2014 Strategic Plan


Five-Year Strategic Plan


The Bigelow Free Public Library is situated across from the Town Hall in the heart of Clinton, MA, a municipality of approximately 13,600 people.  The physical library was built in 1902, but the town has had a library as far back as 1846, first as a private enterprise, then as a library association and, finally, as a free public library in 1873.  Prior to the construction of its current building, the library was housed in the Town Hall. In 1991 the building had its one major renovation with the addition of an elevator.

Clinton is a walkable town with a majority of the small shops on High St. (a block away from the library) and bigger stores farther away, like spokes on a wheel.  Several major manufacturers are located in Clinton, bringing tax dollars and jobs.  Clinton also boasts the Museum of Russian Icons, the largest single collection of religious Russian icons in the United States.

The Bigelow Library is reaching out to collaborate with other organizations, businesses, and town departments on future events and programming. The first collaboration was the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee.

The Bigelow Library would like to thank the following people who served on the committee:  Nancy Byrne,  John DiSessa, Phil Duffy, Susan Franco, Winnie Hastings, Robert Hodge, Deborah Marini, Anthony Marini, Gloria Parkinson, Carole Saal, Tena Zapantis.

Planning Process

The Bigelow Library began its strategic planning process in March 2014, involving representatives from the Friends, Trustees, Staff, Clinton High School, Clinton Senior Center, and Town Hall, as well as Clinton residents.  With two meetings (as outlined and recommended by the Massachusetts Library System), the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee brainstormed  the following aspects:

  1. Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and measurable Results for the Bigelow Library
  2. Personal visions of the Town of Clinton and how the Bigelow Library might fit into that vision.

Following the meetings, the Bigelow Library staff created a community survey using the brainstorming ideas. An electronic survey was linked from the website; a paper-based survey was distributed outside of Town Meeting, in the high school, and also made available at various locations in town.  From this survey, we determined in what direction the residents of Clinton would like the Bigelow Library to evolve.

Goals listed in the plan are based on input from the Advisory Committee, Trustees, and Community Survey, as well as some goals that have been reviewed and updated from the previous five-year plan.  We will plan for the next five years using these goals.

Mission Statement

The Bigelow Free Public Library supports the community of Clinton and its residents by offering materials and programs to entertain, educate, and enlighten the population. The staff fulfills the needs of patrons through research assistance, interlibrary loans, readers advisory services, and actual purchases, as well as offering programs related to this mission.

Vision Statements

  • Bigelow Library will be a community resource for Clinton residents.
  • Bigelow Library will be a formal & informal gathering site for all ages to collaborate, meet, study, learn, play, and read.
  • Bigelow Library will support the information needs of the Clinton schools, municipality, and other organizations.
  • Bigelow Library will be a welcoming and safe place for all people.

Assessment of User Needs

Based on the community survey and input from the Strategic Planning Committee, users want the Bigelow Library to provide them with access to computers and printing, access to books for pleasure and lifelong learning, access to a semi-private place they can meet for tutoring or professional reasons.  The community wants access to the local library network (C/W MARS) and all that it has to offer.  The community, which is growing older, wants access to more large print books, and a quiet place to read the  papers daily.. In 1991, the Bigelow Library added an elevator to become ADA compliant, but there is a significant percentage of the building that is closed to the public because it does not comply with ADA regulations. With this space made available, the library would have room for more of what the community wants and needs.

The Bigelow Free Public Library reviewed its 2008 Long Range Plan and some of the goals were achieved. Goals not achieved, but still relevant, are included in the 2014 Five-Year Strategic Plan.

The community survey elicited responses from  more than 270 residents and non-residents of all ages.  The goals for the next five years are strongly based on this community input.



Goals & Objectives

Multi-year goals, objectives and action plans

  • Community Outreach
    1. Collaborate with town organizations to reach more residents
      1. Co-sponsor programs with local organizations with an emphasis on supporting the needs of underserved populations. (2014)
      2. Children’s room staff will reach out to preschools & schools for more collaborative ventures and programs (2014)
  • Reach out to businesses to donate or sponsor activities. Director will contact local businesses to build connections. (2015)
  1. Increase teen usage of the library
    1. Organize a Teen Advisory Group (TAG) (2014)
    2. Develop more programming for teens, ‘tweens, and young adults (YA) (2015)
  • Work with the TAG to create a dedicated YA area (2016)
  1. Create a staff position for YA area (2017)
  1. Develop a strong relationship with the Friends of the Bigelow Library
    1. Work with Friends to increase membership (2014)
  2. Research the feasibility of creating a Library Foundation
    1. Research legal requirements and commitments (2015)
    2. Create a committee of staff, trustees, and community (2016)


  • Facilities
    1. Improve the building to make more space for collections and programs
      1. Finish the renovation of the lower level community room, considering the air quality, usage plans for the space, and water damage. (2015)
      2. Clear out the “Director’s Room” to make it a usable space. Research the possibility of making it ADA accessible for programs or open stacks. (2016)
  • Research the feasibility of creating a quiet study area/room (2017)
  1. Designate a space to display artifacts from the library’s historical collection (2017)
  1. Create and maintain a capital improvement plan for the library
    1. Convert oil burner to natural gas. (2014)
    2. Repair the roof. (2014)
  • Research the cost to replace or renovate single-pane windows throughout the building with energy efficient windows. (2017)
  1. Work with MBLC, MLS and other library-focused organizations to conduct a feasibility study for renovation of the building. (2015)
  2. Conduct a solar energy feasibility & assessment study. (2015)


  • Collection development
    1. Expand the collection to include more physical and electronic materials
      1. Become a member of C/W MARS to give our patrons access to archived and digitized e-books. (2014)
      2. Add more shelving to allow us to accommodate more items. (2014)
  • Create a historical collection to represent the history of the library, Town of Clinton, and surrounding area. (2015)
  1. Subscribe to Wowbrary to keep patrons informed of new items (2016)
  2. Subscribe to museum pass reservation system (2017)
  1. Develop a collection development policy
    1. Create a policy for patrons who wish to have materials removed from the library (2014)
    2. Develop and expand aspects of our collection that appeal to our patrons and utilize more interlibrary loans to fill in the gaps (2016)


  • Training
    1. Training of staff will enable us to provide more valuable services
      1. Train staff on C/W MARS as we transition from paper to digitized circulation. (2014)
      2. Develop a comprehensive policies and procedures manual (2016)
  • Train staff how to use the databases (2016)
  1. Patron training
    1. Staff will offer training to patrons on how to use the Evergreen catalog (2015)
    2. Explore developing a series of computer classes or workshops, either through a grant or with current staff. (2016) Possible topics:
      • Become a database power user
      • Ancestry.com & HeritageQuest (or other subscription-based databases)
      • Job hunting, resume-writing
  • Offer one-on-one computer tutoring (2014)
    • on Kindle
    • other software and devices


  • Communications & Publicity
    1. Utilize library operations to increase communication
      1. Collect emails as residents register for cards. (2015)
      2. Develop procedures and checklists for publicizing upcoming events and programs (2015)
  • Cultivate avenues for publicity, both in paper and electronic formats, including press releases and newsletters (2015)
  1. Develop a Town-wide Read program (2016)
  1. Improve communication to reach more patrons and Clinton residents
    1. Develop a system for communicating upcoming programs. Work with the Clinton school system to use ConnectEd for appropriate programs (2015)
    2. Use patrons’ emails to publicize events (2016)
  • Increase social media presence. (2017)
  1. Consider alternate channels to reach as many people as possible
    1. Utilize local cable stations to publicize events (2014)
    2. Send flyers to other local libraries and organizations (2015)
  • Invest in a better bulletin board (2016)


  • Technology
    1. Offer the latest technology to patrons
      1. Offer technology for those who need regular access email, job sites, online classes, bill paying, research or entertainment. (2014)
      2. Expand technology offerings where space and resources allow (2018)
    2. Update the staff access to computers and technology
      1. Purchase new hardware for C/W MARS membership (2014)
      2. Network the staff computers to ease sharing of files (2017)
  • Network the staff printer(s) to be more cost effective (2017)




This Strategic Five-Year Plan is ambitious.  The goals are to increase usage, increase attendance, and increase the visibility of the Bigelow Free Public Library as an essential institution in Clinton.  We will be able to measure progress through anecdotes, visuals and statistics.

Planning Methodology

The Board of Trustees hired a library director at the end of 2013 with two immediate goals in mind: C/W MARS membership and an updated Five-Year Strategic Plan.  The newly-hired director reached out to Clinton residents and organizations to find out more about the town and its history and how the library fit in to both. From these early conversations–and participation in an MLS-sponsored Strategic Planning Workshop–the advisory committee was formed.

With the help of the Massachusetts Library System, meetings were held, and brainstorming commenced. These brainstorming sessions led to the development of the survey.  A gift card raffle was offered as an incentive to take the survey, but most participants declined to participate in the raffle. Surveys were printed and distributed–many of them at the June 2nd Town Meeting, where they were filled in and immediately returned. The online survey was open for about one month.  A staff member entered the paper results into the online survey.



Approved by the Board of Trustees on September 20, 2014

Nancy Starr, Chair

Gloria Parkinson, Vice-chair

Susan Franco, Secretary

Caroline Keiger

Fran Purcell

Russell Grady