The Importance of Planning

There is a growing understanding of the important role played by planning in bringing about improved services and overall organizational effectiveness and success. SOLS is committed to supporting the local planning efforts of public library boards, by providing resources, facilitation, and ongoing guidance and advice.

Information and Advice

SOLS provides access to consultants and facilitators who can assist with planning in a number of ways: delivering a Board presentation that introduces the Essential Planning process and gives the Board a solid understanding of their role in planning; offering an overview to planning resources available, through SOLS and elsewhere; advising on means of public consultation; and providing ongoing guidance and advice throughout the planning process.


SOLS consultants are available to facilitate a variety of planning sessions, on a fee basis. See Consulting Fees. These typically include any combination of the following:

  1. A half-day dedicated to Planning to Plan, including a thorough orientation to the planning process, culminating in the planning of a broad based Situational Analysis to inform the planning process; the facilitator assists the participants in identifying the information most required for planning purposes
  2. A Planning Day (full-day) that consists of:
    1. Summarizing the librarys current reality, including a SWOT analysis (the results of the Situational Analysis)
    2. Envisioning a successful future for the library
    3. Identifying the 3-5 strategic directions that will form the framework for the plan.
  3. A Mapping for Success Writing Workshop (full or half-day): a small group, with the assistance of a SOLS facilitator, refines the planning framework that was established during the planning day, and develops objectives for each strategic direction, and action items for each objective.

Resource Materials

See the Professional Resources pages in LearnHQ for a variety of resources on various aspects of strategic planning. 

In addition, there is a SOLS publication dedicated to strategic planning for public libraries. Creating the Future You've Imagined: A Guide to Essential Planning brings together an overview of the planning process with helpful tools for undertaking various aspects of the work related to planning. The following sections of the Guide might be helpful in understanding the planning process:

The following appendices might be helpful:

A copy of Creating the Future You've Imagined was distributed to every public library in Ontario at no cost, at the time of publication. The guide is also available for purchase via the Publications Order Form section of the SOLS website.

For more information, contact Service Development Director Anne Marie Madziak.

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