Inclusion, Connection, Collaboration
Empower people to transform their lives and strengthen our communities.
- Lifelong Learning
- Intellectual Freedom
- Social Responsibility
- Professional Competence
The new Strategic Plan for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries is the culmination of a yearlong examination into the following three critical areas:
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
- The Santa Cruz County Community
- Library Services
The Plan aspires to ensure that the Library remains adaptive and continues to provide outstanding service that meets the community's needs. The goals evolved from community engagement and included surveys, organized community conversations, and workshops with the Library's partners, staff, and senior management.
The Santa Cruz Public Libraries began the Strategic Planning process in August 2021. The Library convened a team of eleven staff to lead the effort. The group reviewed the existing strategic plan for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and those of other organizations. The Library collected in-person and online survey questionnaires, then developed a list of seventeen prioritized groups and surveyed and interviewed members of those groups using the Harwood approach. Applied Survey Research coded and analyzed the community data.
The prioritized groups included:
- City Staff from Capitola, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley
- County Government Staff
- Families with young children
- Frequent library users and Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries
- Infrequent or nonusers of the Library
- Library Advisory Commission
- Library partners and their clients
- Library staff
- Members and partners of the BIPOC community
- Members and partners of the disabled community
- Members and partners of the Spanish-speaking community
- People without housing
At the Library's All Staff Training Day in October 2021, the Library conducted a strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results (SOAR) exercise with staff. Former San Jose Public Library Director Jane Light led the exercise. Staff also engaged in activities that helped define the organization's values. In addition to the staff exercises, the Library's internal Equity Team began developing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan in 2020 with the goal of incorporating its work into the Strategic Plan. Following that work, a Community Partner Dialogue took place in February 2022 to gather additional input from the following groups: The Friends of the Library, the Library Advisory Commission, the County Office of Education, Cabrillo College, Santa Cruz City Schools, the Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation/Rise Together, the Diversity Center, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, NAACP, United Way, and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office
After completing the Community Partner Dialogue event, Library Director Yolande Wilburn led the Library's senior management team through a workshop to analyze the information gathered from the staff and community input and the work achieved by the Library's Equity Team. Those workshops resulted in the final goals presented in this report. The Library then sought further input on the Plan from the Library Advisory Commission (LAC) and the Library Joint Powers Authority (LJPA) before seeking final approval from the LJPA.
The Santa Cruz County Community
- Ensure library facilities are accessible, safe, and welcoming.
- Promote the Library's spaces and program rooms to all community members.
- Support community resilience.
- Deepen relationships with partners to collaborate on programming and services and improve health outcomes.
- Create opportunities for diverse groups to connect, have fun, and gain understanding through art, history, literature, humanities, and civic engagement.
- Work with the schools to improve math and reading outcomes for children.
- Support the socio-psychological wellness of youth and teens through partnerships and programming.
- Collaborate with community partners to connect people to job training, veterans services, housing, and mental health resources.
- Develop communication strategies that connect the community to needed resources.
- Continuously gather feedback and evaluate processes, programs, and policies to reduce barriers and increase access to Library resources.
- Develop programs that support incarcerated and decarcerated individuals.
- Conduct diversity audits of collections to be reflective of the community.
- Promote diverse collections, including local history, music, and art, through programming and exhibits.
- Identify and digitize objects and collections for genealogical and historical information of importance to Santa Cruz County.
- Launch and promote an integrated content and digital asset management system for local history and genealogical content.
- Facilitate community conversations and conduct regular surveys to identify the service and programming needs within Santa Cruz County.
- Identify opportunities and best practices for nurturing curiosity and community connection.
- Strengthen and support digital literacy access and training.
- Develop and apply meaningful measurements to determine the Library's impact.
- Strengthen Library staff's network with community organizations through participation in local events and locations outside the Library's walls.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of technology and update the technology plan’s priorities.
- Assess staffing to ensure the organization’s fiscal sustainability and recalibrate public hours and staffing to provide equitable service levels across the County.
- Develop a staff training plan to maximize knowledge and expertise.
- Support staff well-being and career advancement.