A Strategic Plan Worth Exploring – Transforming Communities

Where did January go? Oh, I know! Any month when we experience snow on the ground in all 50 states at once is sure to fly by in a blur. Each year I find the time between semesters to revisit goals and refashion them, if necessary, to accommodate progress made during the first semester. With this thought process in mind, I was happy to read Diana Rendina’s KQ post about taking stock at midyear to set you, your library, and your community up for greater success for the second half of the school year. This month I also enjoyed reading more about the newly released strategic plan for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). I hope you will follow the links above to see Diana’s post and the IMLS plan for yourself if you have yet to do so.

The IMLS strategic plan, Transforming Communities, is in place for 2018-2022. The plan begins with an enthralling mission, vision, and values statements. What I found most compelling about the plan, and what I want to be sure school librarians are aware of, are the four goals of the plan:

  1. Promote Lifelong Learning
  2. Build Capacity
  3. Increase Public Access
  4. Achieve Excellence

These goals are broad, and the IMLS plan provides more detail with their objectives for each goal, but I continue to be struck by how the plan’s goals mirror what I tried to do when I was in practice and what I discuss with my preservice librarians in class each semester now. As you shift gears into February, think about a short-range goal that fits into one of the IMLS goals and then email me to celebrate once you’ve accomplished it. You may even think about sharing the IMLS plan highlights with your library advisory committee as a point of discussion for your next meeting.

Federal support for libraries has been in place for over 60 years. Many IMLS-supported programs allow school libraries to provide vital services to communities across the country each day. As you may have seen in your inbox or social media feed, the ALA Washington Office is asking all library supporters to contact senators to broaden support for the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017. You can read more about the act in the District Dispatch. Most importantly, libraries deserve a federal agency to administer the vital federal funds needed to provide innovative services to our communities. Once you have emailed your senators, I challenge you to ask three colleagues, neighbors, and friends to do the same. Let’s help our elected officials remember that we expect continued federal support for the institutions who ensure equity and access for communities across the nation.


Author: Steven Yates, 2017-2018 AASL President

Steven Yates is an assistant professor and coordinator of the school library media certification program at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama. He earned a doctor of philosophy in instructional leadership with an emphasis in instructional technology in 2017.

Categories: Community, Presidential Musings

1 reply

  1. I have been contemplating how to “promote life long learning” this past month because it is goal writing time. Your post could not have arrived at a better time. Thank you so much for gathering these helpful resources and encouraging us to plan for the future.

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