Trustee Training: Community Engagement and Strategic Planning – Two Workshops for Trustees | Compendium

Michael Kumer

How can we become more fully connected to our communities? How do we know what our community wants and needs? Are we basing our decisions on those wants and needs? And how do we plan for those wants and needs?

Trustees and Library Directors from the North Central Library District and surrounding districts gathered at the James V Brown Library in Williamsport on June 13, 2017 for a day to discuss these questions.  We reconvened on July 13th to create a strategic planning model incorporating those elements identified in the previous workshop. Participants learned from one another as well as from our presenter, Michael Kumer. Michael is the founder and owner of Boards MTO (Made to Order), a consulting firm helping community benefit boards attain excellence in all areas of governance.

Community-Driven Governance is a framework that defines a board’s primary purpose as leadership toward making a significant, visionary difference in the community the organization serves. “Making a difference” is the reason most board members join boards. This framework is called “Governing for What Matters.”  The board’s work centers around a plan that aims first and foremost at the difference the organization will make in the community. The board is aware that its decisions are aligned with furthering the organizations mission, vision, and values. Vision statements are community based and express a destination. A mission statement is a statement of purpose and answers the question: how will we realize our vision? Values statements tell the world outside and inside the organization “what talk you want to walk and can give you the tools for measuring whether or not you are indeed walking that talk”. The only way to create an amazing future for our communities is if we do our work in a way that reflects universally shared values. This ensures we do not squander our time and resources rationalizing our actions, and it helps ensure that we are not potentially squandering our community’s goodwill. The strategic planning model we developed included vision, mission, values, strategies, and metrics (how will progress be measured).

Participants walked away with a better understanding of how to listen to their communities, align their libraries with their community’s needs, and creating a plan for furthering libraries’ mission, vision, and values.

This workshop was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, Governor.


Submitted by June Houghtaling,
District Consultant
North Central Library District