those of our ideal library system could be. The results were inspired! Take a look at some of the photos to get an idea of the energizing potential of this process.

I’m extremely proud and excited to be working on a project of this scope, and am committed to building the best library system we can to serve the Geauga County community far into the future.