Plainsboro Library is looking to develop a comprehensive strategic planning process to ensure that the library is meeting community needs for the next five years. As envisioned, the plan will examine Plainsboro’s growth patterns and demographics, identify services that will align with projected trends as well as new technologies, and identify funding needs for these services.
To that end, the library sent out a request for proposals seeking a consultant to assist the board of trustees, library staff, and the community in developing a comprehensive strategic plan that will include goals, measurable objectives, and strategies.
The board of trustees held a special meeting on May 27 to interview candidates for the position, with the hope that the chosen consultant could begin work in June, and the project, including a final presentation to the library board, foundation board, and staff must be fully completed by the end of December.
The board’s objectives for the strategic plan include ensuring that library services and resources are in line with patrons’ needs and expectations; the library maintains long-term financial viability; improvements are made in visibility, awareness, and communications to encourage increased patronage among residents; the library becomes better recognized as a community partner organization; and that the library offers a vibrant workplace that continues to attract and retain talented, creative, and service-oriented employees.
The library, which opened in its new location in 2010, is governed by a nine-member board appointed by Mayor Peter Cantu (who is also a trustee). The board also includes volunteers who live or work in Plainsboro, as well as elected officials,township employees, and the library director. It is staffed by 11 full-time and 30 part-time employees.
Its operating budget for the 2014 calendar year is $2,011,316, the majority of which is funded by municipal appropriations, this year amounting to $1,950,716. The Library Foundation, established in 2010, raises funds for special projects and capital expenditures.
In 2013 the library averaged more than 820 visitors a day, with nearly 1,000 per day during the summer months. The library owns approximately 150,000 books and periodicals. The library is not affiliated with the Middlesex County library system but does belong to the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium (LMxAC), which allows patrons to request items from other libraries.
Last year 1,269 library and community-sponsored programs were held at the library, and total program attendance was approximately 29,120.
The board is hoping to increase the level of participation, and part of the strategic plan project will include outreach to non-users to better develop programs and services to attract more community patrons.
In addition, the plan will seek to establish more fundraising avenues to enable the library to offer more programs and services, including technology upgrades, to retain current customers and attract new ones.