Library Strategic Plan 2008-2012

Orange Beach Public Library

Strategic Plan


During the month of August 2007, the Orange Beach Public Library conducted a survey of its customers. The results of that survey were used as a planning tool along with input from community members, the Library Board and staff.

Of the 390 people who completed the survey, ninety-two percent were library card holders. Ninety-six point five percent said they were satisfied with the library’s service with 74% saying they were very satisfied. However, there are improvements that they would like to see. These ranged from the addition of more books and other materials to the addition of quiet study areas and comfortable reading areas.

The majority of those surveyed considered the library location convenient although thirty-eight percent live five or more miles from the library. This is significant according to Library consultant Lowell Martin who ascribes some of the same draw area values to libraries that one would typically connect to retail operations such as a grocery store. This would argue for the development of smaller branch or reading libraries to be strategically placed away from the current facility and near high density population areas. These facilities could be compared to a Circle K whereas the current/expanded library would be a full service grocery store.

Citizens clearly value their library. Eighty-five percent say it is a very important city service with 43.3% of those saying it is absolutely essential. Typically, libraries are among the most highly valued city services next to police and fire protection. Libraries are seen as contributing to the well-being of the populace, aiding education, and contributing to public awareness and discussion.

Based on the opinions of those surveyed the present location of the library is convenient and lends itself to further development. Expansion of the children’s area and development of a separate space for young adults as well as the addition of more community meeting rooms is desired. An expansion plan that takes into account the various wishes of the community would better position the library as the community center – a place for dialogue, learning and self expression.

Who We Are

The Orange Beach Public Library (OBPL) serves the citizens of Orange Beach (5,519) and our surrounding area. It is a member of the Baldwin County Library Cooperative and serves a seasonal population of “snowbirds” who are heavy users of the library resources. Currently, there are over 10,000 active OBPL library issued.

Recently, The Orange Beach Public Library staff, Library Board and Strategic Planning Committee gathered to review important information from and about our community, reassess our goals, and plan for the future. 

The diverse population served requires a collection that reflects their needs and interests. The heavy computer use also requires that we keep our technology in good working order and seek ways to provide as many computers as possible.  It is vital that we maintain our role as a provider of 24/7 wireless internet access to meet the demands of this population. The rapid change in technology demands that the library constantly evaluate the information it makes available, the formats it supports and that it can support. We must position ourselves to quickly respond to these changes to meet the increasing needs of our community.  In addition, we want to strengthen our role as the place people gather for thoughtful conversation, quiet contemplation, and community celebrations.

The Orange Beach Public Library was the first library in the state to be recognized for the achievement of library standards at the Blue Ribbon level (1996).  We have earned a reputation for excellent public service that the community has come to expect.  Always eager to raise the bar, we have engaged in a rigorous process of self-inquiry which resulted in a revealing look into our organization, our community, and our future.  This has provided us with insights that led us to develop a plan that is both inspiring and achievable.  The Orange Beach Public Library is committed to innovative planning and creative action in our organization, our profession, and our community.  The plan outlined here will guide us over the next five years.

The mission of the Orange Beach Public Library is to provide our community free and open access to the information, materials and services they need for life-long learning, civic engagement and the exchange of ideas. To that end, the Orange Beach Public Library will hire and cultivate staff members with unparalleled levels of skill, integrity, and professional commitment.

The Orange Beach Public Library will sustain its commitment to providing visionary, innovative, and standard-setting library service and resources.

Goals and Objectives

1. The Library acknowledges the community's desire for more efficient and convenient methods of checkout.  We will create self-service options and increase the ease and convenience of various registration and circulation functions.

  • 1.1. Investigate and establish self-check-out service.
  • 1.2. Explore providing credit/debit card payment options.

2. The Library will work with the Baldwin County Library Cooperative and our sister libraries to improve the functionality and consistency of our catalog to ensure its accuracy, usability, and effectiveness.

  • 2.1. Explore catalog enhancements to create a more browser friendly atmosphere.
  • 2.2. Continue regular record review and correction to insure the accuracy of the catalog.

3. The Library will continue to expand and maintain collections that respond to community needs.  We will remain a responsible steward of public funds by choosing materials and formats wisely and securing materials from damage and theft.

  • 3.1. Staff will regularly review circulation records, Inter-library loans and holds to ascertain use patterns and assure that the collection reflects the needs of the customer.
  • 3.2. The Orange Beach Public Library will automatically purchase an additional title whenever there are five holds for that title.
  • 3.3. Staff will regularly review use of and availability of electronic resources that would enhance the services it offers to its customers.
  • 3.4. OBPL will safe guard its materials through use/maintenance of a library security system and an annual inventory.

4. Quality programs inform and enrich the lives of our citizens.  We will provide excellent programs for adults and children.  We will pursue diverse funding to support programs and exhibits which are of local, regional, and national significance.

  • 4.1. We will expand programming options for children that enhance reading skills.
  • 4.2. We will provide Young Adult programming to enhance the customer’s ability to successfully and independently complete school assignments.
  • 4.3. We will periodically survey our customers to determine areas of programming interest/need.

5. The Library will continue to upgrade equipment, software, electronic resources, and our website to meet the growing and changing technological expectations our patrons as outlined in our Technology Plan.  We will meet and anticipate those expectations while balancing the Library's resources effectively.

  • 5.1. The Library will conduct a comprehensive inventory of computer equipment and identify items that should be replaced.
  • 5.2. Staff will develop a replacement/upgrade schedule for computers, software and peripheral devices.
  • 5.3. Staff will identify new and emerging technology that the OBPL should make available to its clients.
  • 5.4. The OBPL will continue to develop and enhance its web site.

6. The OBPL Library will work with the City of Orange Beach to expand its present facility and develop branch libraries to meet emerging demand. Library staff will use results from a 2007 customer survey to shape plans for a library expansion which reflects the desire of 88% of the respondents for comfortable space for reading, 77% for quite study areas.

  • 6.1. Staff will develop a time line for expansion for the Board’s approval.
  • 6.2. Staff will work with the Board and City officials to develop a plan for expansion of its current facility.Plans will include:
    expansion of the children’s area
    quiet study areas
    comfortable reading space indoors and out
    additional meeting rooms including but not limited to a high tech space