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Strategic Plan 2021-2026: Context & Process

STRATEGIC PLANNING CONTEXT

With stakeholders, we examined the political, economic, social, and technological factors influencing Randolph County, right now. Here’s what we heard:

• The county is large with many municipalities, urban/rural mix, and shifting demographics
• The county is in transition on many fronts – political, socio-economic, cultural
Economic development is challenging and workforce needs are changing
Educational attainment is low and poverty is high, both of which lead to associated health outcomes
• Some parts of the county are becoming retiree destinations, while some function as bedroom communities for surrounding counties
Few opportunities for black/brown residents to engage with civic life and thrive


With stakeholders, we also examined the state of the libraries from a high level, county-wide perspective. Here’s what we heard:

• Libraries operate in a complex, multi-jurisdictional ecosystem – and there’s a desire for more unity and efficiency.
• Individual municipalities have great pride in their community libraries – and there’s a desire for more cohesiveness and consistency.
• Programming and outreach is appreciated and valued – and more can be done to meet community needs and advance community outcomes.
• Library is one of few educational/cultural institutions in Randolph County – and library locations can be a source of connection, identity, and pride.

 

With staff, we turned inward and assessed our strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing us and our community:

• Our strengths include a welcoming and friendly staff who enjoy personal relationships with users, a positive reputation in the community, a wide variety of collections, and responsive services, especially during COVID.
• Our weaknesses include a lack of connection with Black and Latino families, a lack of diverse staff, outdated, crowded spaces, and a lack of strategic marketing.
• The opportunities we identified include engagement with Black and Latino families, building relationships and partnerships with local agencies and nonprofits, and playing a key role in education, both formal and informal.
• The challenges include the continuing uncertainty and recovery from the pandemic, the lack of local media outlets, and the lack of Internet access in many parts of the county.


With our community survey, we turned outward and asked residents about how they use the libraries now and what they would like to see in the future:

• A large majority of the 500+ respondents use the library frequently, citing weekly or monthly visits.
• Of those frequent users, the most used service is checking out materials for adults, with checking out materials for children being second.
• A large number of respondents also cited virtual services, library spaces, and computers/WiFi as reasons they use the library.
• Infrequent library users said that inconvenient hours were the main reason they did not visit the library often.

STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

Phase 1

• Analysis of library data and county demographics
• Steering Committee formation and kickoff
• Individual interviews with 20+ elected and appointed officials

Phase 2

• Individual interviews with 16 branch and division managers
• 3 focus groups with 20+ staff

Phase 3

• 3 regional focus groups with 16 participants
• 15+ individual interviews with community leaders
500+ survey responses

Phase 4

• 4 action planning workshops with staff
• 3 action planning sessions with Board, Friends, Steering Committee