Evaluating the strategic plans of public libraries: An inspection-based approach



Buchanan S & Cousins F (2012) Evaluating the strategic plans of public libraries: An inspection-based approach. Library & Information Science Research, 34 (2), pp. 125-130.

For public libraries, as with most organizations, effective strategic planning is critical to longevity, facilitating cohesive and coordinated responses to ever present and ever changing political, economic, social, and technological (PEST) forces which shape and influence direction. Strategic planning is widely recognized as a challenging activity, however, which can be both time consuming and unproductive, and there exists limited guidance regarding how to evaluate documented and disseminated strategic plans, particularly within the not-for-profit sector. In response, this research proposes and tests an inspection-based approach to the evaluation of strategic plans, based upon a rubric specifying the key attributes of each of the core components of a plan, combined with an appropriate assessment scale. The rubric provides a method to identify and assess completeness of strategic plan, extending to qualitative assessment of communication aspects such as specification and terminology, and synergistic aspects such as cohesion and integration. In the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, the method is successfully trialed across the devolved Scottish public library sector, with the strategic plans of 28 of the 32 regional networks evaluated. Of the 28 plans, 17, or 61%, were found to be incomplete and/or to contain contradictory or uncoordinated components. It is recommended that Scottish public libraries improve not only completeness of plans, but also their precision, specificity, explicitness, coordination, and consistency, and overall mapping to library services. Recommendations are made for further widespread application of the rubric.

Library and Information Sciences; Information Systems

Library & Information Science Research: Volume 34, Issue 2

FundersUniversity of Strathclyde
Publication date30/04/2012
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Steven Buchanan

Professor Steven Buchanan

Professor in Comms., Media and Culture, Communications, Media and Culture