Future-Ready for Middletown: A Strategic Planning Process for Russell Library.

Since 1875, the Russell Library has served the residents of Middletown and other Middlesex County communities by providing lifelong access to information, education, enrichment and entertainment. Over the past century and a half, the Library has adapted to ever-changing societal and cultural trends, technologies, economic booms and busts, and other forces by adjusting our service models and methods of delivery to stay relevant to the times.

More rapidly than ever, our world is changing. Futurists use the acronym “VUCA” (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) to describe the times in which we live, recommending that organizations now adopt and operate with a “readiness mindset;” that is, a consistent strategy of adapting and adjusting to rapidly evolving conditions.

How does a “classic” organization such as a public library adapt and thrive in “VUCA” times? By committing to thoughtful, strategic foresight. The Russell Library has conducted strategic planning cycles in the past, but our most recent plan expired in 2017. The time has come for us to write a new plan that takes into account our current and anticipated “landscapes” (socioeconomic, technological, educational, and cultural trends), the needs of Middletown’s residents both now and in the future, and the complex demands of providing public library services in the twenty-first century.

Strategic Planning Advisory Council

Tawana Bourne
Cynthia Clegg
Grady Faulkner
Rev. Debra Hopkins
Lisa Loomis
Thomas Marano
Diana Martinez
Marie & Ailish McKenna
Kisha Michael
Dr. Steve Minkler
Jim Misenti
Dr. Magda Parvey
Precious Price
Michele Rulnick
Sarah Schulenburg
Zack & Scarlett Tsahalis
Clifton Watson
Andrew White
Kevin Wilhelm

Strategic Planning Work Group

Ramona Burkey
Taneisha Duggan
Shanay Fulton
Jennifer Hadley
Amy Slowik
Kim Spachman
Eamonn Wisneski
Ayanna Wright

Strategic Planning Consultants

Maxine Bleiweis and Erica Byrne, of Maxine Bleiweis & Associates