Berks county public libraries

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Revisions adopted 6/16/10


  2. Long-Range Plan, 2009-2011

This Plan was originally adopted by the Board in November 2008. Since that time, several significant changes have occurred in both the Library System and the Commonwealth. Those changes include the loss of our Community Bookmobile and outreach programs, the relocation of System Headquarters, reductions in hours and staffing at many System member locations, and drastic cuts in funding and access services from Commonwealth Libraries.

  1. Vision Statement

  1. The public libraries of Berks County are committed to the provision of consistent, high-quality service to county residents of all ages. Library staff and trustees respond to changing needs through state-of-the-art technologies, up-to-date collections, centralized support services, and an exacting standard of user satisfaction.

  1. Mission Statement

  1. The mission of Berks County Public Libraries is countywide development, coordination, and promotion of public library services. BCPL is an advocate for the library and information service needs of all of the people of Berks County, providing leadership and technical expertise for improvement of library services through strengthening of its member libraries and library resources.

  1. Values

  1. Free and equitable access to library materials and services is essential for the education, employment, enjoyment, and self-governance of all Berks County residents.

  2. Information literacy is a critical skill in our technological society.

  3. Reading, listening to, and/or viewing library materials for pleasure enhances quality of life.

  4. The public has a right to expect that the Library System will be efficient and effective in deploying its financial resources.

  5. Library users shall be treated courteously and fairly through the development and consistent application of library services, policies and procedures.

  1. Take the Lead in Advocacy

  1. Goal I: Municipal officials provide increased financial support for library programs and services.


    • To send information about library services and standards achievement to elected officials countywide at least four times each year.

    • To assist member libraries in making annual visits to municipal governing bodies.

  1. Goal II: Member libraries will have access to financial support though a library foundation.


  • To encourage and promote contributions to the Friends of BCPL Fund of the Berks County Community Foundation.

  1. Goal III: Communication with and among member library boards will be facilitated through the use of online systems.


    • To maintain and continue development of the staff and trustee intranet.

  • To create incentives for trustee participation in online communication.

  1. Goal IV: Member library boards will be aware of grant opportunities.


    • Information about grant opportunities will be presented quarterly at System Board meetings.

  1. Take the Lead in Marketing

  1. Goal I: Berks County citizens are aware of library services and programs.


    • To develop and maintain contacts with regional media through monthly press releases.

    • To revise and update System and member library websites and create additional web content targeted to special audiences (children, teens, seniors, etc.).

  1. Goal II: The Library Community promotes programs and services as lifelong learning resources.


    • To support an annual marketing campaign that highlights library programs, materials, and services for all ages.

  1. Take the Lead in Training Directors and Staff

  1. Goal I: Directors and staff of Berks County public libraries have the right skills and knowledge to deliver quality services in a consistent manner system-wide.


    • To offer fifteen CE hours and at least three additional programs and/or activities for Directors and staff annually.
    • To evaluate learning outcomes of every training opportunity and program.

Action Steps:

      • Offer annual training on databases such as POWER Library and Opposing Viewpoints.

      • Offer Basic Skills courses in additional areas of library service beginning with youth services and administration in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

      • Provide train-the-trainer programs to enable library staff to conduct classes for patrons, e.g. software applications and computer training.

      • Develop online tutorials.

      • Identify and recruit trainers from within System and member library staff.

  1. Take the Lead in Trustee Training

  2. Goal I: Trustees receive annual training in human resources issues.


    • To provide at least one half-day workshop annually on HR-related topics.

    • To require attendance at these workshops by a minimum of two trustees from each library board.

Action Step:

      • Include writing job descriptions, conducting evaluations, creating salary scales, and writing policies and procedures among the workshop topics.

  1. Goal II: New trustees receive orientation training, at the request of member libraries, within their first year of service.

  1. Objective:

    • To provide each trustee with a handbook and System manual and electronic access to additional resources.

  1. Goal III: Trustees understand the responsibilities associated with 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

  1. Objective:

    • To provide an annual workshop on requirements of 501(c)(3) non-profit status.

  1. Take the Lead in Technology

  1. Goal : Library users have access to services and information through state-of-the-art technologies.

  1. Objectives:

  • To migrate to the new statewide integrated library system (ILS) as soon as possible.

Action steps:

      • Librarians and information technology (IT) personnel participate in training provided by Commonwealth Libraries.

  • To create a new user-friendly, multi-functional BCPL website in 2010.

  • To facilitate communication and information sharing within the library community through implementation of new technologies.

Action steps:

      • Library staff and IT personnel develop training programs on blogs and wikis.

      • Library staff monitor the emergence of new technologies.

      • Pilot programs will be scheduled to test new technologies.

  1. Take the Lead in Outreach to Special Populations

  1. Goal I: Senior citizens have regular access to library materials appropriate to their recreational and informational needs.

[The loss of our Community Bookmobile, Outreach Services staff, and adult collections make it impossible to carry out this goal and its objectives. We continue to provide BiFocal Kits and limited large print items to some senior residences; however, most of this activity has now ceased except in areas where local libraries have the resources to carry on in our stead.]

  1. Goal II: Preschool children have access to programs which will develop their love of books and reading.

  1. Objectives:

    • Programs designed for preschool children in Head Start and Day Care centers will continue operation within the parameters of available Coordination Aid funding.

    • The number of preschoolers attending story times presented by the Story Riders will increase by 10%.

    • Cuentame algo, the Spanish story program, will debut in April 2010 and continue to develop as new stories are recorded.

    • The number of ‘Baby Steps to the Library’ packets distributed will increase by 10%.

  1. Goal III: School age children who do not have access to school libraries will receive curriculum support and recreational reading.

[Objectives related to this goal cannot be met due to cessation of the Community Bookmobile program.]

  1. Take the Lead in Collection Development

  1. Goal I: Member libraries have the tools they need to plan, acquire, and assess collections that meet local needs and countywide goals.

  1. Objectives:

    • To offer at least one continuing education program annually on a collection management topic.

    • To meet or exceed state standards for collection size and expenditure as resources permit.

  1. Goal II: Countywide collections provide broad, balanced coverage of authors,
  2. subjects, and formats.

  1. Objectives:

    • To continue efforts to create a countywide cooperative collection development plan by December 2010.

Action Steps:

      • Develop a template for individual library collection plans.

      • Incorporate plans and collection assessment data into draft cooperative plan.

      • To submit LSTA Collection Development Grant applications when grant criteria permit.

  1. Governance as Leadership

  1. Goal I: Member libraries are active participants in System governance, development, and evaluation.

  1. Objective:

    • To encourage participation by member library representatives in System planning on an annual basis.

Action Steps:

      • Publish and distribute an annual review of progress toward long-range goals;

      • Annually solicit member evaluations of System programs and projects; update plan to reflect input;

      • Integrate discussion of relevant topics as part of monthly meeting agenda;

      • Include member library representatives on all ad hoc committees of the System Board.

  1. Goal II: System Guidelines encourage continued member library achievement and

  2. development.

  1. Objective:
    • To achieve Excellent System Level standards recommended by APPLS* by December 2011.

Action Steps:

      • Review and revise Envisioning Excellence Guidelines as needed to meet APPLS criteria;

      • Monitor library compliance with applicable state standards;

      • Assist member libraries as needed to meet System and state requirements.

  1. *Association of Pennsylvania Public Library Systems

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