From the Beacon: Library system planning next 4 years

"Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning."Thomas Edison

America's most famous inventor, Thomas Edison, not only created the world's first industrial research laboratory, but he also held a world record 1,093 patents.Certainly, Edison was a man who planned to make the most of opportunity. Today, the same can be said of the Beaufort County Library System, which is embarking on a strategic planning process to chart its direction from 2011 through 2013.

The purpose of engaging in a strategic planning process is to ensure the library system is responsive to our dynamic and changing environment. To do this, the library will re-examine its purpose, programs, services and infrastructure to focus on the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. The library intends to develop an ambitious vision -- a clear vision with excellent products and services designed to meet the needs of our growing and diverse population.

Did you know that even with the recent economic challenges and financial slowdown the library system signs up hundreds of new library card users every month? More people are using library services and programs than ever before. It is essential that we examine these programs, services and our organizational structure to ensure the library system is highly effective. We need to expand our collaborative and innovative efforts to make the most of the precious resources and opportunities currently available to us.

The strategic planning process is a disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that shape and guide what the library system is, what it does and why it does it, always with an eye to the future. That's why we need the community to join us in this process.

By sharing your opinions and ideas, we are better able to determine whether we're meeting your needs. What do you think about our materials? How about our services and programming?Are we customer-friendly? Do you find our staff knowledgeable? Are our branch libraries welcoming facilities? Your opinion counts.

We're asking the community to check out the library system Web site, www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, and complete the online survey titled, "Help Us Plan for the Future." When you do so, your voice will be heard and incorporated into the library system's strategic plan.

We also will be hosting focus groups at each of the five branches (dates and times to be announced) and we will ask for your participation in the survey Feb. 27 at our fourth annual library system open house.

If you are interested in participating in a focus group, contact us at 843-470-6509 or jorourke@bcgov.net. Our goal is to have the completed library strategic plan available in the fall of 2010.