Public library planning: a routine practice? Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2017

start page

  • 237

end page

  • 247


  • 4/5


  • 38

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0143-5124

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-7921


  • Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to study whether organisations, in this case libraries, continue to plan after having done so at least once, and whether they conduct planning on a routine basis. Design/methodology/approach - The websites of 71 libraries, that in 2006 had a strategic or long-term plan, were analysed to determine whether in 2016 they had a new plan in place. Where there was none or where the name of the plan had changed, e-mails were sent to the head librarian to ascertain the reasons. Findings - A total of 71.83 per cent of the libraries in the sample had a new plan underway in October 2016, i.e., ten years later. A significant rise (+ 8.03 per cent) in the number of three-year plans was observed relative to 2006, perhaps because the crisis and resulting uncertainty have induced libraries to narrow their decision-making windows. A preference for the term "strategic plan": over "long-range plan" was also detected in 2016. Originality/value - The study provides empirical evidence of the existence of routine planning. The continuity of plans in a series of libraries shows that in practice planning is a systematic, continuous and iterative activity, as contended in planning theory.


  • Library Science and Documentation


  • strategic plan; public library; planning; routine; organizational strategy; long-range plan