Over the past year, the Library has gone through a strategic planning process. A major focus was hearing from community members about their aspirations for the Library and Santa Monica. Adults and youth shared that they valued the Library as a central hub and a primary resource for information and materials; a place to read, work, attend programs, meet others and engage in community activities. People described the Library as a “treasure;” “a centerpiece of community life;” and the “whole house… it is a safe place for anyone to grow, get support and whatever they may need.” The Library is viewed as inclusive of all under a common theme of learning, growing and expanding.

Four Strategic Focus Areas were identified:

  1. Vibrant Learning Center – We are expanding our commitment to early literacy (in line with Santa Monica’s Cradle 2 Career initiative). We are expanding adult learning offerings for those seeking to build a variety of technical, media and literacy skills, as well as career assistance.
  2. Wellbeing Cultivator — We are creating ways to incorporate social interaction and build community connections, support the City’s Wellbeing Initiative and raise the visibility of wellbeing with colleagues in other library systems.
  3. Dynamic Third Place – We are optimizing space for Library patrons by updating technology, teen and youth spaces and providing maker/creation/digital media tools and collaborative spaces.
  4. Community & Cultural Connector – We are building collective impact by partnering with the community organizations, schools, and other agencies to help people to flourish in school, in their careers, in civic life, and to live their best lives.

These four focus areas dovetail with the City’s City of Santa Monica’s strategic priorities, including Learn & Thrive, set by the City Council in Fall 2015.

An issue that came up frequently during the strategic planning process was concerns about a Library non-resident fee. City Council voted unanimously to approve the discontinuance of the $25 non-resident library card fee with sustained funding levels effective February 1, 2016.

We have segued into implementation, launching an Implementation Team (fondly referred to as the I-Team), chaired by Librarian III Susan Lamb. This team has launched several exciting initiatives, including a pop up beach library, a How-To Festival, a seed library, and a partnership with  the Santa Monica Animal shelter to feature new pets that need homes each month.

Thank you to the 2000+ persons who participated in the planning process. We will keep you updated on strategic planning progress, so watch this spot!

Maria Carpenter
City Librarian