Planning: Webinar Follow-up

Thank you to Alexis Caudell, Director of the Mitchell Community Library (IN) for sharing her planning experiences and expertise during today's "Planning: A Small Library's Strategies for Tech Success" webinar! If you missed the webinar, but are interested in a thoughtful approach to technology planning, you'll definitely want to check out the recording and the resources.

Four Facets of Planning

Alexis said that as she considered her approach to technology planning, she realized there were four common threads:

  • Planning is constant.
  • We need to think both big scale and small scale.
  • Consider the needs of people (both patrons and employees).
  • We have to be willing to adapt and adjust all the time.

Access. Literacy. Curiosity. Community.

The busy small-town library is located in Mitchell, Indiana, serving a population of 12,009 across three rural townships. After getting input from the community in various ways, including forums with representatives from the school, business, social services organizations, planners were able to identify four key areas of service:

  1. Connect to the online world: public internet access and education
  2. Create young readers: early literacy
  3. Satisfy curiousity: lifelong learners
  4. Know your community: community resources and services

The plan of service that was developed outlines more specific goals and plans related to those key areas of service. The attractive service plan was created using Instant Flipbook.

Carefully consider the phrasing of survey and focus group questions. Getting community and staff input was vitally important. When discussing the challenges related to asking people what they need, Alexis quoted Steve Jobs, "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times people don't know what they want until you show it to them." Steve Jobs, Business Week, May 25, 1998.

Resources from Alexis



  • Strategic Planning for Results by Sandra Nelson ISBN 9780838935736    
  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen ISBN 978-0142000281 
  • Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age by Virgina Eubanks ISBN 978-0262014984

Additional Resources

Library Edge Benchmark 7

Today's webinar was one of a series of webinars we're offering in collaboration with the Library Edge Initiative. The Edge Initiative is a coalition of leading library and local government organizations. With extensive input from libraries around the country, the Edge Initiative has created benchmarks that can be used by libraries to evaluate and improve technology services. There are 11 benchmarks and today's session was based on Benchmark 7, which includes: Libraries integrate public access technology into planning and policies.