Putting the finishing touches on your plan?  Here are some tips to help you in the final stages to design an excellent strategic plan that will inspire your staff, guide your activities, and impress your community.

Use plain language.  Keep your plan concise and conversational. Organize information clearly with headers.  Use bullet-points.  Make content pop-out.  Avoid library jargon. Learn more at: plainlanguage.gov: “Plain language makes it easier for the public to read, understand, and use government communications.”

Design a beautiful plan.  You can keep your plan simple with mostly text and a couple images such as your library’s logo and a photo on your title page.  Or, you can spice it up and create a very colorful plan with lots of images and infographics. For some inspiration, I’d like to share some examples of colorful plans with excellent design.  Shoot for the stars!


Express gratitude.  Thank people who helped with your plan such as staff, trustees, consultants, and others.  Writing a thank you note is a scientifically proven mood-booster and also generates support for your library. A win-win!

Make sure to have a colleague review your plan.  The Massachusetts Library System Consultants are available to review your plan.  Reach out to Kristi Chadwick or me/Michelle Eberle if you would like us to review your plan before you submit it to the MBLC.  You could also ask a trusted colleague, ideally a library director from a similar community who is experienced with strategic planning.

Get official approval.  Libraries need to submit a cover letter with a signature from the board of trustees for public libraries; principal, superintendent, or school committee for school libraries; dean, provost, or other administrator for academic libraries; or executive for special libraries.  

Provide your trustees/governing body with enough time to offer feedback. Ideally, provide at least 2-3 weeks for input and approval.  If you are running behind schedule or your trustees/governing body ask for changes that you need more time to consider, in some situations the MBLC will allow for extensions on the deadline.  Contact Rob Favini, at MBLC, with any questions about the MBLC approval process.

Keep the deadline in mind. If you are planning to apply for MBLC LSTA funding or construction funds next year, then your library needs to have a strategic plan on file with MBLC.  The official deadline is October 1st, but there is some flexibility for libraries with new directors, construction, or other issues. If you are not applying for LSTA or construction funds, you can submit your plan anytime!

Create a mini-guide or token of appreciation.  Ensure that your plan is put into action.  The Salt Lake City Library put together this fun field guide.  You could keep it simple and print a mini-card with strategic priorities for staff.  It’s helpful to have a visual reminder of goals. You might even purchase a token of appreciation for your staff, like a custom mug or water bottle highlighting the library’s goals/priorities. Pick something that staff will want to use often and keep handy.

Share your plan with your community. Put together a shorter version of your plan with just your mission and/or vision, goals/strategic priorities to post on your library’s website and share with your community.  Make sure to present your plan at community meetings and spread word about the library’s new strategic initiatives.  Example:  Phoenix Public Library

Celebrate your plan!  Gather with staff and stakeholders to celebrate completing your plan and get your staff and community excited about moving forward to reach the library’s goals!  At my previous position, we had an ice cream social to celebrate our library’s strategic plan and it was lots of fun.  

Would you like to consult about strategic planning?  Reach out to MLS Strategic Planning Consultants, Kristi Chadwick and me/Michelle Eberle for support.  Reach out to Rob Favini (MBLC) with any questions about the MBLC approval process.