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JANUARY 19, 2007

    C/W MARS STRATEGIC PLAN: 2007-2010


    Committee Members: ...………………………….……………….. p. 3

    Introduction and History: ………..…………………………………. p. 4

    Methodology and Needs Assessment: ...……...………………… p. 5

    Mission and Vision: ..…………………………………………….. p. 6

    Goals Objectives: ..……………………………………………….. p. 7-8

    Operations Plan: 2007-2010: …………………………………... p. 9-11

    Financial Plan: …………………………………………………. p. 12-13

    Evaluation: ……………………………………………………… p. 14

    Users Council Approval: ………………………………………. p. 15


    SWOT Analysis Notes: ……………………………………………… p. 2-16

Member Online Survey Summary…………………………………… p. 17 (see URL/Link)

    Consultants’ Report: …………………………………………………. p. 18-50

    Past Uses of the Stabilization Fund: ……………………………….. p. 51



    The C/W MARS Users Council expresses it’s thanks to library staff who participated in the written surveys and focus group interviews, key components in the development of the C/W MARS Strategic Plan: 2007-2010. It expresses special thanks to the following members of the Strategic Planning Committee:

Ann Robinson, Worcester Public Library, Co-chair

    Joan Kuklinski, C/W MARS, Co-chair

    Susan Atwater, C/W MARS

    Christine Bergquist, Wilbraham Public Library

    Judy Campbell, Holyoke Community College

    Margaret Cardello, CMRLS

    Bonnie Isman, Jones Library, Amherst

    Joan Kranich, C/W MARS

    Joe Mule, Lancaster Public Library

    Walt Owens, Orange Public Library

    Anne Pound, Quinsigamond Community College

    Maureen Strapko, Sargent Memorial Library

    Carl Sturgis, Storrs Library, Longmeadow



    The Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing Network (C/W MARS) was formed in 1982 to promote resource sharing among 28 public and academic libraries through a shared library automation system. In 1984 the Network was incorporated as a 501(3)(c) not-for-profit corporation. A Manager was hired and a DataPhase Integrated Library System (ILS) was installed at Central Site headquarters at Anna Maria College in Paxton that same year. The first member libraries began circulating on the shared system in 1984. C/W MARS switched vendors in 1985 when DataPhase was sold to the Utlas Corporation, and again in 1992 when Utlas was sold to the CARL Corporation. The system initially provided circulation and cataloging modules. An online catalog was added in the early 1990’s. Attempts were made to add serials, acquisitions, and reserve book room modules on the CARL system throughout the decade, but were unsuccessful due to software problems and system instability issues. Internet access and OCLC cataloging services were added in the mid-1990’s. In 1998 the Network initiated a search for a new

    integrated library system, resulting in the installation of an Innovative Interfaces system in the fall of 1999. Electronic system wide holds were introduced in the fall of 2000 and Patron-Placed Holds in 2002, fulfilling the Network’s mission of implementing effective

    resource-sharing programs and rapid access to information.

    Since its inception in 1982 C/W MARS gradually added new Full member circulating libraries, Mininet circulating memberships for small libraries in communities under 10,000, and Online Affiliate Library (non-circulating) memberships to enhance resource sharing. Starting in 2000, C/W MARS provided Internet access to approximately 60 non-affiliated public libraries in the Western Region. The availability of Small Libraries in Networks (SLIN) grants starting in FY02 enabled many Online Affiliate Libraries to upgrade to become Mininet or Full members, as well as some former dial-up libraries to join C/W MARS as either Online Affiliate or Mininet members. The current membership includes 58 full member libraries, 46 Mininet libraries, 34 online affiliate libraries, for a total of 139 members, serving 159 locations. Additionally eight Online Internet libraries and 31 Dial-access libraries continued to receive Internet access through C/W MARS through FY07; beginning in FY08 they will receive these services through the Western Region. The Central and Western Massachusetts Regional Library Systems were among the founding members of C/W MARS and remain key partners and members of the network.

    Staff was gradually increased throughout the last 25 years. It now includes 21 individuals or 19 FTEs. The staff is grouped into three departments: Administration, Library Applications, and Systems & Networking. C/W MARS has benefited from LSCA, LSTA, and state grants administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) for capital equipment purchases of computer systems, software, and networking equipment.



    The C/W MARS Strategic Plan: 2007-2010 was developed by a representative Strategic Planning Committee appointed in FY2006 by network president Carl Sturgis in December 2005. The previous C/W MARS strategic plan covered the years 2002-2005. The Network undertook the development of a new strategic plan in January 2006 in response to a changing environment and the desire to articulate a new strategic direction to better meet member libraries’ needs. It was recognized that many strategic objectives of the previous plan had been met, notably continued implementation of the III system, resulting in a more reliable and functionally robust system. The Network also realized that many objectives had not been realized and that other priorities had emerged.

    In January 2006 the C/W MARS Strategic Planning Committee approved a methodology to update the Network’s strategic plan and decided to utilize a consultant to assist with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and other plan development activities. Consultants Linda Braun and Alan Brickman were hired in February 2006 and met with the group that month to discuss the terms and nature of their engagement. The consultants led a day-long SWOT analysis in early April 2006 with the Strategic Planning and Executive Committees. We also did some exercises on Scenario Planning to generate ideas on what network services would look like in an ideal environment.

    The consultants developed a survey on Survey Monkey to evaluate current services and generate suggestions for potential future services and conducted seven focus group sessions in June 2006 with selected staff from C/W MARS member libraries and one with Central Site staff. The participants in the focus group sessions represented the following: Large public library directors; Small and medium public library directors; Mininet public library directors; online affiliate library directors; academic library directors; technical services librarians; public services librarians; and Central Site Staff.

    The results from the SWOT analysis, online survey, and the focus groups were analyzed and formed the basis of a report to the Strategic Planning Committee submitted by the consultants in July 2006. The Committee then worked on a revised vision, mission, goals and objectives and activities based on that input, along with our own analysis of the key points identified by member libraries and the emerging information landscape. Draft plans were presented to the Executive Committee and Users Council in September and November 2006. The Strategic Planning Committee suggested a series of Town meetings with interested library directors and staff be held from late November 2006 to early January 2007. Comments and suggestions from the member library staff at these sessions were very positive and resulted in a few additional revisions to the plan. A final draft of the new Strategic Plan will be presented to the C/W MARS Users Council for their approval on January 30, 2007.


    STRATEGIC PLAN 2007-2010


C/W MARS is a multitype library consortium dedicated to efficient resource sharing and

    effective use of information technology.


C/W MARS envisions a future where the network is recognized and valued by member

    libraries and their patrons as:

    1. A networked system providing equal access to information.

    2. A catalyst for the innovative uses of information technology and facilitator of

    excellent training for library staffs.

    3. A facilitator for seamless resource sharing and patron empowerment.

    4. A consortium that is committed to active participation and outstanding library


    5. An advocate for library technology, open access and funding on a regional,

    state and national level.



Goal I. Provide an affordable, user-friendly, functionally rich (ILS) Integrated Library

    System and a reliable high-speed wide-area network (WAN) to support the

    automated system.

Obj 1: Empower member library patrons to utilize an advanced suite of library automation

    products that provides seamless access to the resources and information they need and

    allows users to more easily manage their library accounts.

Obj 2: Improve the functionality of all modules within the III system.

    Obj 3: Improve the WAN and increase bandwidth at member libraries where needed.

Obj 4: Assist libraries with the implementation of wireless technology.

Obj 5: Provide state-of-the-art system security.

    Goal II. Explore and experiment with new library technologies; educate and inform member library staffs about the range of new technologies which have the potential

    to improve library services and position libraries to provide patrons the seamless

    access that they increasingly expect.

Obj. 1: Regularly demonstrate III products that could be purchased to enhance user access or

    staff efficiency at member libraries.

Obj. 2: Explore and implement potential new non-III technologies or services that may meet

    demonstrated member library needs.

    Goal III. Facilitate effective peer-to-peer communication among member libraries and between Central Site staff and member libraries with the goal of achieving an

    engaged membership with active participation among libraries of all types.

Obj. 1: Identify the concerns of a diverse library membership and develop strategies to address

    their concerns and those of Central Site in the several areas.

Obj 2: Increase member library participation at Users Council and other informational meetings so

    that all member libraries engage in the governance of the network.

Obj. 3: Encourage a culture whereby all libraries share a commitment to network policies and

    streamlined procedures for efficient network operations and resource sharing.

Obj. 4: Provide a user-friendly library staff website with timely network information.

Goal IV. Provide a well-trained, customer service oriented staff of sufficient size to

    support effective member library participation in network programs and services.


Obj 1: Ensure Central Site staff accessibility for member library staffs in areas of training and

    consulting as needed.

Obj 2: Provide relevant, high quality training programs.

Obj 3: Evaluate Member library satisfaction with the customer service support provided by Central

    Site staff. Aim for 95% of respondents either Satisfied or Frequently Satisfied with C/W MARS


Obj. 4: Improve Central Site staff efficiency.

Goal V. Develop appropriate partnerships and collaborate with the Central and

    Western Regional Library Systems, the MBLC, and others; advocate for sufficient,

    reliable, library funding and the advancement of electronic information services in

    area libraries.

Obj 1: Advocate for increased state funding for shared library and automated network services

    throughout the Commonwealth and the Central and Western Regions.

    Obj 2: Collaborate with Regional Library Systems and the MBLC to advance electronic library services for libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts and to educate library staffs on the

    new technologies that may enhance those library services.

Obj 3: Work with the Central and Western Regions to promote our respective missions and

    distinctive services and eliminate confusion on the part of area libraries on the appropriate roles and responsibilities of each organization.

Obj. 4: Develop a publicity and marketing plan with the assistance of a consultant to promote C/W

    MARS services to area library patrons so that they may become informed advocates.

Obj 5: Monitor censorship and patron privacy issues and advocate for intellectual freedom

    principles in the management of electronic systems and services.



    Obj/Act. DESCRIPTION FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 Ongoing

     Goal 1 Provide an affordable, user-friendly ILS

     Obj. 1.1 Empower member library patrons to utilize an advance suite

    Act 1.1.1 Implement III Web PAC Pro and Spell-check software X Act.1.1.2 Select a vendor and implement Federated Searching in PAC X X Act. 1.1.3 Design and share with member libraries new PAC bookmark X Act. 1.1.4 Promote implementation of both core and optional software X Act 1.1.5 Establish a Task Force to research Web 2.O developments X

    Obj. 1.2 Improve the functionality of the III system Act. 1.2.1 Review system issues & progress on outstanding projects X Act. 1.2.2 Implement methods to streamline the III Holds system X Act. 1.2.3 Explore and implement a method to print holds routing slips X X Act. 1.2.4 Complete the MilCat training; discontinue GUICAT X Act. 1.2.5 Implement successful Spine Label Printing X Act. 1.2.6 Improve the production of reports statistics X Act. 1.2.7 Facilitate loading bibliographic and academic patron records X Act. 1.2.8 Test & implement selected III software not yet implemented X

    Obj. 1.3 Improve the WAN and increase bandwidth at member libraries Act. 1.3.1 Analyze alternate teleco services at OLA libraries X Act 1.3.2 Analyze WAN performance at circulating member libraries X

    Obj. 1.4 Assist libraries with the implementation of wireless technology Act. 1.4.1 Support installation of wireless PCs at Staff and PAC ports X Act. 1.4.2 Explore a Centralized Controller for secure wireless hotspots X Act. 1.4.3 Train Systems & Networking staff to install wireless access X


    Obj. 1.5 Provide state-of-the-art system security Act. 1.5.1 Replace the existing Cisco PIX firewall with Cisco ASA X Act. 1.5.2 Investigate server level, network-wide anti-spam software X Act. 1.5.3 Reconfigure VPN connections at all member libraries X Act. 1.5.4 Investigate Central Site security and anti-virus software X

    Goal 2 Explore and experiment with new library technologies Obj. 2.1 Regularly demonstrate new III products Act. 2.1.1 Invite the III Account Representative to one Users Council X


    Act. 2.1.2 Attend III Users Group meetings; evaluate products at ALA X Act. 2.1.3 Explore and demonstrate new III PAC software: Encore X Act. 2.1.4 Investigate III wireless staff and PAC software X Act. 2.1.5 Explore Patron Self-Registration & Ecommerce software X

    Obj.2.2 Explore and implement potential new non-III technologies Act. 2.2.1 Broaden Digital Treasures’ material scope and sustainability X Act. 2.2.2 Continue to investigate enhancements to Digital Treasures X Act. 2.2.3 Revisit and update the C/W MARS 3d Party software policy X Act. 2.2.4 Investigate OCLC Open World Cat X Act. 2.2.5 Investigate E-Commerce functionality X


    Act. 2.2.6 Investigate RFID technology for mat. handling, self-check X Act. 2.2.7 Sponsor and annual Technology Expo Act. 2.2.8 Implement a New Technology Blog & social networking tools X Act. 2.2.9 Investigate support of web hosting and blog hosting X Act. 2.2.10 Investigate other technologies that may emerge X Obj/Act. DESCRIPTION FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 Ongoing

    Goal 3 Facilitate effective peer-to-peer communication among


    Obj. 3.1 Identify the concerns of a diverse library membership Act. 3.1.1 Study communications issues and develop strategies X Act. 3.1.2 Examine demographic issues such as size and type of X


    Act. 3.1.3 Implement strategies to increase small library participation X Act. 3.1.4 Develop annual Central Site communication survey X

    Obj. 3.2 Increase member library participation at Users Council Act. 3.2.1 Form Membership Comm. to make recommendations X Act. 3.2.2 Hold regional “town meetings” on the new Strategic Plan in X


    Act. 3.2.3 Hold semi-annual C/W MARS Coordinator meetings Act. 3.2.4 Convene two Updated Sessions in the winter/spring FY07 X Act. 3.2.5 Discuss annual action plans at June & Sept. Users Council X Act. 3.2.6 Explore recording & distribution of Users Council meetings X

    Obj.3.3 Encourage culture so all Libs. share commitment to C/W


    Act. 3.3.1 Identify & share best practices models at member libraries X Act. 3.3.2 Explore and implement strategies to engage front line staff X Act. 3.3.3 Provide meetings for Cataloging and Reference Depts. X

    Obj. 3.4 Provide a user-friendly library staff website with timely info. Act. 3.4.1 Update the library staff website for keyword search X Act. 3.4.2 Keep the Library Staff website current X

    Goal 4 Provide a well-trained, customer service oriented staff Obj. 4.1 Ensure Central Site staff accessible to member library staff Act. 4.1.1 Review staffing levels and add staff to support new services X Act. 4.1.2 Explore regular Central Site staff visits at member libraries X

    Obj. 4.2 Proved relevant, high quality training programs Obj. 4.2.1 Maintain C/W MARS website with education documents X Obj. 4.2.2 Investigate and implement remote/online training software X Obj. 4.2.3 Present 3 separate workshops on system & net.topics X Obj. 4.2.4 Utilize evaluation forms at workshops X Obj. 4.2.5 Provide continuing education for Central Site staff trainers; X

    develop enthusiastic trainers & institute cross-staff training

    Obj. 4.2.6 Implement a plan for regular scheduled onsite consultations X

    Obj. 4.3 Evaluate member lib. satisfaction with C/W customer service Act. 4.3.1 Conduct an annual member satisfaction survey X Act. 4.3.2 Identify strategies for lib. staff suggestions & feedback X

    Obj. 4.4 Improve Central Site staff efficiency


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