Yes, your library needs a strategic plan. I liken a plan to road map. You need to have one so you know where you’re going, and be able to measure your progress toward getting there. You also need one so you can demonstrate to your municipality that you are spending their tax dollars wisely.
You all probably know that plans typically include vision and mission statements, and goals and objectives. Many of us have trouble writing and defining these, and many of us get them mixed up. Recently I read the post “A Big Goal is Not the Same as a Vision” on Jesse Lyn Stoner’s blog, and I must say, I found it helpful, so I hope you do too.
Vision is not about the path, it’s about the destination. As you take each step, the next step becomes clear as long as you stay focused on your vision.
Goals quantify and define the steps you must take. They are the signposts that let you know you are moving in the right direction. They are measurable and answer questions like When? and How much? (rather than Why? which is addressed by your vision).
A vision is enduring and provides clarity for the next step. A goal ends.
One way to distinguish between a vision and a goal is to ask, “What’s next?” A vision provides clear ongoing direction—it is clear what you should do next. As you take each step, the next one becomes clear. A vision continues to act as a beacon, guiding you in setting new goals once current ones have been achieved.
No matter how big a goal is, it is still a goal, not a vision. Do read the post and the comments and let me know if you found them helpful!