Strategic Planning Initiative for Des Moines Public Library

Des Moines Public Library - Central Branch - Photo from Google

The Ivy Group facilitated a system-wide strategic planning and master facilities planning initiative for the Des Moines Public Library to guide the Library into tomorrow and beyond.

An urban library looking to the future

From its six branches, the Des Moines Public Library (DMPL) serves an urban population of approximately 200,000, supports multiple outreach programs, and houses four special collections. The strategic planning project provided an opportunity to confirm and advance what the Des Moines Public Library is all about.

Des Moines Public Library - Central Branch - Photo from Picasa album

A strategic plan to meet a growing community's needs

The in-depth strategic planning effort involved a very thorough and involved examination of DMPL's operations, facilities, and services. The purpose of the Library's strategic plan: to learn what the community needs and wants, and to set actionable goals to better provide those programs and services.

Experienced library team with a diverse skillset

Ivy Group partners Nancy Davis and Pam Fitzgerald were joined by library consultants Catherine Alloway, Director of Schlow Centre Region Library (State College, PA); David Belanger, Director of Delaware County Library System (Media, PA); and Darro Willey, Past Director of DeKalb County Library (Decatur, GA).

Chris Ricci, Field Research Director of Ricci Telephone Research, Inc. and Marc Futterman, President and CEO of CIVICTechnologies provided research support.

Comprehensive research methodology leads to community insights

In developing the strategic plan, Ivy Group and DMPL conducted qualitative and quantitative research on the programs and services the Library offers, including:

  • Benchmarking DMPL's performance against 14 national peers;
  • Conducting a market segmentation and lifestyle analysis;
  • Assessing current technology and facilities;
  • Facilitating 27 executive interviews with community leaders;
  • Gathering input through six focus groups;
  • Managing online surveys of Library Trustees, Foundation board members, senior management, staff and volunteers; and
  • Conducting both telephone and online survey of community residents.

The energy we dedicated to this initiative, with considerable public input, will pay off immeasurably to the future benefit of the citizens of Des Moines.

Greg Heid, Library Director
Des Moines Public Library logo, designed by The Ivy Group

A Plan for Tomorrow outlines strategic priorities

After nearly a year of study, Ivy Group published a comprehensive report, A Plan for Tomorrow, which details research findings and strategic recommendations. The plan has guided DMPL Trustees and staff as they address the challenges of providing services to a growing community in an age of evolving technological demands.

Through their research, the team identified 12 strategic priorities on which A Plan for Tomorrow focuses:

  • Customer Service
  • Technology
  • Fundraising
  • Taking a Lead in Education
  • Support for Economic Development
  • Libraries as Public Space
  • Outreach to Underserved Populations
  • Community Affairs
  • Advocacy and Government Relations
  • Branding and Marketing
  • Staff Training and Development
  • Internal Relationships

Ivy Group developed individual initiatives for each strategic priority. A few of the action items include securing funding to reinstitute mobile library services in disadvantaged areas; conducting a study to realign hours of operation to customer needs; rebranding the Library around the themes of empowerment, transformation, and self-improvement; and promoting online resources for business owners and entrepreneurs.

The Library Board of Trustees and staff are very pleased with the information, insight, and opinion that the public and stakeholders of the community have brought forth through the planning process facilitated by Ivy
 Group. It's a vast amount of valuable feedback we will use to guide our future decision-making processes for future library services to our community.