Long Range Plan

Strategic Plan, 2017-2019 : Executive Summary

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2017-2019

Executive Summary

Process Overview

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2017-2019

Executive Summary

Process Overview

The Strategic Planning Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Library Board of Trustees, made up of current and past representatives of the Board, the Library Director and members of the public, began to meet in November, 2014 with the goal of developing a plan for library operation for the future.   The Plan updates the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan and again covers a period of three years.    The drafting process included consideration of current and emerging library trends, recognition of the library’s strengths and weaknesses, identification of our stakeholders, seeking community input and developing the Plan.  The Plan reflects the priorities of the Scarborough community.

In the first few meetings, the team focused on gaining a high-level understanding of current and possible future states of public libraries.  It reviewed nation-wide studies and narratives about current and projected library usage, statistical summaries about the town of Scarborough and information about local library use.  The Committee also surveyed the Library staff for their expert opinions on current and future services and how they see their role in the Library’s mission.  Working with the Committee, the Board of Trustees reviewed and revised the Library’s Vision, Values and Mission statements.  The Board also conducted a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis to further understand the Library’s current and possible future states.

The Committee identified stakeholders in the Library’s success.  Early on the Committee decided that stakeholders included community members who don’t currently use the Library and developed a single questionnaire aimed at both library cardholders and non-cardholders.  On Election Day, 2015 the Committee had a display at the town polling site to engage as many members of the Scarborough community as possible, including those who may not have a library card.  Emails addresses were solicited from voters as they exited the polling area.

The survey was sent out electronically to both library card-holders and those who shared their email addresses at the polls. In addition, library patrons were invited to complete the survey by hand in the library over a week.  All told, the Committee received over 660 survey responses.

In addition to surveys, the Committee identified representatives of various community interests and met with them in a series of focus groups.  The focus groups included business interests, seniors, educators, the Friends of the Library, teens, local government representatives, the general public and the Library staff.  As part of the process, the Library Director and Board Chair led a workshop with the Scarborough Town Council.

Using the results of all the data gathered, including but not limited to the overview of library trends, updated Vision, Value and Mission statements, and community input through surveys and focus groups, the Committee identified specific themes; these themes became Strategic Priorities.  The Committee then developed specific goals from the themes.  The Library staff, who will be charged with implementing most of the Priorities, developed specific, measurable action steps to implement these goals.  The Plan includes objectives, or active statements, and assigns responsibility for completion, a time frame, necessary resources and measurement criteria.  The timeline for the Plan is 2017-2019.

A Note on Library Expansion

One of the themes that the Strategic Planning Committee identified as flowing through the feedback we received from the Scarborough community, perhaps the most common theme, is the need to expand the library.  Many of the surveys and virtually all of the focus group discussion identified space issues.  For example, the need for more quiet space came up frequently, as did the need for additional, and larger, meeting space.

Our current library building opened in 1990.  The facility was originally intended to serve the needs of the town of Scarborough for a limited period of time with the realization that as the town of Scarborough grew, the Library would eventually need to expand to continue to serve the community’s needs.  While the Library always had an eye to the future, it was designed and built at a time when the library primarily functioned as a book-lender and the collection was organized with a card catalog.
Since then, the role of the library has expanded to include providing access to technology, extensive cultural and educational programming and community meeting space (among many other things).  The Scarborough Public Library has adapted over time to perform all of these functions and much more in a facility that was not designed for them.  And, as anticipated, our town has continued to grow. 

In 2002 the Board of Trustees undertook several studies to identify space deficiencies and operational inefficiencies in the current building so that planning might begin for the next decade of growth in the community.  That planning effort continued in 2004 with the hiring of an architect to conduct an existing conditions study and develop architectural plans for an expansion.  In June 2006 voters narrowly defeated a proposed expansion and renovation of the existing library.

As a result of feedback from the community gathered over the last year-plus, the Scarborough Public Library Board of Trustees has determined that the time is right to explore expanding the library.  The goal of any library expansion is to update our current Library to more adequately meet today’s needs and provide flexibility for the future.  We look forward to partnering with the Scarborough community as we explore possible options.


The Board of Trustees wishes to thank the hundreds of people from the town of Scarborough who provided feedback during this process through surveys, focus groups and general conversations.  The purpose of the Plan is to set your Library’s course for the next few years and we thank you for your time and willingness to share what is important to you.

In addition, the Board is grateful for the input from Library staff.  They are on the front lines and we could not have gotten far without their hard work and eagerness to help.

Finally, the Board extends its gratitude to Nancy Crowell, Library Director, for her tireless energy, boundless enthusiasm, sound insights and her deep institutional knowledge in working through this process.

Strategic Plan, 2017-2019 : Priorities and Goals

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2020 Update

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2020 Update

Priorities & Goals

  1. Provide access to high quality services and collections 
    1. Provide access in multiple formats - Ongoing 
    2. Promote resources for independent and formal learning 
    3. Maximize user experience of high-speed Internet access (MSLN) 
    4. Review library hours to improve patron access 
    5. Community Cloud space
  2. Promote opportunities for curiosity, entertainment, and life-long learning 
    1. Support early childhood learning
    2. Coordinate summer learning opportunities with educators and commercial programs 
    3. Identify and meet the needs of newcomers 
    4. Promote customized digital learning (courses and locations), promote Library Resources over other products 
    5. Promote job skills and resources 
    6. Provide teen life-skills support (money management, babysitting, college prep.) 
    7. Provide senior computer/technology and enrichment series 
  3. Engage the community in developing and promoting resources and partnership opportunities
    1. Civic engagement - public affairs: expand opportunities for conversation (use media) 
    2. Volunteer Service Coordination 
    3. Multi-generational programming
    4. Business partnerships 
    5. Identify new opportunities to promote the library with users and non-users 
  4. Provide a versatile, welcoming, collaborative, and safe space that serves as an anchor for the community 
    1. Develop plan for Library Expansion 
    2. Provide business support services 
    3. Define the Library's role as a cultural center and develop an appropriate response 
    4. Define what a maker space for our Library might include 
  5. Ensure a strong, helpful, and customer-focused organization 
    1. Support staff development including providing appropriate time and space  
    2. Develop a succession plan for Library Director 
    3. Provide diversity training to the staff and board 
    4. Review mission in regard to Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion 


Strategic Plan, 2012-2015

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2012-2015
Strategic Priorities

Scarborough Public Library
Strategic Plan 2012-2015
Strategic Priorities

  1. Improve access to services and collections
    1. Examine policies and procedures related to services
    2. Examine policies and procedures related to use of services
    3. Examine policies and procedures related to use of facilities
    4. Review selection, purchasing and processing procedures for fastest delivery to the user
    5. Support excellence in customer relations
    6. Increase means for patrons’ access to collections and services
    7. Identify barriers to patrons’ access to collections and services
    8. Make a plan to reduce barriers
    9. Implement plan to reduce barriers
  2. Provide materials in formats that respond to the wishes of the community
    1. Examine policies and procedures related to acquisition of collections
    2. Determine current formats through measurement of existing collections and identifying what’s missing
    3. Acquire materials commensurate with demand 
  3. Evaluate facilities and technologies to support services
    1. Review existing facilities evaluations
    2. Identify current deficiencies
    3. Develop scope and schedule for correction of deficiencies
    4. Maintain and upgrade technologies to support the best user experience and to improve staff efficiency
    5. Provide safe, healthy and esthetically pleasing environment
  4. Provide exceptional programming that meets the interests and needs of the community
    1. Identify barriers and strategies for overcoming these barriers
    2. Identify and engage partners for success
    3. Identify trends and opportunities for future services
  5. Promote Awareness and Use of the Library
    1. Create comprehensive marketing plan
    2. Review role of staff in ongoing promotion
    3. Articulate Library’s role in the community
  6. Maximize Resources
    1. Identify resources and gaps
    2. Increase fundraising and development activities: Planned Giving Campaign 
    3. Develop partnerships especially those that are mutually beneficial to all participants 
    4. Conduct a “return on investment” analysis 
  7. Review internal organizational structure
    1. Align job descriptions and duties with organization’s goals 
    2. Review best practices for services and design staff training program 
    3. Create succession plan for key staff
    4. Review strategic intent statements: mission, vision, values, goals 




The Strategic Planners, an ad hoc committee of the Library Board of Trustees and the Library Director, began to meet weekly in November, 2011 to develop a plan for library operation for the future. The plan was expected to cover a period extending three years but the committee chose not to fix the duration to encourage discussion of a longer view of five to ten years as well. The process was to include a review of the community, consideration of current and emerging library trends, recognition of the library’ strengths and weaknesses, identification of our “stakeholder”, and feedback opportunities through focus groups, surveys and conversations with users and non-­‐users.

In the first months of meetings, the committee read materials on library and technology trends. It reviewed statistical summaries from the Census and reports of library use. The Library staff was surveyed for opinions on current and future services and how they see their role in the organization’s mission.

The committee members identified stakeholders in the Library’s success and met with groups from the community to learn what current services and features are most valued. Focus group participants were also asked to suggest improvements and changes that might strengthen the library’s role in the community. Participants were selected based on their affiliation with a stakeholder group and were not necessarily active library users. Facilitation was provided by Karen Martin, Communications Director for SEDCO.

A series of surveys gathered information from library users. These electronic surveys were distributed through the Library’s website and to email addresses of library card holders. Parents of story time attendees were surveyed during their visit about their experience with youth services. Additional surveys similar to the online survey were offered to other visitors during the same period. The Youth Services Librarian also interviewed middle school students to collect their perspective on library services.

The Board of Trustees reviewed the existing Vision and Mission statements. A new Vision Statement and the Library’s first Values Statement were added to the existing Mission Statement. They were aided in this discussion by Dana Morris-­‐Jones and John Shorb of the Delphi Group. The Board also conducted a SWOT (strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) exercise.

Again, using the results of all of the data gathered, a list of themes was created. These became the basis for the seven Strategic Priorities. The Priorities were divided among the Board Committees and the Library Staff. These groups developed their assigned areas into a Work Plan with Goals reflecting the Priorities. The Plan includes objectives, or active statements, and assigns responsibility for completion, a time frame, resources needed, and measurement criteria. The time frame for the Work Plan is 2012-­‐2015.


The Scarborough Public Library Board of Trustees wishes to thank the Committee members who demonstrated their intelligence, creativity, loyalty, and persistence.
The Strategic Planning Committee: Nancy Kelleher, Co-Chair, Anne Janak, Co‐Chair, Susan Trent, Patsy Wiggins, Kevin Carbin, Emily Read, Nancy Crowell, Library Director

The Committee is grateful to:

Library Director, Nancy Crowell, for her guidance throughout the process. She scheduled the meetings, provided the committee with outside resources
and examples, skillfully took notes at the Focus Group meetings, and provided motivation to the group.

Focus Group Moderator: Karen Martin, Communications Manager for SEDCO

Consultants: Dana Morris-Jones and John Shorb, The Delphi Group Library 

Department Heads: Susan Winch, Joshua Tiffany, Catherine Morrison, Louise Capizzo, and Nancy Crowell, Director.

Library Staff: Gail Dobriko, Karen Spak, Denise Menard, Leo Salvato, Jr, Joshua Meyer, Joshua Tiffany, Emma Gibbon, Lauren Isele, Brenda Birkner, Christie Stuntz, Celeste Shinay, Marilyn Taylor, Linda Herrick, Susan Karam, Mary Porada, Jeffrey Ertman.

Focus Groups:

Town Council, February 15, 2012: Jim Benedict, Jessica Holbrook, Judy Roy, Carol Rancourt, Tom Hall, Town Manager.

Business, March 2, 2012: Stu Axelrod, Casella Waste; Jim Elkins, Career Planning Services; Guy Gledhill, Real Estate Broker, RE/MAX; Norm Forgey, Maine Day Trips; Jim Damicis, Camoine Associates; Karen Martin, SEDCO.

Education, March 8, 2012: Barbara Merritt, Christine Koch, Peggy Wallace, Martha Whitton, Karen Rand, Joyce Wheeler, Monique Culbertson, Patrick Reagan, John Thurlow.

Senior Services, March 16, 2012: Mary Celia O’Neil, Hospice of Southern Maine; Ken Libby, Maudie Libby, Senior citizens; Debbie DiDominicus, Southern Maine Agency on Aging; Debbie Jones, Scarborough

Community Services; Ginny Ketch, Piper Shores; Joe Giacomantonio, Scarborough Police Department.

Friends of the Library, March 23, 2012: Beth Bellemere, Pat Buttner, Jim Czimbal, Bert Follansbee, Maurissa Guibord, Lee Jones, Jack Kelley, Casey McKeown, Deb Pierce, Sybil Riemenschneider, Marjorie Rosenbaum, Bob Lynn

General Public, March 30, 2012: Bruce Gullifer, Scarborough Community Services; Rich Spies, Tilson Technology; Stan Gawron, Gawron Turgeon Architects; Dick Cervizzi, former library attorney; Tim Byrne, Tim Byrne Photography; Bud Hanson, Community Volunteer.

And our thanks to the hundreds of people who completed our surveys.