Integrated Library Planning: A New Model for Strategic and Dynamic Planning, Management, and Assessment

Association of College & Research Libraries. May 2023. 160p. ISBN 9780838939376. $62. PRO MEDIA
Stephens (theological bibliography, Lancaster Theological Seminary; coeditor, Shifting Stacks) offers a departure from traditional strategic planning methods. The author notes that many strategic plans adhere to a predetermined, fixed-length approach, making it nearly impossible to account for new information and differing opinions. Her strategy is ongoing, accounts for change, and incorporates input from all stakeholders; it is integrated in terms of both the people involved (not restricted to upper administration) and the nature of the process, which is interwoven into regular library operations. Although some aspects of Stephens’s model may seem familiar (e.g., employing a SWOT matrix, writing departmental goals), the focus is critically different, as goals, outcomes, and gathered information may be revisited when new information comes to light. A central feature is the monthly review cycle, a process that facilitates communication, provides opportunities for assessment, and supports responsive, flexible planning. The work is augmented with case studies, charts, and sample documents to assist library planners in tailoring strategic plans to their institution’s needs.
VERDICT Stephens’s innovative approach to strategic planning is a game-changer, with the potential to increase engagement, effectiveness, and financial accountability. A generative, inclusive approach for libraries of all sizes and types.
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