Plan Party: Library kicks off strategic planning

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette The Portage Lake District Library has launched its new strategic initiative, which will guide the library over the next three years.

HOUGHTON — The Portage Lake District Library showed off the strategic plan that will help guide its next three years at a launch event Tuesday afternoon.

Work began on the plan in March 2018. Almost 200 community members rated the library’s services and gave their ideas for future programs. The strategic planning committee also held focus groups among senior citizens, teens, teachers, families and adults without children.

“It’s exciting for me to have this plan, because we never had big projects to work on collaboratively,” said library director Dillon Geshel. “It’s been fun to work on this as a team.”

The plan identifies three groups of initiatives.

In the “Discover” section, the library describes its focus on becoming more “patron-driven,” Geshel said. That includes providing a more diverse collection in more formats, as well as creating more collections and displays pegged to seasonal and community events. the library will also try to make its collections more responsive to community input.

The “Imagine” section focuses on creating diverse, interactive and community-focused programs. It will also be more flexible in its use of space, creating more meeting and quiet spaces and also using the outdoor space by the library.

The “Connect” section works on ways to heighten the library’s status as community resource, information center and meeting place. Plans include adding self-service printing and checkout, partnering with other community groups for activities, adding more volunteers and providing professional development for staff.

Geshel and the Library Board will re-evaluate progress on the plan twice a year, aided by surveys from users of the library. After the three-year plan ends, the library will begin another strategic plan initiative.

Several members of the Friends of the Library group had stopped by the event to learn about the library’s plans, Geshel said.

“They seemed excited to see where we can go from here,” he said.

A printable version of the plan is available at