Navigating the Future: A Strategic Plan for
Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library
“Navigating the Future: A Strategic Plan for Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library” summarizes a year of self study and input from community town meetings, staff, Friends, elected officials and the Board of Trustees. It bridges the library’s past to its future.
The library began in 1794; in 1962 it was designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one of 27, now 29, district library centers throughout the state. In 1968 a merger established the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library (MC-NPL) with its current three role structure: local library with its four branches; county library servicing municipalities where no state aided library exits; and lastly, district library supporting the work of all independent public libraries in Montgomery County and the Borough of Telford. In each of its roles as a local library, as county library and as a district center, MC-NPL, faces serious challenges for the future.
- MC-NPL should function as the facilitator and gateway to information
- Current services, collections, programs and funding are not sufficient to meet needs throughout the County
- Public funding levels are unpredictable and may decline
- MC-NPL needs to better explain its funding structure so that county and local residents understand how the library is funded
- MC-NPL must partner with community groups and business to address community issues
- MC-NPL must enhance its role as direct educator and must increase its support for lifelong learners, parents, teens, young children and students
- MC-NPL’s services need to reflect changes in the county population trends, e.g. geographic, economic and ethnic
New vision and mission statements provide direction for future library development.
- Our vision:
The MC-NPL, will be an integral part of all that happens in our communities and county. Peoples’ lives will improve because they have convenient, expanded access to quality library services and resources.
- Our mission:
MC-NPL, a gateway to lifelong learning, provides convenient access to resources that inform, educate, entertain, and enrich people’s lives.
The strategic plan provides a basis for future development of Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library through 2008. The plan establishes goals that address several major areas:
- There are geographic areas of the county that are underserved by the library; these have resulted from population shifts
- The technological information revolution impacts the library as a result of the expectations of its potential users and in response to the widening technological divide in its service area
- Increasing demands for information strain the space resources of buildings in need of renovation to create friendlier environments with space for community groups, programs and activities
- The library needs to encourage Internet use of its resources
- Montgomery County has an increasing population for whom English is a second language. This diversity should be reflected in the collection and in the staff.
- The library and its staff are dedicated to partnering with community organizations to assist with activities consistent with its mission
- As a district library, MC-NPL will strengthen its leadership role in the development of service priorities with the district libraries
The vision of “Navigating the Future” is the creation of a library that is relevant and responsive to community needs. This challenge can be met best by the creation of secure and stable private and public funding sources. At the start of the study few envisioned the desperate financial issues that might threaten library services starting in 2003. The document directs attention to the needs of lifelong learners, teens, young children, teachers and parents. It encourages fuller participation of the Board of Trustees in its representation of all segments of the population and its interaction with the Branch Boards. Staff and the trustees are committed to a review of the library policies with a view to removing obstacles to library use and to implementing its new vision and mission in order to serve the public for the next hundred years.