Case Study

Data-Driven Strategic Planning for Libraries


The Des Moines Public Library and the West Des Moines Public Library are two highly regarded library systems, serving a population of nearly 500,000 through seven combined locations.  Des Moines Public Library is Iowa’s largest library system.  Together with the West Des Moines Public Library, the libraries serve the fastest growing metro in the upper Midwest.

The Story

The Challenge

Traditional strategic plans can be long, rigid and can quickly become obsolete. Both libraries desired dynamic and agile strategic plans to articulate an agreed upon direction to serve their respective communities for the next 3-5 years. The plans needed to be simpler and clearer than past iterations to facilitate decision-making and communications with their boards and governing bodies.

The Choice

The response

Using a data-driven approach, Bâton Global collected insights from the staff, board members, local leaders, library partners, foundations, and community members. Care was taken to get feedback from both non-users to heavy users of the library services.

Equipped with community data, B|G guided library strategic planning teams in their creation of system-wide plans. Branch and departmental plans were developed to align with the goals of the system-wide plan. Effort was made to ensure goal owners were engaged throughout the planning process.

The Results

Both libraries developed comprehensive strategies that aligned the activities of their respective systems, the branches, and functional areas. These strategies include mission, vision, and values statements, objectives, key performance indicators (KPIs), targets, and initiatives. Additionally, each library developed a few transformational ideas to meet anticipated opportunities as the region continues to grow.

Since adopting their plans, numerous initiatives have been completed and one library has already enjoyed consistent growth inactive users.

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