Striving to Support our Mission

Posted by Laverne Mann on June 01, 2017 at 9:46 AM

The Cherry Hill Public Library (CHPL) is a municipal library in southern New Jersey, across the river from Philadelphia that is efficient and relevant to our patrons and one of New Jersey’s busiest libraries.  Our beautiful 72,000 square foot facility is just over ten years old and is one of the state’s largest municipal libraries.  There were 590,000 library visits in 2016, with circulation of 394,936 items. CHPL embodies the shift in libraries as a community anchor, a center for research, information and entertainment.  We invest in programming, nontraditional circulation items, and downloadable eBooks, audiobooks and video.

Library: Single branch |  Location: Cherry Hill, NJ | Population: 71,045 - White: 78%, Asian: 12%, Black: 6%, Pacific Islander: 2% | Funded: Separate mill levy | Annual Operating Budget: $3,634,000 | Staff: 31 full-time; 28 part-time |

Cherry Hill, New Jersey is a suburban community of 77,000 people and 26 square miles that includes the 12th largest school district in New Jersey. We have become a diverse community, with 57 native languages, and an ethnic breakdown of 17% Asian, 8% Black, 11% Hispanic, and 64% white students.  

CHPL had a fabulous year serving the community of Cherry Hill in 2016.  In every measurement, we strive to support our mission of a commitment to materials, services, access to innovative technologies and a wide-range of programs. Our mission statements states that we recognize the value and responsibility to the community as an educational, social and cultural resource and we offer our facilities to individuals, organizations and companies for meetings, workshops and other activities. CHPL’s vision is to be committed to achieving and maintaining excellence in providing public library services to the community. This is done by defining a set of goals and objectives that are consistent with our Mission Statement and then articulating a Vision that enables them to be attained.

Librarians and staff are coaches, mentors, facilitators, and teachers as the role of the library has changed to meet new needs of the community. Just walk in the library and you may see families reading with children, teens writing code at a 24 hour hackathon, students meeting for classroom group projects, job seekers working on resumes in Reference by Appointment, entrepreneurs using Wi-Fi in our co-working spaces, immigrants in our English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, retirees using new online tools, authors writing books, and more.

Our strategic planning process began in 2016 using the Aspen Institute Action Guide.  The Action Guide came from a need for guidance on how to make practical, achievable goals from the Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries report. We used the tools available on the LibraryVision.Org website, including case studies, stories and blog posts that share information on how to address the transformation of public libraries in the digital age. Librarians, paraprofessionals, and supervisors all met several times in 2016 to work on the toolkit chapters to hone the ideas for the Strategic Plan 2017-2019.  We crafted five Strategic Directions to guide CHPL, with Objectives and Tactics to reach our goals:

  1. Support the goals of the community through education and information services.
  2. Foster a culture of innovation for emerging technology and information literacy.
  3. The Cherry Hill Public Library is a place of knowledge and inspiration for members of the Cherry Hill Public Library community.
  4. Be a Visible and Engaged Presence in the Community.
  5. Encourage Professional Development and Foster a Positive Staff Culture.

The Action Guide allowed me as Director to channel our discussions with staff, supervisors and the Board of Trustees. We wanted to review how we spent our time and budget to improve the lives of Cherry Hill residents by both broadening and enhancing our collections, services and programs to all ages. We continue to address the fast pace of changes in Cherry Hill and the larger society, our diverse population, and emerging technology. 

Evaluations from many programs were used to identify areas that the patrons of the Cherry Hill Public Library were interested in having brought to the community. The Strategic Plan was given to the Board of Trustees for input and review and took 9 months to complete.  Our staff was cognizant of focusing on strengths, and not extending resources beyond the mission and vision.  We were able to use the Aspen Institute guide to jump right in to the big questions that can seem overwhelming.

Check out our new Strategic Plan for 2017-2019 HERE! We think it’s pretty great!

Laverne Mann
Cherry Hill Public Library


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