On becoming Chair of The Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates in April, Cheryl McCarthy organized an Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning and Bylaws to review the 2015-2018 document. The work was carried out in a collaborative context: the RI Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS) 5-year plan for 2018-2022, submitted to the national Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) office in June, is based on an intensive study of RI library needs, and the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA) is also in the process of updating its strategic plan.
Our 2017-2020 update adds the phrase “excellent library services” to our mission statement, defining COLA as “a statewide nonprofit grassroots organization that supports libraries of all kinds, to improve the quality of life of all Rhode Islanders through excellent library services.” Our goals remain advocacy, education/public awareness, and capacity building/governance—and in considering how best to advance these priorities, the committee’s wording emphasizes collaboration:
GOAL 1: ADVOCACY: COLA will advocate effectively for all RI libraries in collaboration with other RI library organizations statewide.
GOAL 2: EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: COLA will educate and engage library supporters about library issues to transform library communities.
GOAL 3: CAPACITY BUILDING AND GOVERNANCE: COLA will strengthen its resources for effective advocacy of RI libraries statewide.
The Board discussed and unanimously approved the updated plan on September 5, 2017. Review of the COLA Bylaws is scheduled for the October 3 meeting.