Strategic Plan 2015

Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates Strategic Plan, 2015

MISSION:  The Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates (COLA) is a statewide nonprofit grassroots organization that supports libraries of all kinds to improve the quality of life of all Rhode Islanders.

GOAL 1: ADVOCACY. COLA will advocate effectively for all RI libraries.

Objective 1.1:  Gather and analyze current information on RI library needs and resources. Strategies:

  1. Members of the elected Board of Directors, representing library supporters and concerned citizens, will report to the board when they see issues affecting individual libraries or groups of libraries.
  2. Members appointed to the Board of Directors as representatives of participating library organization  will report on issues affecting them.
  3. Members will monitor key websites and listservs (such as the RI Office of Library and Information Services, the RI General Assembly, the American Library Association Washington Office, and the ALA Office for Advocacy).
  4. Members will collect findings of current and recent user studies by RI libraries.

Objective 1.2: Maintain and strengthen alliances with other statewide organizations advocating for RI libraries. Strategies:

  1. Collaborate as appropriate on programs and other initiatives promoting the ability of RI libraries to improve community life.
  2. Identify and share common needs and efforts among individual libraries and consortiums.

Objective 1.3: Advocate on behalf of laws, policies, and financial initiatives that benefit RI libraries and their users statewide. Strategies:

  1. Assign COLA officers and Board members to write letters and e-mails on key issues to State officials and newspapers, etc.
  2. Contact general membership and key contacts to write, call, e-mail, text, post, and/or tweet on issues affecting RI libraries statewide or in their own communities.

Objective 1.4: Offer support to Trustees, Friends Groups, and others advocating on behalf of ordinances, policies, and financial plans that benefit RI libraries and their users. Strategies:

  1. Link from to current contact information for RI legislature.
  2. Develop and/or aggregate a toolkit for the use of library supporters and other advocates; disseminate it on
  3. Alert members to issues affecting their libraries.


GOAL 2:  EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS. COLA will help to educate the lay library community about library issues, needs, and contributions.

Objective 2.1: Each year, emphasize 2-3 RI library issues, needs and contributions in outreach to the lay community, including Friends Groups and Trustees. Strategies:

  1. Convene or collaborate on a fall program, open to Friends and other library-related groups, on at least one topic a year.
  2. Create a COLA fact sheet for distribution to Friends Groups, Trustees, etc.
  3. Appoint COLA members to visit 2 – 3 Friends Groups, to a) inform them about COLA, distributing the fact sheet, and b) ask how we can support them and their objectives.

Objective 2.2: Use COLA print and online publications to publicize library issues, needs, and resources. Strategies:

  1. Maintain and develop the COLA website,
  2. Mail three issues of the newsletter annually, including a membership form in each and a return envelope in the January issue.
  3. Update the trifold membership flyer and circulate it to library directors and reference staff; distribute remaining acrylic display stands.
  4. Grow e-mail list by 20% yearly.

Objective 2.3: Build awareness of COLA as a vital part of the RI library and information community. Strategies:

  1. Promote awareness of COLA to fellow nonprofit organizations and groups with allied interests, such as Literacy Volunteers and writers’ groups.
  2. Profile COLA and its history of library support in the media.
  3. Plan and publicize the annual February meeting as an opportunity to highlight COLA and RI library issues.
  4. Write history of COLA, based on interviews and archives, for national library journal.

Objective 2.4: Recognize and encourage contributions that build the value of RI libraries to all Rhode Islanders. Strategies:

  1. Award the Linda Aldrich School Library Scholarship and the William Bergeron Public Library Scholarship to MLIS students whose record of academic achievement and professional engagement signal future contributions to RI libraries.
  2. Award a maximum of four William E. Reeves Friends Awards annually to member Friends Groups, for programs or events in the categories of fundraising, outreach, education, and/or community service.

GOAL 3: CAPACITY BUILDING AND GOVERNANCE. COLA will strengthen its resources and capacities for effective advocacy.

Objective 3.1: Raise COLA paid membership to 200, of whom a majority will not be practicing librarians, by 2016.  Strategies:

  1. Enlist library directors and staff to recruit Trustees, Friends, and active supporters.
  2. Enlist Directors and members to recruit friends and acquaintances.
  3. Recruit members of nonprofit organizations with allied interests.

Objective 3.2: Increase involvement of COLA membership. Strategies:

  1. Develop and implement more effective member communications using available technologies.
  2. Categorize and organize key contacts, supporters and decision makers to engage and target advocacy efforts.
  3. Achieve 200 “Likes” on Facebook page by June 2015.

Objective 3.3:  Build future leadership for COLA. Strategies:

  1. Devote the March meeting of the Board of Directors to orientation for new and continuing members.
  2. Develop an information packet to supplement the orientation session; include in it the COLA history, bylaws, strategic plan, and policy and procedures manual.
  3. The Board and Committee Chairs will seek non-Board members to be included on committees.

Objective 3.4:  Develop a policy and procedures manual to ensure that COLA consistently follows policies the Board has established.  Strategies:

  1. Base the policy manual on the bylaws and the Board’s recorded policy decisions, reviewed and if necessary amended by the current Board.
  2. Base the procedures manual on current practices (e.g., sending out membership renewal reminders, getting the Nominating Committee report into member mailboxes before the February meeting, and maintaining tax-exempt status), reviewed and if necessary amended by the current Board.

Drafted November 5, 2014
Approved December 12, 2014