II. What Do We Mean by “Strategic”?

A. This Strategic Plan is designed to guide our work over the next five years and provide foundation, aspirations and ways to prioritize. But a strategic plan is not all that is required for OSULP to respond strategically to the challenges and opportunities we see now and those that will rise in that five-year period. A strategic plan is a snapshot of our current best thinking about how we want to move forward. It is also a living document that will be used, and amended, as we move through the next five years. It is intended to support us in thinking strategically as we make the multitude of decisions that we will need to make in those years — and evaluating how well we’ve done when we’re looking back at them.


B. Thinking strategically means making our choices in ways that are reflective and mindful. It means actively using the framing provided by this Strategic Plan as a filter for how to focus our resources, and using it to choose what we will and will not do. Thinking strategically also means making decisions contextually, considering what our experience has been and what the longer-term impacts of a given decision will be, and communicating clearly and regularly with our communities. It also means thinking about ripples: considering what else any given decision is connected to, what we have to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to something else, and what we will be asking of others if we take this action.


C. Implementation of this plan will include the development of strategic work plans for each department using a facilitated, integrative approach. The high-level actions that grow out of the goals and priorities articulated here will be fed back into the plan as the Actions section. Regular opportunities for reflection and reprioritization will be part of the ongoing work — at the department level and the OSULP leadership level — and will be done OSULP-wide at least twice during the five years of the plan. We intend for this plan to evolve as we experiment and reflect and in response to new challenges and opportunities.


D. At OSULP, we do not believe that there exists a strict division between work that is strategic, innovative and new, and the ongoing work that it takes to ensure the quality, stability and health of our core services. To be strategic, we must critically examine our current practices, and do what’s needed to improve our systems, collections, services and spaces so that they meet the needs of our communities now and into the future. We must also commit the resources needed to support this ongoing work. Our work is grounded in enduring values and focused on providing excellent library services to our communities. To take advantage of the opportunities and rise to the challenges that come our way in the future, we must be willing and able to experiment with new workflows, platforms, perspectives and approaches to enacting our core values. The goals that you see articulated in this Strategic Plan are focused on developing, nurturing, and using well the resources, capacity, expertise, flexibility and relationships that we need to do this essential work.