Strategic Plan: 2020-2022
Background: The Dover Free Library (DFL) is one of the preeminent small-town libraries in Vermont.
“It is a wonderful resource in an era when mediocrity seems to be the norm.” “Offers culture, the best spot in town.”
One of the strengths of the library is the constant attention that is paid to improving its presence in, and resources for, the Dover community. The Strategic Plan (Plan) is a tool that will help focus the efforts of the library in improving its strength in these areas over the upcoming years. The last Plan was prepared in 2011.
Mission Statement: The Dover Free Library’s mission is to welcome community members of all ages and backgrounds to seek out lifelong learning experiences through reading, learning, thinking, technology, and discussion in a comfortable and friendly environment.
Board of Trustees: Ed Brookman (President), Diane Guminak (Secretary), Kevin Stine (Treasurer), Chris Kelly, and Aurora Roberts.
Library Staff: John Flores (Director), Cynthia Cohen (Children’s Librarian), and Karen Cawrse (Librarian Assistant).
Process: The inputs for the new Plan consisted of a detailed questionnaire handed out to library patrons and the Dover community in general; a public forum held on October 19, 2019; Board member visits to other small town libraries in southern Vermont; and numerous discussions among the members of the library Board of Trustees and the staff of the DFL.
Overview of Plan: As a result of the process, seven main areas were identified as being the principal centers of focus for the Plan. These areas include the following:
- Promotion and Public Awareness
- Programs, Classes, and Lectures
- Materials and Resources
- Website and Technology
Near and far term strategic actions within each of these areas that will be investigated for possible implementation are provided in the following sections of this document. Note that there is a separate Plan for the Children’s Library.
Develop more partnerships with entities such as the Town of Dover, seniors, schools, businesses, organizations
Increase the use of the Community Room as a meeting place for organizations, clubs, town subcommittees, etc.
Promotion and Public Awareness
Increase the use of social media to promote the library and events (current social media include Facebook, Whofish, and Front Porch Forum) – consider directly e-mailing clients regarding activities
Ensure the library website gets connected to the town website thus facilitating posting library events
Construct and situate a Little Free Library on town property in West Dover – possibly on the town green near the gazebo [see Children’s Library Plan for an additional approach to this]
Programs, Classes and Lectures
Continue with successful programs such as the annual Santa visit, the dessert social, movie nights, and visits from the elementary school
Develop a series of guest lecturers and classes – possible topics might include hiking, fish and game, maple sugaring, stone walls, local farmers, technical assistance, Mount Snow instructors/rescue, Dover historical society, foraging, CPR, Facebook use, flower arranging, crafts in general, cooking, etc.
Classes for seniors – advance directives, stroke presentation, virtual dementia tour Organize field trips and outdoor activities such as hikes, snowshoe walks, museum visits
Investigate the community’s desire for clubs that could possibly be hosted by the library – knitting, hiking, board games, cooking, travel, literary, etc. – use sign-up sheets at the front desk to determine interest
- Investigate the possibility of outdoor sitting and reading areas – gazebo, benches, picnic table – which could also be used for outdoor events
- Install a bike rack near the front entrance
- Improve outdoor signage
- Work with the town to make the entrance hallway more inviting – paint or paneling, chair, bench, table, flowers, new ceiling, new lighting, paint or move the cubbyhole shelving
- Ensure that the hallway library bulletin board is monitored and kept up-to-date – add a sign above this bulletin board indicating it is for the library [the other bulletin boards belong to the town]
- Add brochures and maps of interest to patrons – e.g., trail maps
- Look at the possibility of reestablishing a gallery in the Vermont room for art, crafts, poetry,
- Create a suggestion box for community input
- Improve interior signage – computer usage guidelines, nonfiction, fiction, Dewey designations,
- Paint/repair shelving next to copier/printer
- Rearrange sections to improve accessibility and functionality – Young Adult to community room, 92 section (biography, autobiography, memoir) to the main room, water cooler to café area
Run a cost/benefit analysis to determine if expanding the library hours of operation, particularly on the weekend for second home owners, is viable considering the increased cost of staff hours, salaries, and associated benefits
Materials and Resources
Investigate if more passes to museums, etc. are warranted
DVDs - Post a master list to facilitate selection, increase the storage space, combine the Young Adult selections with the main selections
Website and Technology
Keep abreast of new technologies that could be incorporated into the existing capabilities of the library
Increase awareness of the technological resources available to the community
STRATEGIC PLAN CHILDREN’S LIBRARY 2020-2022
One of the primary goals of the children’s department is to strengthen and create existing and new partnerships with the school, community organizations and both childcares in town.
PROMOTION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS
Increase the variety of social and print media to promote the children’s programming and events.
Make the requested changes to the format and information on the library webpage and keep it regularly updated.
Collaborate with Girl Scout troop 51403 to create a Little Free Library in Dover.
PROGRAMS, CLASSES, LECTURES
Create and implement programs that recur as a monthly series. Subjects to include: art, science, and young adult life skills.
Continue to encourage and host local youth clubs and organizations to use the library and it’s resources.
The children’s librarian will review existing toys, puppets and independent activities to ensure they are still in working order and safe for all ages.
Picture signage will be added to key areas to encourage young children to select books on their favorite topics.
New shelving will be purchased to bring high-interest subjects (particularly graphic novels) to a more manageable height for their target audience.