Mission Possible

By Samantha Hastings, West Jordan Library

            The Uplift Grant allowed me to take the Advanced Management of Information Agencies online course through the University of North Texas.  The main focus of the course was the strategic planning process,  including: library vision statements, library mission statements, conducting information audits, and creating a strategic plan.  This brief article will focus on rethinking library mission statements and strategic planning strategies.

Does each member of your library staff know your library’s vision and/or mission?  Joseph R. Matthews (2005) explains that “In most cases, these mission statements are too lengthy and don’t really get to the heart of the library’s mission.  Too often these statements erroneously include processes that the library uses to deliver its mission” (16).   A good mission statement, according to Matthews, could be printed on a T-shirt (16).  A good mission statement is meaningful and memorable.  According to Scott Beagrie (2005), a mission statement should inspire employees to accomplish or to work toward organizational goals.

Did/do you include staff in the strategic planning process and let them feel a part of the plan?  According to Joseph R. Matthews (2005), one of the seven deadly sins of strategic planning is when, “the process was dominated by the planning staff” (32).  Robert W. Bradford (2001) explains that every member of an organization is important to the success of the strategy; so it is important that their concerns and opinions are a part of the strategic planning process. Charles Hylan (2005) notes that it is impossible to change employee’s behavior if the employee does not comprehend the goals that they are supposed to complete or are unable to see how the goals affect their daily work routine (8).  If staff members are unaware of a mission statement or the overall goal and vision of a strategic plan they will not “buy in” to the plan and/or help accomplish it.

Your library’s mission and vision statements are possible to achieve as long as library staff are included in the planning process and work with management to make it happen.


Beagrie, S. (2005, Mar 31). How to…develop a corporate mission.  Retrieved September 5, 2008, from http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2005/02/22/28089/corporate-mission-how-to-develop-a-corporate-mission.html.

Bradford, R. W. (2001). Building Support for the Strategic Plan:  Aligning Employees with Strategy, Change Designs. Downloaded from http://www.changedesigns.co.za/Strategic%20alignment.htm.

Hylan, C. (2005, Jul 11). Clarity: The Secret ingredient of strategic plans.  Accounting Today, 19 (12), 8-9.  Retrieved September 10, 2008 from Business Source Complete.

Matthews, Joseph R. (2005).  Strategic planning and management of library managers. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.