Strategic Plan 2017

Rhode Island Coalition of Library Advocates Strategic Plan, 2017-2020

Approved by COLA’s Board of Directors Sept. 5, 2017

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 through excellent library services. 

GOAL 1: ADVOCACY: COLA will advocate effectively for all RI libraries in collaboration with other RI library organizations statewide. 

Objective 1.1:  Members of COLA’s elected Board of Directors will keep abreast of current library issues and will report on relevant issues affecting RI libraries.


  1. Member representatives of participating library organizations will report on current issues to the Board at each meeting.
  2. 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) and will share relevant issues.
  3. COLA’s Social Media Committee will post relevant issues on COLARI’s social media sites.

Objective 1.2: Strengthen alliances and collaborations with other statewide organizations advocating for RI libraries.


  1. Collaborate with library organizations on initiatives promoting RI libraries to transform communities and enhance the quality of life of all Rhode Islanders.

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


  1. COLA officers and Board Directors will write letters, e-mails, and/or social media posts, on key issues to support RI libraries statewide to communicate with state and local leaders, legislators, and the Rhode Island Department of Education.
  2. Contact COLA members to write, call, e-mail, text, and/or post on social media on issues affecting RI libraries statewide or in their own communities.
  3. Enlist the support of state and local leaders, legislators, and RIDE to support legislation supportive of RI libraries.
  4. Collaborate with RILA especially RILA’s Legislative Action Committee to lobby for supportive legislation for RI Libraries. 

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


  1. Create a COLA fact sheet detailing pertinent information on COLA for distribution to interested individuals or allied groups to support RI libraries.
  2. Enlist COLA Board members and/or other members to voluntarily make presentations at friends groups or trustees meetings in their local communities to share COLA’s mission and to distribute pertinent information about COLA and promote membership and awards.

GOAL 2:  EDUCATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS: COLA will educate and engage library supporters about library issues to transform library communities.

Objective 2.1: COLA will collaborate with other library organizations to provide outreach to library communities and groups, including Friends Groups and Trustees.


  1. Convene an Annual Meeting once a year with a program to include COLA members and other library-related groups.
  2. Collaborate with OLIS and/or other library groups to provide at least one education program a year to support libraries to transform their communities.
  3. Collaborate with library organizations to provide public service announcements to inform the public about how libraries transform communities.

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


  1. Maintain and continuously update COLA’s website,, Facebook page @rhodeislandcola, Twitter Account @colariorg, and other social media outlets to report on relevant library issues.
  2. Publish two newsletters annually (one online and one mailed) including a membership form and a return envelope in the winter issue.
  3. Update the COLA membership flyer to circulate to libraries, library directors and staff, friends’ groups, trustees, and other allied organizations with COLA’s Mission, goals, and social media sites identified.

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


  1. Continue to promote COLA to library and nonprofit organizations and groups with allied interests.
  2. Profile COLA and its support of libraries in social media outlets.
  3. Plan and publicize COLA’s Annual meeting as an opportunity to highlight COLA, Awards, and RI library issues.

Objective 2.4: Recognize contributions of others with awards that build the value of RI libraries for Rhode Islanders at COLA’s Annual Meeting.


  1. Award two scholarships at COLA’s Annual Meeting to RI residents: One Linda Aldrich School Library Scholarship and one William Bergeron Public Library Scholarship to two MLIS students whose record of academic achievement and professional engagement signal future contributions to RI libraries.
  2. Award two William E. Reeves Friends Awards annually to Rhode Island Libraries member Friends Groups for programs or events in the categories of fundraising, outreach, education, and/or community service.
  3. Award one “Sweetheart of the Year Award” to someone who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy and commitment to support RI libraries and COLA’s mission.


COLA will strengthen its resources for effective advocacy of RI libraries statewide.

Objective 3.1: Increase COLA paid membership to 200 by 2020.


  1. Enlist library directors and staff to recruit Trustees, Friends, and other active library community supporters.
  2. Recruit members of nonprofit organizations with allied interests.

Objective 3.2: Increase involvement of COLA membership.


  1. Develop and implement more effective member communications using social media.
  2. Identify key contacts, supporters and decision makers to engage and target advocacy efforts by following, sharing, or liking online postings.

Objective 3.3:  Build future leadership for COLA.


  1. Devote the Board meeting during the month immediately following the Annual Meeting to orientation for new and continuing members.
  2. Develop an information packet to supplement the orientation session by including updated COLA bylaws, strategic plan, and policies.
  3. The Board of Directors and Committee Chairs will seek non-Board members to become members and to be included on committees.
  4. The Nominating Committee will present a slate of officers and a new Nominating Committee at the Annual Meeting for a vote and approval.

Original Strategic Plan Drafted November 5, 2014,
Approved December 12, 201.  Revised and Drafted Aug 1, 2017, Approved by Board September 5, 2017.