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Strategic Planning

Public engagement initiatives and strategic planning for FCPL

2016 Public Engagement Initiative

Results of the Public Engagement Initiative

CIVICTechnologies, the consultant hired by the Library Board of Trustees to carry out the Public Engagement project, presented its findings to the library board Sept. 7.

More discussion will be occurring to best use this important data going forward. The results will be an integral part of the library's strategic planning process.

Strategic Planning Process

At the Ad-hoc Planning Subcommittee meeting on Oct. 14, the committee reviewed a process for designing a new strategic plan. The process will begin in early 2017. Questions about the process can be directed to Library Administration at

Public Engagement Initiative—Introduction

As directed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Fairfax County Public Library Board of Trustees (library board) is undertaking an interactive project to solicit public and staff input about the types of services and programs Fairfax County Public Library could offer in the future.

The project is scheduled for completion in fall of 2016. The project is guided through a unique process represented in the Project Roadmap. The library board has the option of authorizing a strategic plan to be prepared after completion of the public input. The project is managed by the planning committee of the library board.

Project Background

The project will seek information about public and staff perceptions about the library; the types of services that will meet current and future community needs, interests and concerns; and how the library can better communicate its value to the residents of Fairfax County.

The project is being prepared using a well-defined process displayed in the Project Roadmap. This process integrates the library and library board's desire to engage the community through a variety of means to build awareness, advocacy and support, and to lay the foundation for the future.

Project Update

In June 2016, analysis began on all the public input received. The consulting team is preparing their findings and recommendations. Public input included a range of methods described below. Multiple means were undertaken to market and publicize the public input ranging from emailing library users, posting to social media, placing print ads, posting to the library web site and more.

  • A random telephone survey of 1,100 respondents in both English and Spanish commenced on May 13, 2016, and was completed in mid-June 2016. The telephone survey reached people with both landlines and mobile phones; only adults age 18 and over were allowed to take the 12 minute survey;
  • Three community forums were held at library locations throughout the spring;
  • Seven focus groups were held;
  • Multiple stakeholder interviews were held with representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors;
  • Multiple advocate interviews were held with Friends groups and others;
  • A public online survey was provided accessible from the library's website;
  • An online survey was held for staff and the library board;
  • 14 staff department/division interviews were held;
  • An interactive work session with a staff leadership team was held, including library branch managers and department heads;
  • Many emails were sent by interested parties directly to the project consultants.

A detailed description of the input methods and publicity will be provided in the consultant's report to the library board.

Contact the Library with Questions/Comments

Library Customer Services


The project kicked off in December 2015 and undertook diverse public engagement methods throughout the winter, spring, and early summer of 2016.

Current Update

  • October 2016

    • Oct. 14, 2016, the committee reviewed a process for designing a new strategic plan. The process will begin in early 2017.
    • Oct. 12, 2016, the full Library Board of Trustees officially accepted the report from the consultant and directed the library staff to start the work on a new strategic plan for the library.
  • September 2016

    • September 7, 2016, The consultant hired by Fairfax County to conduct the library's Public Engagement Process provided the results of the survey to the Library's Board of Trustees on Sept. 7, 2016.
  • August 2016

    • Library Board special session scheduled for Wednesday, September 7, 2016, 6 p.m., at the Fairfax County Government Center (Board Auditorium) to receive consultant findings and recommendations.
  • July 2016

    • Consultants preparing findings and recommendations.
  • June 2016

    • Library board and staff surveys and telephone surveys conducted.

    May 2016

    • Public surveys completed May 31.

    April 2016

    • Surveys began online, by phone and in library branches.
    • Two community forums held April 12 and 14.
    • Focus groups and stakeholder meetings conducted.

    March 2016

    • Outreach to public began with stakeholder meetings.
    • First community forum held March 19.

    February 2016

    • Library launched information campaign about public engagement process.
    • CivicTechnologies worked with project planning committee to organize project; created project roadmap.

    December 2015

    • Public Engagement Initiative officially launched.

Public Engagement Initiative Results

Available Offline

The following documents are available from the library upon request. Please contact Douglas Miller in order to obtain a CD with the following additional documentation from the public engagement effort.

Telephone and Online Survey of Community Residents

  • Appendix 1 – 1 - Public Telephone and Online Surveys Executive Summary Final
    27 pages, 755kb
  • Appendix 1 – 3 - Appendix B - Telephone Survey Data Tables
    59 pages, 684kb

Online Survey of Trustees and Staff

  • Appendix 2 – 1 - Trustee and Staff Survey Executive Summary Final
    21 pages, 1,302kb
  • Appendix 2 – 2 - Trustee and Staff Survey Appendix A Open Ended Responses to “Please share any other ideas…”
    30 pages, 669kb

Public Forum Workbook

  • Public Forum Workbook
    31pages, 1,695kb

Segmentation Analysis

  • Appendix 4 – 1 - Background
    35 pages, 4,693kb
  • Appendix 4 – 2 - Analytics Findings
    142 pages, 44,651kb
  • Appendix 4 – 3 - Landscape Resource Manual
    82 pages, 1,532kb
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