The Western Manitoba Regional Library completed the term of its first ever Strategic Planning Document at the end of 2017; this document was a three year plan for the years 2014-2017. Appointed to the position of Chief Librarian in the fall of 2012, I oversaw the development and execution of the strategic goals of this plan.
Strategic Goal One called for enhancing the financial sustainability of the library system. This meant an examination of the funds coming into the library system and a realization that in order sustainability meant that funding needed to be increased in relation to increased costs for resources and wages.
Strategic Goal Two called for a stable, highly qualifed and motivated workforce that actively delivers the WMRL's mission to enrich lives and strengthen communities by providing universal access to broad and diverse collections of resources relevant and responsive to community needs. Staffing changes meant that "stability" was a challenge, but these changes also created the opportunity to fill positions in such a way as to reflect the changing needs of the WMRL and the communities it serves. One of the most significant changes was at the administrative level as the position of Assistant Librarian was reconfigured from a position that included a wide range of tasks to a position focused on programming and outreach services. Changes in Branch Administrative staff brought new ideas to our locations in Neepawa, Hartney, and Glenboro. The involvement of staff in programming and collection management tasks brought both increased knowledge and engagement.
Strategic Goal Three called for broadening and strengthening WMRL's visibility in the communties served; this goal saw increased advertising and marketing campaigns and active community outreach. An updated logo appeared on exterior signage, cloth library bags, library pens, banners, posters and social media posts. Library staff reached out to offer services to residents of nursing homes and hosted displays at community events.
Strategic Goal Four called for expanded delivery of library programs and services through effective use of innovative technology. The delivery of this goal saw the introduction of various resources that provided library access 24/7:
- The WMRL app that put your library @ your fingertips
- The development of an Advantage collection within eLibraries Manitoba
- A language learning program called Mango
- The introduction of hoopla that enabled borrowers to "instantly borrow free digital movies, music, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your library card"
- Tumblebooks offering online stories and activities for children
- Flipster -- providing digital access to magazines
- An updated website that included an events calendar and visual display opportunities
- Establishment of an active presence on social media sites
We appreciate the support of the communities that our libraries serve as we look forward to continuing to provide responsive service to you.