After 10 months of community input, research and assessment, The Indianapolis Public Library Board of Trustees has approved a strategic plan.
The plan, titled “Yours to Experience,” defines the library’s role and scope of services in the community for 2015 through 2020. It includes realigning branch locations to maximize access, reducing or eliminating the leasing of facilities, and developing new relationships with community centers and other partners.
“This plan affords an opportunity for us to expand our services to meet the needs of changing demographics,” said Dorothy R. Crenshaw, Library Board President. “There are some very lofty ideas here, but it does create a framework for the direction we should move.”
To reduce geographical gaps in service, the plan calls for:
- A new branch in Lawrence Township, which is underserved by current locations.
- Relocation of the Eagle Branch to provide ADA access, and improve service in the West 38th Street/Lafayette Road redevelopment area.
- Relocation of the Brightwood and Glendale branches to library-owned facilities in the area to save lease payments totaling over $330,000 per year.
- Relocation of the Flanner House Community Center to an expanded location farther north along the M.L. King/Michigan Road corridor to reduce a service gap in Pike and Washington townships.
- Relocation of the Fountain Square Branch, also a leased facility, to an expanded location in Perry Township, north of I-465, to fill a service gap between the Garfield Park and Southport branches.
To create a network of library services in other convenient and accessible locations, the library also plans to look for additional partnerships with community centers and social service agencies and explore co-locations within schools, universities, city agencies and in other public buildings.
Other goals set in the plan include strategies for enhancing the library’s contributions to foster personal growth and learning, establishing the library as a civic focal point and resource center, and positioning it as an agent of innovation through technology and a well-targeted collection.
Maintaining a strong commitment to early childhood learning, leading individuals in their digital journeys with technology, providing full access to those with different abilities, and meeting the needs of diverse populations are other key aspects of the plan.
Guided by a citizen-led steering committee co-chaired by Carey B. Lykins and Hope Y. Hampton, the planning process began in July 2013 by identifying issues of importance to the community. It generated input from nine task forces comprised of representatives from more than 150 businesses and organizations, as well as from public surveys and feedback from 23 community presentations on the proposed plan. Local demographic studies and assessments on patron usage and the condition of Library facilities also were considered.
CEO Jackie Nytes says the role of libraries everywhere is changing, and The Indiana Public Library must continue to evolve "to remain relevant."
“While our patrons still use the library for traditional services, they are demanding new ways of accessing information in an ever-changing cultural landscape," Nytes said. "This plan allows the library the flexibility to respond to changing needs and to better integrate itself into the core of our community.”
The library’s ability to successfully execute its plans will largely depend on exploring new revenue sources, reducing reliance on property taxes by increasing access to other local option tax revenues, maintaining or increasing profit centers where income may be generated, and redirecting funds from the elimination of leased facilities. Support of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation in its mission to attract grants and donations for services will be essential.
Approval of the plan will allow the Library Board to include expenditures for the initial steps of implementation in the Library’s 2015 budget and operations plan to be devised later in 2014.
Click here to learn more about the strategic plan.