Strategic Priorities and Goals, 2020

The Scarborough Public Library regularly engages in a strategic planning process. That process establishes the library’s priorities and goals for the next few years. A work plan reflecting the priorities and goals is then developed with objectives designed to achieve the goals, and assigns responsibility for completion, time frames, resources needed, and measurement criteria.

Process Overview

The process used to establish the Library’s strategic priorities and goals is led by an ad hoc committee of the Library Board of Trustees, made up of current and past representatives of the Board, the Library Director, and members of the public. The drafting process includes consideration of current and emerging library trends, recognition of the library’s strengths and weaknesses, identification of stakeholders, and community input obtained through surveys and focus groups to insure the Library’s priorities reflect the priorities of the Scarborough community.

Community input is obtained from stakeholders, to include library patrons as well as community members who do not currently use the Library, and representatives of various community interests groups encompassing business interests, seniors, educators, the Friends of the Library, teens, local government representatives, and the general public. The process also includes surveying the Library staff for their expert opinions on current and future services, and how they see their role in the Library’s mission.

Using the results of all the data gathered, the Committee identifies specific themes, and these themes become Strategic Priorities. The Committee then develops specific goals from the themes. The Library staff, who are charged with implementing most of the priorities, then develop specific, measurable objectives to implement the goals.

A Note on Library Expansion

One of the themes, perhaps the most common theme, that the Committee identified during the recent strategic planning effort is the need to expand the library. Many of the surveys and virtually all of the focus group discussion identified space issues. For example, the need for more quiet space came up frequently, as did the need for additional, and larger, meeting space.

Our current library building opened in 1990. The facility was originally intended to serve the needs of the town of Scarborough for a limited period of time with the realization that as the town of Scarborough grew, the Library would eventually need to expand to continue to serve the community’s needs. While the Library always had an eye to the future, it was designed and built at a time when the library primarily functioned as a book-lender and the collection was organized with a card catalog.

Since then, the role of the library has expanded to include providing access to technology, extensive cultural and educational programming and community meeting space (among many other things). The

Scarborough Public Library has adapted over time to perform all of these functions and much more in a facility that was not designed for them. And, as anticipated, our town has continued to grow.

In 2002 the Board of Trustees undertook several studies to identify space deficiencies and operational inefficiencies in the current building so that planning might begin for the next decade of growth in the community. That planning effort continued in 2004 with the hiring of an architect to conduct an existing conditions study and develop architectural plans for an expansion. In June 2006 voters narrowly defeated a proposed expansion and renovation of the existing library.

As a result of feedback from the community, the Scarborough Public Library Board of Trustees has determined that the time is right to again explore expanding the library. The goal of any library expansion is to update our current Library to more adequately meet today’s needs and provide flexibility for the future. We look forward to partnering with the Scarborough community as we explore possible options.


The Board of Trustees wishes to thank the hundreds of people from the town of Scarborough who provided feedback during this process. In addition, the Board is grateful for the input from Library staff. They are on the front lines and we could not have gotten far without their hard work and eagerness to help. Finally, the Board extends its gratitude to Nancy Crowell, Library Director, for her tireless energy, boundless enthusiasm, sound insights, and her deep institutional knowledge in working through this process.

Priorities and Goals

  1. Provide access to high quality services and collections
    1. Provide access to library’s collections in multiple formats
    2. Promote resources for independent and formal learning (e.g., home schooling, distance education)
    3. Maximize user experience of high-speed Internet access through Maine School and Library Network (MSLN)
    4. Review library hours to improve patron access
    5. Build Community Cloud space
  2. Promote opportunities for curiosity, entertainment, and life-long learning
    1. Support early childhood learning
    2. Coordinate summer learning opportunities with educators and commercial programs
    3. Identify and meet the needs of new residents
    4. Promote customized digital learning (courses and locations)
    5. Promote job search skills and resources
    6. Provide teen life-skills support (e.g., money management, babysitting, college prep)
    7. Provide senior computer/technology and enrichment series
  3. Engage the community in developing and promoting resources and partnership opportunities
    1. Civic engagement and public affairs: expand opportunities for conversation
    2. Promote community engagement through volunteerism
    3. Develop and offer multi-generational programming
    4. Expand business partnerships
    5. Identify new opportunities to promote the library with users and non-users
  4. Provide a versatile, welcoming, collaborative, and safe space that serves as an anchor for the community
    1. Develop plan for Library Expansion
    2. Provide business support services
    3. Define the Library's role as a cultural center
    4. Define what a maker space for our library might include (e.g., communal creative space for design and activities that both teach and empower patrons.)
  5. Ensure a strong, helpful, and customer-focused organization
    1. Support staff development including providing appropriate time and space
    2. Develop a succession plan for Library Director
    3. Provide diversity training to the staff and board
    4. Review mission in regard to Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion