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Strategic Planning 2009 - 2013

The Royal Oak Public Library has developed a strategic plan for 2009-2013 based on community needs and values and informed by progressive library practices across the nation.

The previous comprehensive Library planning process ultimately resulted in the beautiful renovated building we currently enjoy. With that major hurdle cleared, it was time to take another look and set Library direction for the next five years.

With the assistance of a community based Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the Library staff and Board assessed strengths and opportunities and research trends, looked at comparable as well as very creative libraries, and then asked the challenging questions about the roles ROPL can play in this community.

The community was involved through focus groups as well as an online opinion survey:

  • Focus groups responded to assumptions and provided suggestions for direction;
  • An online survey verified assumptions from board, steering committee and focus groups;
  • These responses are provided in the Stakeholder Feedback accessible from the menu on the right.


The Executive Summary was published in January of 2009. The Library is now in its implementation phase. Progress reports will be posted periodically.


Thank you for your participation and support. This is your Library; your voice is needed and appreciated.

Metta T. Lansdale, Jr.
ROPL Director
January 2009


Dear Royal Oak Residents

The Board and Staff of the Royal Oak Public Library and the Strategic Planning Steering Committee are pleased to share with you the ROPL Strategic Plan for 2009-2013. The plan is a dynamic tool that we will use to guide our decision making over the next three to five years.

Throughout 2008, members of the broader community collaborated with the Library Board in the strategic planning process through Steering Committee membership, focus groups and a community survey. The result is a comprehensive set of goals and strategies directed at strengthening the Library as an accessible and engaging community resource and an active partner in maintaining the vitality of Royal Oak. We thank all of you for helping set progressive and creative direction for the Library. We are pleased to dedicate ourselves to enriching the quality of our community life.

Metta T. Lansdale, Jr.
Library Director

David S. Palmer
Board President


Snapshot of the Royal Oak Community

From the vibrant downtown district to the traditional family neighborhoods, Royal Oak offers the appeal of a small town while providing the theaters, coffeehouses, restaurants and distinctive shops of a larger city. In short, Royal Oak has a distinct personality, and it is this personality the Royal Oak Public Library seeks to reflect.

  • 57,236 Residents
  • 28,063 Households
  • $60,184 Median Income 
  • 47.7% Bachelor's degree and above
  • 20% Families with children
  • 42% Households with people living alone

Strong Performance Indicators

The Royal Oak Public Library provides a diverse slate of programs and offerings that have increased the community's use of the Library.

  • 79% The number of programs and events has increased 79%, from 193 in 2005 to 345 in 2007.
  • 27% The Library welcomed more than 206,000 visitors in 2007, an increase of 27% since 2005.
  • 44% Although the collection has not increased, offerings provide more variety and community appeal, resulting in a 44% increase in lending transactions.
  • 297% Computer use in the Library has grown exponentially, up 297% since 2005.
  • 7% Reference questions are up 7% since 2005.
  • 44% Nearly half of Royal Oak residents have Library cards.

Unique Library Programs and Services

Current Library programs are outstanding and serve as a foundation for future direction.

Health Information

Partnership with Beaumont Hospital and Wayne State University resulted in the Royal Oak Health Information Portal, a comprehensive program designed to provide direct access to the highest quality health information resources in print and online, locally and on the internet, all at no charge to the public.

Arts Programs

In conjunction with the Royal Oaks Arts Council, the library showcases the works of local artists. Through this partnership, the Writer in Residence program, a jazz series, music and movie collections, and a partnership with Royal Oak's Baldwin Theater, the Library features and promotes all manner of creative arts in the Royal Oak community.

Environmental Awareness Program

The Library hosts Think Green, a series of seminars addressing environmental education at the local level. We've also introduced reusable, recycled Library bags and have moved completely to electronic borrower notices for materials that are on hold or overdue.


Themes for the Future

To prepare for the future, the Library engaged a cross section of the Royal Oak community to examine community data, Library performance and national library trends. These residents shared their ideas of ways in which the Library could better meet the current and emerging needs of the Royal Oak community.

From these conversations, six themes emerged:

Focus on Royal Oak Demographics

In 41% of Royal Oak households, people live alone. Of Library patrons, 68% are between the ages of 25 and 65, and 64% are women. Youth under age 17 comprise 15% of patrons, while only 9% are ages 18-24. Additional programs and services should engage seniors, teens and tweens, and men, ensuring that the Library serves a greater representation of the community.

Pursue Collaborations in the Royal Oak Community

Initiate more partnerships with schools, nonprofit and community organizations, and use these partnerships to reach a broader segment of the community and be a resource for supporting community issues.

Increase Convenience and Accessibility

Add Sunday hours, upgrade parking access, and increase web-based services to better serve the needs of the community.

Convene the Community

Further connect the Library with the community consciousness by hosting dialogue and information-sharing events about community issues and concerns and by educating people about the community.

Strengthen and Grow the Collection

Balance the need of desired new media holdings with the need of protecting the classics; expand foreign language collections and ensure sustained quality of the overall collections.

Increase the Marketing/Education about Programs and Services

Inform the community about the Library services and programs using a cohesive, 21st century marketing approach.

These themes are the basis for three strategic goals for our future, with an ultimate vision of the Library as a partner in serving the distinct, vibrant community of Royal Oak.


Stakeholder Feedback


Goals and Strategies

Over the next three years, the vision of the Library as a community resource will move toward reality as we focus on three major goals:

Build Community

By building strong partnerships in the community and with progressive leadership from the Board and staff, the Royal Oak Public Library commits to support Royal Oak as a vibrant place to live, work and play. The Library will develop as a shared community place of learning, relaxation and connection. Specific strategies will be to:

  • Establish the Library as a community gathering space, both physically and virtually.
  • Increase convenience and access to Library resources.
  • Partner with writers, performers and visual artists to keep Royal Oak cool and culturally vibrant.
  • Strengthen the city-Library relationship.

Support Lifelong Learning

The Library provides services, programs and materials for parents with babies and toddlers, for adults long past their days of formal education, and for all in between. Library services will be enhanced by addressing needs and desires of all segments of the population, focusing on resources for personal continuing education or for supplementing resources in area centers of learning. Specific strategies will be to:

  • Expand collaborative partnerships with area schools and institutions of higher education.
  • Improve the collection.
  • Engage teens with an improved area, including soundproofed space, a teen book club and teen-only computers, as well as more materials and enhanced service opportunities.
  • Engage seniors and people living alone.

Ensure Excellent Financial Stewardship and a Viable Infrastructure

The Library Board and staff take seriously their responsibility as effective stewards of public resources. Being creative in our approach to resource generation is necessary, especially in difficult economic times. Stewardship includes a commitment to the concept that the public resource is relevant and is used by as many people as possible. Specific strategies will be to:

  • Investigate the opportunities and issues of district library status.
  • Generate resources needed to support priority goals and strategies.
  • Implement a staffing model that allows for seamless self-service and accessible, professional support for patrons.
  • Improve processes and technology to manage inventory and increase transactions.
  • Market the Library as a community resource.

Strategic Planning Leadership

Development of this community plan for the future of the Royal Oak Public Library was guided by the generous support of community volunteers, Library trustees, and committed staff members.

Strategic Planning Steering Committee

Community Representatives

Don Chisholm
Sharlan Douglas
Maureen Elliott
James Ellison, Mayor
Carlo Ginotti, City Commissioner
Christine Hartwig
Kevin McLogan
John Miller
Thomas Moline
John Pelegrino
Anne V. Scott
Dave Woodward, County Commissioner

Library Trustees

Frank Houston
Joan Koelsch
Kenneth Rosen

Library Staff

Mary Karshner, Head of Youth and Teen Services
Metta T. Lansdale, Jr., Library Director
Rosemary Mirsky, Adult Services Librarian
Monica Pardy, Library Page and Community Volunteer

2008 Board of Trustees

David S. Palmer, President
Christopher M. Ahn, Vice President
Nancy Hollyer, Secretary
Ronald Halstead
Frank Houston
Joan Koelsch
Kenneth Rosen
Amy Schell
Lauren Wolfe

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 15:18

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