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MLS Strategic Plan - 2017 - 2019: Details


A visual representation of the plan - goals and themes

A detailed, text version of the plan

Making Decisions
Our lens for evaluating opportunities

A description of the strategic planning process

Get Involved
A form to submit your interest in new initiatives

Links etc. that may be helpful as we forge ahead

Status & Next Steps

September 19, 2016
Approved by MLS Executive Board

November 7, 2016
Approved by MLS membership at annual meeting

December 2, 2016
Implementation conference

January 2, 2017
New plan begins

Plan Overview


Strategic goals will guide our actions for the new strategic plan.


Strategic themes are more fluid elements that touch on several goals and/or core services.

1. Co-Creator Culture

2. Marketing and Communications

3. Future Readiness

1. Strong Massachusetts Library Community

2. Social Justice

3. Assessment and Advocacy

4. Core Services

5. Sustainability, Efficiency and Economy

6. MLS Staff Success

7. Alignment with MBLC

Plan Detail


1. MLS will build and nurture a co-creator culture within the Massachusetts Library Community.

  • Host an educational implementation conference to share tools and resources to bring our plan to fruition.
  • Increase member relations efforts beginning with a year-long listening tour. 
  • Identify and define active, critical roles for MLS members in ongoing MLS development.
  • Identify and launch co-creator initiatives that harness the power of the Massachusetts Library Community to benefit all.

2. MLS will help member libraries to expand capacity for marketing and communications.

  • Implement enhanced consulting and professional development services on marketing and communications to member library staff.
  • Launch a new program to expand word-of-mouth marketing skills.
  • Improve the presentation and usefulness of MLS member value.
  • Enhance MLS marketing and communications efforts to improve awareness of MLS resources.

3. MLS will position the Massachusetts Library Community for future readiness.

  • Convene gathering to bring focus to future readiness, to encourage ongoing dialogue and to nuture communities of practice.
  • Open dialog with LIS educators on the intersection between LIS education and future readiness.
  • Provide a platform that supports grass-roots communities of practice.

Measuring Success

We are embarking on significant cultural and other changes that are difficult to directly measure.  As the plan unfolds in its early days, we plan to identify metrics that we can use to monitor the effectiveness and success of the plan.  In general:

  • Co-Creator initiatives (1) form and (2) lead to successful outcomes with (3) strong participation from throughout the Massachusetts Library Community.
  • Member libraries report increased awareness with MLS programs and services.
  • MLS and member libraries are (1) better able to communicate the value of libraries and (2) more successful with legislative advocacy and fundraising.
  • There is increased sharing of successes and failures (1) generally and (2) through active communities of practice.


Key Terms

The following key terms are used widely in the plan and are defined here for convenience.

Core Services

These programs and services remain essential to MLS in its service to members:

  • BiblioTemps
  • Commonwealth eBook Collections
  • Consulting
  • Continuing Education
  • Cooperative Purchasing
  • Databases
  • Delivery
  • Document Delivery
  • MassCat
  • Mediated Interlibrary Loan
  • Summer Library Program

Co-Creator Culture

We will fully engage with the Massachusetts Library Community as partners to design a success future.

In the Co-Creator Culture:

  • Everyone has the ability to lead and to actively participate in meaningful change for the entire community.
  • We are focused on what we want to create.
  • We share our strengths and assets that are distributed throughout the community.
  • We are inextricably interconnected.

Massachusetts Library Community

We mean all libraries, all networks, all consortia, all professional associations, MBLC and MLS...