Download the Strategic Plan 2017-2020


Our Vision

The purpose of all services offered by the East Cleveland Public Library is to cultivate and embolden the literacy of our patronage and deepen their ties as members of this community.

Our Mission

The mission of the East Cleveland Public Library is to provide life enhancing, consciousness raising, Library services and cultural activities that reflect the needs of the East Cleveland community and the patrons of the institution.

Our Values

As a result of the Strategic Planning process, the following five themes were identified as core values: • community • autonomy • innovation • integrity • literacy

Our Future

The following four goals were identified as a result of our Strategic Planning:

• Increase literacy by expanding and promoting new programming.
• Elevate the Library’s status as a beacon of African-American culture and history.
• Maximize resources through intentional partnerships.
• Create an organizational environment of pride and respect.

The Planning Process

Strategic planning offers organizations an opportunity to think purposely about the future. In September 2016, the East Cleveland Public Library began a strategic planning process which involved the community, the Board of Trustees and staff. The Library gathered input from the community through a survey which could be accessed online or in print. In addition, staff input was gathered via an online survey.

The community survey questions focused on broad themes regarding quality of life in the community and the experiences and hopes for the role of the Library within the community. There were 181 respondents.

The Results

In general, respondents were pleased with life in their community and expressed a very positive view of the Library. A central location and convenient access to arts and culture, businesses, parks and public transportation were frequently cited as important. In addition, the history and the diversity of the community were noted as positive factors along with the presence of family and friends.

As far as the Library itself, respondents identified the following interests: increased learning opportunities for all ages; outreach to the community; and more activities for children and families. There was a desire for more performing arts events, movies, and speakers on varying topics. Respondents requested more quiet study areas and more computers for public use. The Library was mentioned frequently as a peaceful, safe, and welcoming space. Appreciation for the staff was identified consistently throughout respondents’ answers.

The staff survey questions focused on motivation and what makes a healthy and innovative work environment. There were 18 respondents.

The information acquired from the surveys and focus groups was shared with the Executive Director and the Board of Trustees. During a half-day retreat in February 2017, the Board of Trustees assessed the feedback in the context of a SWOTA (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Aspirations) analysis which was essential to the formulation of the four subsequent strategic goals. During the retreat, a shared set of values was also developed, and the decision to retain the vision and mission statements was approved. It was agreed that “Creating community through literacy” would become the library’s tagline.

Following the Board of Trustees retreat, Library leadership met to consider how to achieve the strategic goals. They identified five library-specific objectives and strategies to include in the Strategic Plan. The information from that retreat was compiled and used by staff to create the action steps indicated in this plan.

The themes and interests raised by feedback from the surveys are carried throughout the plan and are supported by objectives and action steps that propel the Library into the future. We aim to increase literacy by expanding and promoting new programming. We will elevate the Library’s status as a beacon of African-American culture and history, with programs and cultural events, and a continued dedication to growing the extensive Black Heritage section. We will safeguard the public trust and maximize resources through intentional partnerships. We create an organizational environment of pride and respect.

The Plan

The Strategic Plan is organized to achieve four overarching strategic goals, each supported by accompanying objectives. Each of the objectives has concrete action steps delineated. The action steps are indicated under their respective objectives as bullet points.


OBJECTIVE: Enlarge Technology Infrastructure

• Circulate hotspots to patrons
• Extend technology access for seniors and all generations
• Utilize LED technology throughout building
• Install automatix systems
• Create looping audiovisual displays featuring a variety of people, places and historical events highlighting ECPL’s Archival, Reference and Circulating materials

OBJECTIVE: Create Programming in Response to Community Needs

• Develop and expand programs that focus on literacy
• Expand the writing tutorials in Teens and the Wednesday Writers workshop in Adults
• Hold literacy-based “game nights” that are theme based
• Feature poetry/spoken word/storytelling/creative
writing workshops and seminars for teens and adults
• Feature more music-based programming and more interactive storytelling programs to increase literacy through the arts
• Provide computer training and promotion of digital services
• Create a Job Shop for high school teens
• Develop job search classes for all ages
• Help patrons develop contracts
• Provide technology outreach programs and classes for seniors


OBJECTIVE: Increase Staff Knowledge of African-American Culture and History

• Train staff on history of East Cleveland
• Train staff on African-American history and culture

OBJECTIVE: Build Collections and Programming that Emphasize African-American Culture and History

• Create monthly/bi-monthly “author-features” using a variety of materials to develop engaging displays promoting African-American authors, illustrators, scholars, entrepreneurs, heroes, activists, and iconoclasts
• Digitize African-American Collection
• Hold arts contests highlighting African-American culture and history
• Highlight African-American Collection using the ECPL website
• Expand African-American programming through author talks, book signings, music, art and theatre
• Mentor African-American young adults
• Scan East Cleveland with a drone to document the City’s infrastructure


OBJECTIVE: Seek New Funding Opportunities

• Solicit donations from area businesses and organizations
• Create a donor network
• Ensure fiscal responsibility
• Participate in PACE Programs to increase the energy efficiency of the facility
• Seek grants from leading grant-making organizations

OBJECTIVE: Develop Programming Partnerships

• Continue to develop partnerships with Literacy Cooperative, Ready to Read, SPARK and other literacy-based initiatives locally, nationally and possibly internationally
• Renew/refresh Outreach Library Service to area senior centers/apartments, medical facilities and eventually to home-bound patrons of all ages
• Expand upon established relationships with local community partners and develop new relationships with established grass-roots organizations
• Partner with other African-American organization
• Partner with local businesses on energy efficiency of the building
• Partner with retirement homes, local daycare centers, and Salvation Army

OBJECTIVE: Involve Staff in the Community

• Involve staff with businesses in the community such as the Villa and the Salvation Army
• Computer classes offered in the community
• Develop a garden
• Staff perform volunteer work in the community
• Staff help promote programs for the Library


OBJECTIVE: Train and Empower Library Staff

• Cross train with other departments
• Train staff on new technologies
• Improve communication between Administration/Staff and Administration/Board
• Provide team-building activities and social events
• CPR Training
• AED Training
• Active Shooter Training
• Attend continuing education seminars

OBJECTIVE: Instill a Sense of Patron Ownership

• Develop creative displays that reflect both the community and staff
• Implement and continue annual rituals (Founder’s Day, ECPL Spring Clean Day, Staff Development Day, ECPL Re-Purpose On-Purpose Week, etc.)
• Post ECPL Code of Conduct throughout the building
• Create a “Patron of the Month” award
• Encourage patrons to keep ECPL premises clean
• Make sure ECPL is ADA Compliant
• Develop a Neighborhood Cleanup program
• Utilize the entire ECPL property

OBJECTIVE: Deliver an Excellent Customer Service Experience

• Ensure optimal placement, appearance, and effective utilization of personnel
• Encourage all staff to reflect on ECPL core values, vision, mission and tag line
• Develop a guideline for all staff to “Communicate with patrons as you would like them to communicate with you”
• Cross train staff to help patrons in different departments


Download the entire Strategic Plan 2017-2020