County of San Luis Obispo Libraries 2019 - 2022 Strategic Plan





It is our pleasure to present the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries’ 2019-2022 Strategic Plan!

The development process for this strategic plan took place between January 2018 and November 2018. The plan was crafted by a team composed of the Library management team; and relied heavily on input gathered through community conversations, community surveys, and workshops involving the entire County of SLO Library staff. During the planning process we heard from thousands of library patrons and community members about their aspirations for their communities, and specifically what they needed from the Library.

Over the next three years staff at all levels of our organization will be working to address the current needs of the library and laying the groundwork for future Library services. Our team identified that we first must make a commitment maintain the core services our community has come to rely on such as children’s and adult programming, focus on early literacy, and offering exceptional customer service. Our team further identified five additional goals that will build off those core services and ensure the library remains a vital part of the civic infrastructure of our community.

Goal 1 – Maintain Core Services
Goal 2 – Reimagine Library Spaces
Goal 3 – Cultivate Innovation & Creativity
Goal 4 – Be a Community Connector
Goal 5 – Deliver Exceptional Service
Goal 6 – Ensure Financial Health

 We invite you to download the entire 2019-2022 Strategic Plan to learn more.

We are incredibly proud of the work that our team achieves, and we are excited to share with you our accomplishments over the coming years. Thank you for your continued support and use of the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries.



2019 Updates

Goal: Maintain Core Services

  • Maintain core exceptional circulation services.
    • Software update increased functionality in catalog aiding patron discovery and self-service: Similar Titles Available Now, Similar Authors and Series, Reader Reviews and Lexile number.
    • Deployed 2-D barcode scanners programmed to use the CDL scan feature for patron registration in LEAP at Regional and Community Libraries.
    • Discontinued charging overdue fines, thus removing barriers to access.
  • Maintain core youth services.
    • County of SLO Public Libraries provided 434 early literacy events to children ages 0-5 between July 1, 2019 and December 20, 2019.
    • Atascadero Library provided 27 CreateSpace maker classes for teens and tweens, including: sewing, painting, robotics, VR, and other maker topics.
    • The County of SLO provided 217 programs specifically for school age children between July 1, 2019 and December 20, 2019
    • The County of SLO provided 91 programs specifically for teens and tweens between July 1, 2019 and December 20, 2019.
  • Maintain core adult services.
    • Continued to grow Library of Things
      • Added 5 induction cooktops,
      • Added 3 Oculus Go,
      • Added 1 Basic Sewing MachineSecured $2500 in support from OA, OS FoL groups for 2020
    • Continued to grow Programs in a Box
      • Added 28 Programs in a Box
  • A record number of adults (703) participated in the Adult Summer Reading Program.
  • Maintain core audio-visual services
    • Provided film programming by screening Blow-Up at the Palm Theater in support of Baron Wolman’s Backstage Pass exhibition. Held an outdoor screening of Coco in Shamel Park in Cambria in support of a Library Innovation Lab Grant series of programs.
    • Maintained many on-going film series such as Films of Influence at San Luis Obispo Library.
    • Provided free digital collections such as Kanopy (film) and CloudLibrary (e-books and audiobooks) to our patrons 24/7.
  • Maintain exceptional support services
    • Reconciled end-of-year materials budget and began purchasing materials in Fiscal Year 19/20 earlier than ever before.
    • Cross-trained circulation staff on AMH and sorting practices for maximum efficiency in processing returns and shipment.
    • Training in progress for Support Services staff to assume some acquisitions tasks.

Goal: Reimagine Library Spaces

  • Upgrade public IT infrastructure by providing reliable, state of the art power, data, and automation.
    • Purchased free-standing USB charging stations for Atascadero Library and installed workspace with power incorporated at San Luis Obispo Library.
  • Review and repurpose public and private spaces to maximize usage and efficiency.
    • Installing patio covers at Arroyo Grande and Morro Bay Libraries to create inviting spaces for programming and gathering.
    • Installing patio furniture and café tables in the amphitheater area of the San Luis Obispo Library to encourage use of the space.
    • Removed trees to install back patio area at the Los Osos Library.
  • Provide a balanced approach to wayfinding at each library that uses both intuitive signals and signage to help the public navigate the building and locate what they need
    • Conducted a wayfinding survey of libraries to discover what questions were being asked at service desks.
    • Created “heat maps” of library use to discover how people navigate our libraries.
  • Facilities management – provide library spaces that are welcoming, clean, and safe.
    • Installed security cameras at Atascadero Library.
    • Implemented and trained staff on Incident Tracker software to report incidents in libraries.
    • Installed sharps containers in public restrooms at all library branches.
    • Working with County Risk Management and vendors to purchase new ergonomically correct furniture.


Goal: Cultivate Innovation and Creativity

  • Invoke innovation among all staff.
    • Received approval for mini grant awarded to staff who implement ideas from the idea generator.
    • Began building the Inspiration Academy to inspire staff with targeted completion date of March 2020.
  • Deliver innovative and creative programs and services
    • Continued to grow Library of Things.
      • Added 5 induction cooktops.
      • Added 3 Oculus Go.
      • Added 1 basic sewing machine
  • Continued to grow Programs in a Box
    • Added 28 Programs in a Box
  • Expanded exhibits in all libraries.
    • Santa Margarita Library hosted Smithsonian traveling poster exhibit “City of Hope.”
    • Cambria & Morro Bay Library hosted Hearst Tilework display.
    • Cambria Library hosted Julia Morgan Architectural Facsimiles display.
    • All branches hosted Centennial local history photo display.
    • San Luis Obispo Library hosted American Farmer and Sign of the Times exhibits.
  • Increased innovative services for adults
    • Partnered with CA State Parks and offered Hearst Castle programs 20 programs in various branches.
    • Record number of adults (703) participated in the Adult Summer Reading Program.
    • Atascadero Library began programming for disabled adults.
    • San Luis Obispo Library partnered with Shower the People to offer shower services on Sundays.
    • Los Osos and Morro Bay Libraries offering virtual reality programming with the Oculus Quest.
    • Partnered with Meals that Connect in Los Osos to provide homebound book delivery.
    • Began outreach to senior care facilities in Arroyo Grande and Nipomo Libraries.
    • Began offering Family Literacy services via partnership with Literacy for Life.
    • Hosted the Library Centennial event at the Dallidet Adobe.
    • Launched Yewno, a conceptual searching database.
  • Measure impact of and sustain innovation and creative programs and services
    • Used Public Library Association’s Project Outcome to measure the impact of Cambria Library’s New Communities 

Goal: Be a Community Connector

  • Develop Stronger Community Partnerships with Senior Serving Agencies
    • Library purchasing three sprinter vans to develop mobile libraries that serve senior care facilities and homebound individuals.
    • Library is partnering with Wilshire Community Services for homebound delivery with Meals that Connect.
  • Connect to Schools in Meaningful Ways
    • Book to Action programs have connected to San Luis Obispo High School, Atascadero High School, and the Juvenile Detention center.
    • The Library hosted connected to Literacy and career nights at Laguna Middle School, Nipomo High School, and Paulding Middle School.
    • The Library expanded upon the Student Success Initiative
      • Partnered with San Luis Coastal Unified School District to provide all freshmen library cards.
      • Library cards given to all Nipomo High School students, Shandon Joint Unified School District students.
      • Library cards given out at student registration at Paulding Middle School in Arroyo Grande.
  • Strengthen Connections to New Adults
    • Cuesta Book of the Year continues to be a valuable partnership with Cuesta College.
  • Develop Stronger Partnerships with Community Serving Agencies
    • Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) performs monthly outreach at San Luis Obispo Library
    • The Library is working with THMA to provide clinical services at Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo Libraries.

Goal: Deliver Exceptional Service

  • Enhance Staff Training and Development
    • A regional database training was held 5/24/19 for all South County Regional Staff. The Adult Services Coordinator held an additional database training for customers and staff on 10/3/19.
    • The previous rotation schedule was completed in January 2019. Targeted training for staff at libraries to which they are not permanently assigned continues as needs and opportunities are identified.
    • Strengths Finder training was held at All Staff Day on 5/3/19. Library Human Resources Coordinator has attended a training in October 2019 on “5 Steps to Building a Strengths-Based Culture” and is evaluating approaches for further implementation.
  • Focus on User Experience
    • All overdue fines for library materials were removed in February 2019.
    • An online community survey was conducted in September of 2018. The survey elicited responses from 3,895 people.
    • Library staff has been observers/listeners at local focus groups assessing the needs of families.
    • Teen Service Librarian at Atascadero Library surveyed teens via bulletin boards, one-question index card surveys and white board surveys.
    • Nipomo Library conducted a print survey of residents at the Oaks Assisted Living facilities to determine interest in library services.
    • The Reader’s Advisory & Merchandising staff team assembled September 2019 and is working with the Web Design Team to build reader’s advisory webpages for and is working with the Wayfinding Team to measure customer usage patterns of libraries.
    • The Wayfinding Committee has studied patron behavior to add in the sign creation and creating navigable libraries.
    • The CloudLibrary eBook platform was implemented in February 2019.

Goal: Ensure Financial Health

  • Analyze the impact of the closure of Diablo Canyon.
    • California Senate Bill 1090 passed. As a result, the Library will receive approximately $2 million to mitigate the loss of property tax revenue over the next ten years. Because of this the Library will not face any adverse impact for the closure of Diablo Canyon.
  • Continued approach to allocation of materials and personnel.
    • The library has continued to use good buying practices, as a consequence we see strong value plus material purchases. The Library has demonstrated a watchful eye over personnel costs as shown by the careful deployment of staff over the last year.
  • Find new sources of revenue.
    • The Library is currently contracting to conduct a feasibility study to investigate placing a bond measure on the November 2020 ballot.
  • Explore operational opportunities.
    • Budgeting to purchase Automated Materials Handling (AMH) systems for the Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and Morro Bay Libraries in Fiscal Year 2020/2021.