2014-2017 Strategic Plan
The rapidly changing world of librarianship in general, and Jewish librarianship in particular, prompted the AJL Council in 2013 to authorize the development of a strategic plan to guide AJL in addressing such changes as the impact of the Internet, e-publishing and other technologies, as well as the evolving roles of libraries in the school and synagogue environments. Dr. Yaffa Weisman chaired the committee that consisted of Jackie Ben-Efraim, Suzi Dubin, Heidi Estrin, Fred Isaac, Rachel Leket-Mor, Daniel Scheide, Rose Shoshanah Seidman, and Amalia Warshenbrot. Dick Fishman and Fred Samulon of the Executive Service Corps (www.escsc.org ) facilitated the plan development.
The process consisted of a SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis, interviews with more than twenty stakeholders by the ESC facilitators; the development of a vision statement and the creation of a mission statement that took into account the new world in which AJL must exist. This plan reflects the results of the committee’s deliberations which include the development of goals and identifying specific objectives to achieve the goals; setting specific milestones for each objective to assess progress; identification of a lead person for each objective; determination of required resources, and a projected date of completion for each milestone.
Two themes emerged from the SWOT analysis and the stakeholder interviews: Relevance and Effectiveness. The issue of relevance touched upon the ability of AJL to stay current in face of the changes mentioned above and to provide professional and peer guidance in these areas to its members as well as to actively recruit new members in order to become financially sustainable. AJL must become and continue to stay relevant to a broader group of interested parties, such as publishers, authors, book sellers, heads of large Judaica collections, Jewish Studies faculty and similar constituents, that have direct bearing on the AJL’s vision and mission. The issue of effectiveness was raised in regard to the Association’s ability, with its current leadership structure and best practices, to run the organization in a business-like way and to make it financially sustainable.
With this in mind, the committee developed four main goals:
- Dramatically increase AJL’s relevance to key constituents and communicate the Association’s capabilities to them.
- Strengthen connections with and among membership to build a sense of professional community that engages current members and attracts new members. This goal will also address enhancements of the structure of our conferences.
- Ensure that AJL’s management is efficient, consistent, effective and transparent.
- Establish a robust development function to ensure a vibrant and sustainable organization.
The following sections provide a brief history of AJL and its activities, the detailed plan, the objectives for achieving each goal, and the process that will be followed to ensure implementation of the plan.
AJL Strategic Plan for 2014-2017 Goals and Objectives
Dramatically increase AJL’s relevance to key constituents and communicate the Association’s capabilities to them.
- Identify the key constituents and determine how AJL can best benefit them. Key constituents may include, in addition to librarians and library workers, educators, religious leaders, philanthropists, publishers, academics, vendors, etc. Leader: Etta Gold.
- Take stock of what the membership and the association as a whole have to offer in terms of programs and expertise. Leader: Tina Weiss.
- Determine how other library associations make themselves relevant to and communicate with their constituents. Leader: Amalia Warshenbrot.
- Develop a plan to enhance the relevance to constituents based on the research done above. Leader: Heidi Estrin.
- Communicate current capabilities and the plan to stakeholders on an ongoing, regular basis. Leader: Danielle Winter.
Strengthen connections with and among membership to build a sense of professional community that engages current members and attracts new members.
- Determine how we currently interact with members and how members interact with each other. Leader: Tina Weiss.
- Identify and implement ways to improve communications with members. Leader: Sheryl Stahl.
- Determine what the membership is seeking in terms of benefits of membership. Leader: Tina Weiss.
- Design and implement benefits to members based on the results of the assessment. Leader: Sheryl Stahl.
- Sustain and grow the membership by 10%. Leader: VP Membership.
Ensure that AJL’s management is efficient, consistent, effective and transparent.
- Document and communicate organizational processes, responsibilities, meetings and deadlines. Leader: Joy Kingsolver.
- Provide Leadership Training to Council and Membership. Leader: Aimee Lurie.
- Regularly evaluate processes and improve as needed. Leader: AJL President.
Establish a robust development function to ensure a vibrant and sustainable organization.
- Provide fund development training to council members. Leader: AJL President.
- Establish the structure of the Development function. Leader: AJL President.
- Institute the fundamentals of fundraising. Leaders: James Rosenbloom, AJL President.
- Cultivate donors. Leaders: James Rosenbloom, Fred Isaac.
Process for Ensuring Implementation of the Strategic Plan
- Charging a small committee, the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee (SPOC) with monitoring progress of the plan. This committee consists of Fred Isaac, Amalia Warshenbrot and Jackie Ben-Efraim, who assumed the responsibility of leading the implementation of the plan in June of 2014.
- Objective leaders providing a plan for achieving their objective.
- Objective leaders reporting status to the SPOC on a quarterly basis.
- SPOC reporting progress on a quarterly basis to the Council.
- Convening the Strategic Planning Committee at least yearly to review and revise the plan.