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Strategic Plan: Kansas City Public Library, Central Youth Services Diana Learned, Kellie Meehlhause, and Kim Patton LI 805 Management and Information Organizations Emporia State University

1 Strategic Plan: Kansas City Public Library, Central Youth Services This strategic plan centers on the Central Youth Services (CYS) department at the Central Branch library of the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) system. This department is responsible for managing the children's and teen collections at KCPL along with related programming and outreach. All decisions made within this department are guided by the mission statement and values of KCPL, including literacy, lifelong learning, and intellectual freedom. While there is much to be proud of in Youth Services, there are also multiple areas of concern regarding the departments ability to meet the information needs of its patrons. In particular, because the Kansas City Public Library Central Branch is located in an urban metro area, youth services circulation and community interest are very low. Therefore, it is the goal of this strategic plan to increase literacy and library use among young readers, ultimately creating a strong community of readers in the Kansas City metro area. CYS intends to implement a program engaging Kansas City public school district K-12 students with both the library and the historically rich community surrounding it. Organizational Profile KCPL, an active library system serving the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri, since forming in 1873, includes the Central Library and 9 neighborhood branches in the greater Kansas City area serving an estimated 1.7 million metropolitan residents annually. Library Mission Statement The Kansas City Public Library is a doorway to knowledge for all people in our community. Library Core Values The library recognizes five guiding values outlining the essential purpose of the library: Literacy Lifelong Learning Imagination Intellectual Freedom Service Excellence

2 Library Organizational Chart KCPL Central Library

Customer Service

Central Youth Services

Reference Services

MO Valley Special Collections

Youth Services Manager

2 Professional Librarians

4 NonLibrary Sub Staff Professional (avail. as needed) Staff Department Profile The Central Branch library is located in the historical downtown Kansas City, Missouri. Within the library, it is the goal of the CYS department to serve the children and young adults of the area, but because the library is located in an urban environment relatively few neighborhood families patronize the location. As a result management have currently focused library marketing efforts less on family programming and more on building a destination library for research and educational resources. The CYS department hopes to challenge that assumption and create an active community of youth and family patrons through active and engaging library programming. Department Structure Analysis Overall the departmental structure of CYS is fairly organic with a rating of 2.25 out of 5. This less bureaucratic structure fosters a creative, inspirational, and innovative environment perfect to engage young library patrons. Because staff members are passionate and motivated, the department also enjoys a high level of professionalism within this organic environment. While the department is fairly organic, the organizational level is highly structured balancing the innovative departmental design to create a functional, goal-oriented organization. Within CYS, the level of formalization is very low. Staff policies and procedures are not well documented earning CYS a rating of 2 out of 5 on the bureaucracy scale. Furthermore, staff members are actively encouraged to serve patrons in any way that best suits the situation while

3 keeping the departmental goal of providing best-practice customer service in mind at all times. However on the organizational level, the level of formalization is much higher with formal policies for organizational-level procedures readily available. Also ranking at a 2 out of 5, the level of specialization within the department is fairly low because the small staff is expected to complete a broad range of tasks in order to keep the department operational. Department employees are expected to staff the circulation desk, maintain the youth collection, order materials, and create engaging programming while also helping patrons and handling any unexpected tasks that may appear. The span of control within CYS is relatively short and wide, as one director is responsible for managing all department employees. However, on an organizational level the hierarchy of authority is designed to be tall and narrow, with a branch director managing the organization's 4 departments, including CYS, each of which are managed at the departmental level. Because of the higher organization-level span of control, CYS's hierarchy of authority is rated at a 3 out of 5. Lastly, the level of centralization within CYS is also low currently rating a 2 out of 5 on the bureaucracy scale. Staff members have a high level of discretion in decision making including situations such as budgetary decisions, collection development purchases, and material donations. The CYS director also has a great deal of freedom within the organization and can make departmental changes as necessary with little oversight. Department Technology Analysis Central Youth Services defines technology as any tool that can be used to help CYS staff provide library services to patrons and supporting branch libraries within the library system. Overall, there is a high level of uncertainty within the organization's technology similarly reflecting the organic design of the organization's structure. Workflow Technology. On a scale of 1 to 7 (7 indicating the highest level of interdependency), the interdependent workflow technology of the CYS and the larger organization averages 4.67. On an intradepartmental level, workflow technology is moderately pooled as department staff are expected to complete small or ordinary tasks such as circulation and shelving without involvement from other departments, but many other tasks require reciprocal involvement from other organizational levels. Subsequently, on both the interdepartmental and organizational levels, workflow is more reciprocal. CYS staff frequently interacts with other departments within the Central library giving them an interdepartmental rating of 4 out of 7. For instance, when the Missouri Valley Historical Collections reference librarians have school students visit to get help with their history day projects, they frequently call on the expertise of CYS to assist because of our experience in dealing with students and educators. Organizational level workflow is also fairly high at a 5 out of 7 as the various neighborhood branch employees look to CYS to provide extra resources for programming and outreach. Conversely, CYS staff relies on branch staff to provide information and feedback about each branch to help CYS coordinate and integrate each neighborhood branch into the larger library collection. Task Technology

4 Within the department, there is a high level of variety or uncertainty in tasks averaging a 6 out of 7 on the task technology scale. Although some departmental-level work can be considered routine such as basic collection maintenance, CYS staff regularly encounter unique situations, particularly when working with the public; staff are also encouraged and empowered to use their best judgment when dealing with patrons further insuring a high level of task variety. Furthermore, CYS librarians engage in varied programming within the department and with the support of other departments and also support the neighborhood branches in whatever they may need. While some structure exists within the department and organization, the level of uncertainty remains relatively high. The second characteristic of task technology, analyzability, rates at a modest 3.5 out of 7 reflecting a similarly high level of uncertainty within task technology. As previously stated, there is a process to menial or ordinary tasks, but a large portion of the tasks CYS staff encounter are situational and unique. Moreover, there are very few documented policies to which staff members are held accountable making the level of analyzability fairly uncertain. Technology Fit to Structure The overall level of bureaucracy within the system is highly organic rating a 2.25 out of 5 (higher # indicating increased mechanization). This largely fits the department's technology workflow score of 4.67 out of 7 as well as the average task technology score of 4.75 out of 7, both of which reflect a relatively high level of uncertainty within the department. This organic structure allows staff to communicate and interact on both an intra- and interdepartmental level with flexibility. Because staff members are passionate and motivated, this less-structured format encourages work to be completed quickly and efficiently without the pre-determined, highly formalized structure of mechanistic organizations. SWOT Analysis Internal Organization Youth Services highly encourages collaboration and innovation at both the intra- and interdepartmental levels. While staff numbers may be limited, all staff members are very knowledgeable and well experienced. They are a diverse group that both culturally and economically reflects the community they serve. Professional development is considered a core competency within CYS as staff members are frequently encouraged to complete continuing education and training, mentoring, community networking, and become involved in professional organizations on local, statewide, regional, and national levels. Staff are regularly evaluated to ensure high quality work performance and consequently rewarded for accomplishments creating a positive, supportive work environment. Due to grant funding, the library has materials of quantity and quality sufficient to provide schools with large parcels to create their own type of library. Internal Environment The department is staffed with a limited team of 4 full-time equivalent staff members to serve the large community of the KC Metro area.

5 Because of current low usage statistics within youth services at the Central Library, library funding is not always specifically earmarked for the children's department. Collection resources also used by patrons outside of target audience (i.e. community college and university students).

External Opportunities Urban EnvironmentVery few kids live downtown. Most patrons are transient or immigrants with language barriers Many area children are living in area shelters due to the current economic environment within the Kansas City community. This influx of children in the area presents an opportunity for the library to engage these children in outreach and library programming. Philanthropic support is constant and meaningful including program funding from local sponsors - Hallmark, Target, etc. CYS has previously partnered with many local community groups with common goals giving the department a vast network of resources and support Struggling school district - The Kansas City school district struggles to keep accreditation and keep children in school. Because of these issues, very little attention or funding is paid to school media centers giving the public library the opportunity to fill that role providing school curriculum materials to students. Many smaller charter and private schools as well as Kansas City Missouri public schools in the area use Central Youth Services department as (CYS) their school library since their facilities do not have one. Typically, four to seven school visits occur each week as students focus on research and reading needs. The central library is located in downtown Kansas City adjacent to a popular, artistic warehouse district and historically African American and Latino area neighborhoods. Each of these communities have strong cultural ties to the area from which the library can build a relationship. Under-educated communityKansas City Public School district is ranked in the lowest 5% of the nation. External Environment General The department and library system constantly struggle with the external economic threats of our current economy. Because funding is uncertain, the department Precarious financial situation due to the present poor economy. The central library is surrounded by many suburban communities with popular branch libraries, drawing attention away from the Central Youth Services' collection. The 10-branch library system exists within the Urban Core of Kansas City - some in neighborhoods with history of emotional ties. Yet, the Central Branch is the only one that does not exist in a neighborhood with history of strong emotional ties to its services. Struggling school district - The Kansas City school district struggles to keep accreditation and keep children in school. Because of these issues, very little attention is paid to school media centers. Task

6 CYS has a strong interdepartmental relationship within KCPL. These relationships can be used to enhance the department and goals. For example, the KCPL's publicity department can be used to creatively promote children's programming. Daft (2008) describes this collaboration between the two departments as synergy because they complement each other and advance the work of the library as a whole (p. 43).

7 Strategic Plan The goal of the Youth Services department at KCPL is to establish its role in the community as an information resource to children and teens in the community by partnering with the Kansas City, MO school district to ensure that each school year every fifth grader in the district receives library orientation and a library card. By achieving this goal, the library will help foster an appreciation for the library and recognition of the resources it can provide to students. Implementation of Planned Change In order to meet our goal of increasing literacy among young patrons, CYS will partner the Kansas City school district to provide the resources needed to begin to engage young people in opportunities they have not even dreamed were open to them. By fostering partnerships with other local organizations and businesses in the technology and creativity industries, CYS also expects to make a significant impact on the lives and potentialities of our young people. These partnerships will culminate in a series of K-12 school visits to the KCPL Central Branch and surrounding community. The school visits are expected to begin in May 2013 and will focus on fifth graders for its pilot project. All fifth grade students and teachers will be taught to use the librarys resources, both in the library and from remote locations. They will also be given library cards, while those with cards who have fines or lost items will receive a fresh start with all fees waived. The visit will also include a tour of the inside of the library building and a walking tour of the historic block the building sits on. Resources required for this program include CYS librarians to lead the tours and instruction, bus transportation for students and teachers, blank library cards, and food to provide lunch for the students. To ensure funding for these resources, KCPL intends to apply for a grant from Target. In addition, planning time is required for librarians to contact partnering schools and organizations, create lesson plans, and conduct tour-based research. All of these actions take away time usually devoted to the professional staffs other duties, meaning that either nonprofessional staff or substitutes will also be needed to pick up the slack. Luckily, CYS has previously set aside money in the budget for hiring substitute staff members, thereby ensuring that this program wont hinder the time, money, or duties of the department. Evaluation methods for this program will include recording program attendance, conducting formal and informal interviews and surveys, and gathering materials usage data, community demographics, and anecdotal information. CYS librarians and key staff also plan to meet regularly throughout the process to touch base and address any issues. Timeline December 2012 (CYS management) Apply for Target Grant January 2013 (CYS management) Make Contact with School district Coordinator, Elementary School principles and librarians and 5th grade teachers,

8 January 2013 (CYS management) Notify downtown businesses Contact School Bus company to arrange transportation Notify KCPL managers to coordinate extra sub staff. February 2013 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) Staff meeting to touch base thus far. March 2013 (CYS librarians) Collaborate with Missouri Valley Historical Collection (KCPL's Reference Dept.) to research: o Historic library building's history and compose slide show for students o Famous people in KC History of particular interest to kids (Disney, etc.) Take photographs of library building and downtown building for slide show's virtual tour. April 2013 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) Staff meeting to touch base thus far. May 2013 (CYS librarians, key staff) Once school district's approval has been gained, contact 5th grade teachers to obtain student information for library cards and schedule class visits. Schedule school vists. o Avoid Tuesdays (story-times) and other days the department is short staffed. End of school year. June 2013 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) Staff meeting to touch base thus far. Have part-time and sub staff begin making library cards so that they are ready for each class. August 2013 (CYS librarians, key staff) Compose scripts for library tour guides and practice tour run throughs September 2013 (CYS librarians, key staff) Rehearse slide shows and tours September 2013 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) Staff meeting to touch base thus far. October 2013- May 2014 Begin school visits October 2013 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) Staff meeting to touch base thus far. (After first 3 school visits to evaluate process)

9 May 2014 (CYS management, librarians, key staff, school district coordinator) End of school year. Wrap up grant process with a report, evaluation from staff to see what works and what doesn't in preparation for next school year. Organizational Contingencies The youth services department of KCPL's Central Library will adopt a focused differentiation strategy. Daft (2005) defines this approach as an attempt to distinguish the firms products or services from others in the industry (p. 253). Likewise, CYSs strategic goal attempts to distinguish its library services from the typical services found in a neighborhood branch by targeting young members of the community and others associated with children and youth in the area. By choosing a strategy of differentiation, KCPL's youth services will be able to build upon the current strengths of the department's internal environment, such as the individual knowledge and experience of department staff, while exploiting the external opportunities of this needy area, such as the diverse communities, to ultimately create a unique, notable program for the youth of the Kansas City metro area. Furthermore, this strategy will be focused on those who need and use these services most in an effort to build a community of readers among the youth of Kansas City. This new focus of outreach services will enable library staff to actively engage in the community in a sustainable, meaningful way to increase youth patronage. Although this new strategy is within the confines of KCPLs general mission statement, it will nevertheless influence CYSs organizational structure and culture in terms of task technology and workflow interdependence. As indicated above, there is a currently low level of Specialization or Division of Labor because of the broad range of duties that youth services staff take care of, both inside and outside the department. In addition to school outreach and collection development, for example, childrens librarians are also expected to help with reference services and programming in the general library. CYS typically works within a low level of formalization, meaning that there is very little documentation of written rules and policy. This allows staff flexibility in accomplishing tasks and setting goals. Yet, with a focused differentiation strategy, youth services staff will have to redefine their job responsibilities, resulting in an even lower degree of Specialization (3 out of 5). While professional librarians will focus more on programming, non-professional librarians will pick up more routine and repetitive work, such as supervising the reference desk. Substitutes will also be brought in to cover extra duties for non-professional librarians. In turn, this change will translate to fewer types of services each staff member is responsible for, but a greater number of tasks associated with these responsibilities. For example, while programming may represent one job responsibility for professional staff, the number of tasks associated with community outreach (i.e., publicity, grant writing) is greater. In all, these changes will result in more responsibility for the CYS staff, thereby making the department slightly more organic because there is more variation in the tasks. CYSs strategic goal will have an even greater impact on task technology. At present, there is a high level of variety or uncertainty in tasks garnering a rating of 6 out of 7 on the task technology scale. This rating will increase to 7 because non-professional staff will be expected to cover more tasks within the everyday operations of the library. Professional staff will also be involved in new programming, which increased the uncertainty of their tasks. Analyzability,

10 currently rated at 3.5 out of 7, will also increase slightly to 4.5 because there will be a clear plan and script for professional programming, thus resulting in less situational and unique encounters with patrons. In turn, this change will also slightly increase the departments formalization rating from a 2 (out of 5) to a 3 because there will be more policies to guide patron-librarian interactions, library instruction, and community outreach. Moreover, if programming involves the use of any grants or outside funding, operations will need to well documented or described in bureaucratic detail in order to meet funding requirements. From an organization-level standpoint, these departmental changes will have a minimal impact on KCPLs structure. As previously indicated, the current KCPL organizational level is highly structured, which balances the CYS more organic departmental design to create a functional, goal-oriented organization. This is expected to remain the same, especially in light of the decentralization allowed CYS in their programming choices. One area that will be affected, however, is inter workflow dependence, which is currently highly organic and reciprocal. This technology is expected to become even more organic in terms of pooled and reciprocal workflow. The formercurrently rated 4 out of 7will increase to 5 out of 7 because the CYS department, for instance, will call on adult reference librarians knowledge of specific topics to help supplement their programming, and vice versa. Reciprocal workflow will likewise increase from 5 to 6 out of 7 as CYS and other departments continue to collaborate on new programming and resources to fulfill departmental goals. In all, though KCPLs organizational structure will remain the same as before, workflow technology will become more organic and fluid. Leadership Contingencies With a wide hierarchy of leadership within the department, CYS works together as a team to accomplish the wide variety of tasks for which the department is responsible. Although the department is organic in structure, it is organized and led by a manager who is responsible for leading all employees in the department; moreover, the non-professional staff also look to the professional librarians as leaders within the department. To some degree, leadership power is positional and derived from the manager and professional librarians' authority within the organization; however, personal power is more commonly used to influence staff and affect change. Being long-time librarians and employees of KCPL, both the department manager and professional librarians gather expert power from their education and experience as well as referent power. As the changes of this strategic plan are implemented, these leadership qualities will be very valuable in motivating staff, keeping them focused throughout the implementation, and ultimately creating a successful program beneficial to CYS and the library as a whole. Department leaders currently manage staff as a team relying on employees' innate dedication to service and desire to positively impact the community; in Blake and Mouton's leadership grid (Daft, 2008, p. 496), this is referred to as team management. This management style is highly effective in this organic environment, and department leaders will, therefore, continue to rely on this passion when implementing change. Because librarians and staff are very passionate about increasing youth patronage and serving the underprivileged youth of the area, this leadership style is expected to be very affective in this situation. Management further motivates staff through application of goal-setting theory (Daft, 2008, p. 534). Using this theory, the department manager sets specific personal goals for each staff member in alliance with the larger department-wide goal of increasing youth patronage. This allows staff to feel as if they are

11 making a personal contribution to the larger project in a meaningful and important way. To further validate this form of motivation, the department manager provides feedback for staff through regular reviews. Providing feedback allows the manager an opportunity to review the use of goal-setting theory with each employee and adjust goals as necessary; furthermore, this feedback process allows the manager to assert control over the staff and the quality of services provided in the form of feedback control. By intertwining control and motivation, the department manager can continue to encourage an organic environment while also insuring that a quality service is produced.

12 References Daft, R. L. (2008). Management. 8th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western. Kansas City Public Library. (n.d.). Giving. Retrieved from