About Our Plan

Message from the Director

Connect. Empower. Cultivate. Strong words. Words that we believe capture the vital nature of the relationship between Transylvania County and its Public Library. Words that we believe express the Library’s commitment to aligning our services with the community’s goals and to working together to help Transylvania County realize its aspirations for the future.

The Transylvania County Library Strategic Plan is the culmination of a year of focused research and study; of careful listening and looking outward. We have taken all that we heard and learned and have crafted what we see as an ever-evolving action guide – a tool that will enable the Library to change and grow as our community grows and as our world changes. At its best, the public library is a trusted community resource, a vibrant node of civic engagement, a sparkplug for individual creativity and lifelong learning; in short, the place the community cannot live without. And that, as you will see in these pages, is precisely what we, the staff of the Transylvania County Library, aspire to be. We are excited about our future and we invite you to join us as we work together for a vibrant Transylvania County.

Anna Yount
Transylvania County Library Director

Our Process

The seeds for the Transylvania County Library’s strategic planning process were sown in the fall of 2015, when North Carolina’s State Librarian, Cal Shepard, distributed copies of the 2014 Aspen Institute report, Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries, to every public Library director in the state. The Report illustrated a dynamic new way of looking at the public Library’s role in its community.

We learned about new research and processes that could “illuminate ways that communities can leverage investments in libraries to build stronger civic ecologies and forge new partnerships for achieving local goals”. We were hooked. Board members and staff were all reading the Aspen Report.

Maureen Sullivan, a founding member of The Aspen Institute Dialogue on Public Libraries working group, accepted our invitation to attend TCL’s annual Staff Development Day on February 15, 2016. Her insights and guidance reinforced our conviction that the Aspen Report captured the spirit and excitement of what we want the Transylvania County Library to do and to be in our changing community.

We received a 2016-2017 LSTA EZ Planning Grant which enabled us to fully utilize the Aspen Report and its companion Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library to craft a new strategic plan for the Transylvania County Library. We worked our way through the Action Guide. We researched community trends and demographics. We scrutinized our physical space and brainstormed about our virtual space. We interviewed key stakeholders. We asked people to write letters to their Library and tell us what they like and what they don’t like. And we held public dialogue sessions—seven of them—facilitated by Maureen Sullivan. At these sessions, we asked people to tell us about their hopes and dreams for Transylvania County, and what the Library could do to make those dreams come true. We took all that we heard and learned and set to work.

Our goal for this planning process has been to create a short, flexible, useful document. Our intention is to develop a plan that allows the Library to be creative and nimble and to utilize our strengths and resources to align our services in support of community goals and to break out of the stereotype of a book warehouse. We want to be “out of the building, not just out of the box”. We want to create a bold strategy that will awaken our community to the public Library as a vibrant node of civic engagement. As the Aspen Report succinctly puts it:
“An intelligent community, not large circulation numbers, is the primary goal.”

Acknowledgements

This planning project was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Many, many people contributed to the creation of this plan. Our exceptional consultant, Maureen Sullivan, invested over a year in guiding us in this work. The TCL Steering Committee made enormous commitments of their time and talent: Erika Brock, Laura Gardner, Janet Merrell, Derek Nelson, Lisa Sheffield, Marcy Thompson and Anna Yount. The entire staff of the Transylvania Library contributed in ways too numerous to mention. Thanks as well to the Board of Directors of the Transylvania County Library Foundation, the Friends of the Transylvania County Library, and the Transylvania County Library Board of Trustees. Thanks to Transylvania County Manager Jaime Laughter for her support and encouragement throughout the process. Special thanks are due to Sarah Justice, Lucia Gerdes, Annette Blum, Vision Brevard/Transylvania, the 2017 VIZ class, Teresa Curto, Rodrigo Vargas, Judy Nebrig, and Cal Shepard.