Robyn Vittek

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Mt. Lebanon Public Library director Robyn Vittek helped develop the institution’s new strategic plan.

As Mt. Lebanon Public Library continues moving toward operating as it did prior to March 2020, a new document is in place to guide the institution’s future.

The library’s board of trustees recently adopted a strategic plan that includes a series of actions to be taken, along with supporting statements underscoring the library’s commitment to the community.

“It’s the product of months of hard work, a dynamic plan that we plan to review and revise on a regular basis,” Evan Jones, board president, said during the Mt. Lebanon Commission discussion session conducted virtually Tuesday.

Identified in the plan are “strategic actions” addressing programs, materials and services offered by the library, plus community support “through partnerships with civic groups and organizations, and involvement in local events.”

Library director Robyn Vittek took the lead in developing the plan, working with the trustees, municipal staff members and organizational consultant Gatto Associates LLC of Mt. Lebanon. The library staff also weighed in considerably.

“We talked a lot about accountability and personal responsibility,” Vittek said. “Those are some values that our staff holds very dear and that we’re taking very seriously as we move forward with this plan, because everyone needs to participate to make it happen.”

Among the action items targeted for the coming year are:

  • Offering more STEAM-related programming in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics;
  • Promoting innovative practices in child development and early literacy education;
  • Providing programs and resources toward improving diversity, equality and inclusion education in the community;
  • Reviewing the library’s materials for biases or uneven representation, and maintaining the collection accordingly by purchasing or “weeding;”
  • Conducting a study of the library’s physical space to determine the needs of patrons while continuing to provide a safe environment and promote established health practices;
  • Integrating services that increase library accessibility and ease of use, such as contact-free pickup, into regular library services post-pandemic, and investigating methods to make such services a permanent fixture;
  • Conducting a survey by the end of 2021 to help determine optimal use of the library’s space and services;
  • Participating in local events to offer off-site programming experiences while promoting the library.

“We are going to be looking at the action steps, the strategic actions, very frequently,” Vittek told commissioners. “The board is going to review them twice a year. The staff are going to be looking at it constantly, making sure that everything they do, they’re going to tie it back to the mission.”

Municipal manager Keith McGill noted the optimal timing of the strategic plan’s adoption.

“Next year we’ll begin to discuss the comprehensive plan process for the municipality,” he said. “Through that process, we’ll look at ways we can support the library in helping to move their strategic plan forward.”

Vittek is looking forward to her department participating more fully in developing the comprehensive plan, a new one of which the municipality adopts roughly each decade.

“Before, it was very peripheral,” she said, “and we want to make sure that the library is taking a much more dynamic role in that process.”

To view the strategic plan, visit mtlebanonlibrary.org/186/Vision-Mission-and-Strategic-Plan.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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