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Spokane Public Library Strategic Plan



We provide the power to read, learn and discover!



We value:


        Access to Information

        Intellectual Freedom

        Individual Differences

        Personal and Organizational Accountability

        Individual Pursuit of Learning



Spokane Public Library responds to community needs by providing:


        Relevant books, programs and other resources

        Courteous, respectful service

        An inviting and welcoming environment


In order to fulfill the mission of responding to community needs, SPL solicits ongoing feedback from the citizens in the following ways: surveys, suggestion boxes, web site comments, focus groups, direct feedback during library presentations in the community, and comments in person in the libraries and in the community.


Overwhelmingly, what we hear is that people love their library service and they want more: more open hours, more materials, more computers.


SPL will continue to provide as much service as our budget will allow and in addition we would like to maximize our service to the community by increasing usage of existing services and reaching even more people.  We will do this by accomplishing the following objectives:


  Increase the visibility of popular materials at the Downtown Library
Many customers have limited time to spend in the library and they would like to more easily locate audiobooks and other popular materials on the second floor instead of having to go to the third floor for these materials.


  Provide a wide variety of services via the web site, creating an online branch
As more and more customers access the library online they would like to see even more services available remotely, such as, but not limited to: e-books, online card applications, and online card renewals.


  Increase the percentage of circulation that is done through self-checkout
As customers become more self-reliant it will mean that fewer staff members are able to be on duty at any given time.  They can then be redeployed to serve the public over more open hours.


  Determine how the East Side branch can increase usage by responding to community needs
The circulation and gate count at the branch are low compared to other branches leading to the conclusion that the branch may not be meeting the needs of the community.  We will facilitate a dialog with the neighborhood residents and other agencies to determine how the library can better serve the area.


  Move toward the industry standard of spending 15% of the total budget on materials.  The goal for this strategic plan period over three years is 13%
It is generally accepted that a public library should expend approximately 15% of its total budget expenditures for library materials in order to adequately serve its customers.  Spokane Public Library is budgeted to spend 11.3% in 2008.


  Investigate the feasibility of establishing “hot titles” collections at all library branches
A “hot titles” collection is defined as multiple copies of current trade and mass market paperback bestsellers located in attractive displays near the circulation desk.  It is expected that the easy access to these demonstrated high interest titles will provide increased circulation as it has in other Washington libraries.


  Examine adult collection development processes for East Side, Hillyard, and Indian Trail including weeding and selection recommendations
There is insufficient staff time to manage the adult collections at these locations so they become crowded and unattractive.  Weeded collections can lead to greater circulation and room can be made for more materials desired by the community.


  Continue the plan to incrementally increase library open hours
Spokane Public Library’s open hours are far below industry standards due to budget cutbacks.  Customers still find the hours inconvenient at four out of six branches.


  Use community outreach to further awareness of library services
In order to create new library customers we must reach out to people beyond the library walls.  In addition to creating new customers it is important that all citizens know the value of the library so that they feel supportive of the library even if they do not use it.


  Provide more Internet access in the library branches
Public libraries have become identified as places where people who don’t have access to their own computer can get Internet access.  There are frequently times when people cannot use a computer without a lengthy wait.  Federal, state and local governments expect public libraries to be able to provide universal access.


  Migrate to a new integrated library automation system
The Library’s intended integrated library system migration path is no longer an option with the vendor’s cancellation of Horizon 8.  The vendor reports that they will continue to support our current system (Horizon 7.4.1) for the next 4-5 years but no major improvements or enhancements will be provided after 2008.  Therefore the improvements we need and the features customers want are not possible with our current system.


  Investigate methods to improve the Internet computer reservation process
An improved reservation process would provide better customer service and increase the customers’ ability to be self sufficient.  Statistics indicate that considerable staff time is spent assisting customers with the current reservation process.


  Improve service by approaching the customers to offer help rather than waiting for them to approach the reference desk
Many customers do not wish to approach reference staff at the desk and page staff are routinely asked questions while they are shelving materials.  It may provide better customer service to offer reference assistance to customers wherever they are in the buildings.









City of Spokane


Spokane Public Library • 906 W. Main Spokane, WA 99201 • 509.444.5300


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