Delaware Libraries- Planning for the Future

Beginning in 2002, with leadership from the Delaware Division of Libraries and the Delaware Council on Libraries, the Delaware library community embarked on extensive, statewide strategic planning. These planning efforts were designed to engage the public in an active discussion of the kinds of library and information services that were needed, and to examine the long-term infrastructure, services, facility, and technologies required to meet the public's expectations.

A first step was the development of a Balanced Scorecard strategy map for Delaware libraries, in alignment with Baldrige Criteria for performance excellence. All of the strategic plans conducted are linked to, and expand on, initiatives in the strategy map. The strategic plans completed to date have been effective in providing library leaders with the evidence and support to obtain increased funding and to implement improvements to support Delawareans in achieving their full potential.

Delaware Libraries Planning for the Future Strategic Plans

Delaware Libraries Governance and Funding: An Assessment of Operational Funding and Governance Issues for the Proposed Duck Creek Regional Library (2013)


Case Study on Delaware Job Centers, 2013


Public Libraries - Statewide Master Plan for Library Services and Construction

Key Findings (summary)

  • 92% of library users, and 84% of non-library users said libraries are "vital" or "very important" to the quality of life in their community
  • Delaware's library collections are too small and are out of date
  • Almost without exception, Delaware's public libraries are badly understaffed
  • Delaware has too many library buildings but less than half of the library space needed to offer high-quality library service
  • Unless a concerted effort is made to improve library service quickly, Delaware is likely to fall further behind due to significant population growth

Key Recommendations
A major theme is to increase capacity. Highlights include:

  • A Statewide goal for library space of one square foot per capita
    • A tier of library facilities and services, designated as Anchor, Regional, and Community libraries
    • A minimum Community library size of 10,000 square feet
  • Recruit and retain qualified staff
  • Streamline governance and increase county support
  • Leverage technology to provide seamless access

Delaware Public Library Construction Guidelines: Recommendations for Facilities and Services
In February 2009, the Council On Libraries adopted a reviewed excerpt from the Master Plan.

Delaware Public Library Service Guidelines (in progress)

Sussex County Library Plans

One plan consisted of additional interviews to further explore the multitudes of governance. The other is a joint-use study to explore the feasibility of designing a combined public and academic library.

Kent County Libraries (Discontinued in March 2006)

New Castle County Libraries: Staffing Studies (in progress)

Delaware Public Library Profiles



US Impact Study - Web Survey Results for Delaware, April 2010 and November 2011


The Web Survey was conducted in 2009 by the University of Washington for IMLS (Institute of Museum & Library Services) and the Gates Foundation, to understand the ways in which patrons use public access computers in the libraries. There were 412 Delaware respondents.

The most common activities in using the computers were:
  • 65% Social Inclusion: Communicate with family and friends, some outside US, pursue a hobby, learn new skills
  • 49% Employment & 10% Entrepreneurship: Search for job or career opportunity, send out resume, start or manage a business
  • 48% Health: Learn about medical condition, diet or nutrition, exercise, prescription drugs, insurance
  • 47% Education: Class research, online classes, learn aboutcolleges/admissions
  • 43% eGovernment: Get government forms, learning about programs and services, laws and regulations, seek help
  • 41% Civic engagement: Keep up with news, current events, social causes
  • 38% eCommerce: Online banking, pay bills

Most survey respondents (88%) reported having regular access to a computer and the Internet somewhere other than a public library.

Reasons for using library computers when alternative access is available include:
  • Lack of access to high speed internet access at home
  • During gaps in access (breakage, lacking necessary software, etc.)
  • Household competition - with siblings or parents over a single household computer
  • For a change in scenery - to maintain a normal schedule and stay connected to the community
  • During lunch breaks or while running errands - look up phone numbers, driving directions
  • Supplement to the library catalog - looking up book reviews, etc.
  • To receive technology training and assistance from librarians
Notable trends:
  • The trend of alleviating workload of community agencies or supplementing their efforts, and serving as a de facto service organization.
  • The library serves as a clearinghouse for many types of training offered by government and private agencies.
  • Librarians provide one-on-one assistance for users working through their own learning process; the library is an environment with resources that support all stages of learning, and helps people stay current with the skills necessary for getting and keeping their jobs.
DE State Impact Survey November 2011
US Impact Study April 2010



Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Plan

  • The federal five year LSTA Plan for 2008-2012 in Delaware has been approved by the Delaware Council on Libraries and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • The federal five year LSTA Plan for 2013-2017 in Delaware has been approved by the Delaware Council On Libraries on May 3, 2012 and Approved by IMLS on September 24, 2012.
  • Delaware's state profile at IMLS.gov


Library Services to Persons with Disabilities

Reading for All: Extending Public Library Services to Delawareans with Special Needs- A Strategic Plan (2008-2012)

Major themes include updating accessible technologies, and integrating services with those of public and school libraries. An initial step is to change the name of Delaware Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped to Delaware Library Access Services. The change shifts the focus to integration and is a more approachable name for those who are newly disabled.



Medical Libraries

A Prescription for the Future: Medical and Health Information Services for all Delawareans: A Strategic Plan (2008-2012)

The Delaware Division of Libraries and the Delaware Academy of Medicine library joined forces to develop a strategic plan that documents the need, and provides suggested approaches for improved medical and clinical information, public health information, and consumer health information in Delaware.

Related Documents (.pdf links will open in a new window):

School Libraries

At the direction of the Governor's Task Force on School Libraries, Dr. Ross Todd of Rutgers University conducted a study which confirmed that quality school libraries do contribute significantly to student learning. The recommendations, similiar to the public library studies, also highlight the theme of capacity building in terms of certified libraries, collections, and technology.




Adult Literacy

Interagency Council on Adult Literacy (ICAL)Summit Report. July 2008 (awaiting final report)
The Delaware Division of Libraries has been represented on ICAL since its inception.


Digitization and Preservation

In 2007, the Delaware Division of Libraries initiated strategic planning for preservation and digitization of unique historical items in public libraries. The Delaware Division of Libraries also conducted strategic planning with Delaware Public Archives, the Delaware Government Information Center, Delaware Historical and Cultural Affairs, and the Department of Technology and Information to clarify responsibilities within state government for access and preservation of historical and born-digital government information.

  • Current Digital Preservation Capability of the State of Delaware, July 2007 Digital Preservation Strategy for the State of Delaware, Digital Preservation Planning Project, August 2007 NEDCC Reports (click here)
    13 public libraries responded to a survey, participated in a workshop, and applied for site visits to be conducted at their libraries.
  • Delaware Statewide Digitization Plan, August 2007 Delaware Statewide Preservation Planning Report, August 2007 Delaware Collection Stewardship Project Grant (click here)
    Tom Clareson, PALINET consultant, summarized the digitization and preservation studies to date. The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is also a partner on this project to evaluate collections in 50 additional museums, libraries, and historical societies. The final report is available here.
  • Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT) Development of Statewide Disaster Preparedness and Response Consortium, July 2008
    The Delaware Public Archives was the lead agency for this study conducted by consultant Julie Page from the California Preservation Program. The Delaware Division of Libraries and Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, along with all of their partners, were invited to participate. The group continues to meet and DDL support the "preserveDE" listserv.


Consumer Studies

The training and consulting expertise obtained through the Delaware Quality Partnership and the First State Quality Improvement Fund have provided input into the design of studies conducted to increase awareness of customer perspectives on library services. The information obtained from these studies is used for reporting to IMLS on patron outcomes, or Outcome Based Evaluation, and for ongoing library development.

Delaware Library Segmentation Study, December 2005

  • The Institute for Learning Innovation conducted a pilot study at the Dover Public Library to identify the motivations for library use.

Librarians' Leadership for Lifelong Learning

  • Study which examines and supports self-directed lifelong learning of public library users.


2008 Library Summit

Panelists at the December 2008 Library Summit discussed the impact of library services in the areas of health, lifelong learning, and economic development. Out of this discussion, action items for the Delaware library community were developed.
Click here for a synthesis of the action items, or below for items in the individual areas:


Delaware Libraries 1901 – 2001: Celebrating 100 Years Serving Our Community

Last Updated: Monday, 07-Apr-2014 08:04:34 EDT
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