Strategic Planning

Sandra is the author of the current Public Library Association strategic planning how-to books, Strategic Planning for Results and Implementing for Results: Your Strategic Plan in Action.

The Strategic Planning for Results process has been refined by 30 years of public library planning experiences and reflects today's best practices. The process takes between three and four months and engages stakeholders from the staff, the board, and the community. The final plan describes the library's service priorities and explains how the staff will measure progress toward meeting those priorities.

Creating a strategic plan is just a preliminary step in the real work of moving the library forward. A plan is of little value unless it is implemented and Implementing for Results: Your Strategic Plan in Action is the most practical tool available to guide your implementation efforts. The six chapter titles make the process clear:

  1. Get Ready for Change
  2. Explore the Possibilities
  3. Identify Essential Activities
  4. Eliminate and Streamline
  5. Consider Time and Other Resources
  6. Make it Work

There is nothing prescriptive about Sandra's approach to planning. Her role in the process is to ensure that all voices are heard and that the decisions that are made at each step reflect the consensus of the stakeholders engaged in making the decisions.

Training and Instructional Design

On-Site Training

Sandra develops exciting, effective, interactive training programs tailored to meet the needs of the library or organization sponsoring the program. She prepares detailed, user-friendly training handouts that not only help participants learn during the program, but also serve as an effective reminder of the information covered long after the program is over. Sandra presents onsite training on topics that include:

  • Managing Change
  • Strategic Planning
  • Budgeting and Resource Allocation
  • Efficiency and Effectiveness
  • Management Skills
  • Supervisory Skills
  • Customer Service
  • Time Management
  • Stress Management
  • Presentation Skills
  • Training and Continuing Education Skills
  • and more...

Train-the-Trainer Kits

Sandra is the author four train-the-trainer kits that are available from ALA Publishing. Each kit includes a trainer's script, a detailed PowerPoint presentation, and masters for the handouts used during the program.

  • Time Flies… But Where? Time Management Tips and Tools
  • Stress Less: Taming the Tensions in Your Life
  • Customer Service: Balancing Rights and Responsibilities
  • Libraries Prosper - A Guide to Using the PLA Advocacy Toolkit


Sandra and June Garcia are partners in the e-learning company E-Learn Libraries, Inc. They have worked together to develop an array of e-learning products including the six-week Supervisors' Academy that has been presented in a number of libraries. Sandra and June also develop unique e-learning solutions for libraries looking for creative ways to train staff to meet the challenges of providing library services in the 21st century.

Assessing Effectiveness and Efficiency

Sandra has been a librarian for 40 years and has worked in both small and large public libraries and in two state library agencies. This gives her a unique perspective on library services at both the state and system levels. Because Sandra has provided programs and managed projects in all 48 contiguous states, she clearly understands that every state is different and that there are no "one-size-fits-all" solutions to the complex challenges facing public libraries, state libraries, and regional libraries today. She helps library managers and boards develop the tools they need to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of their libraries.

Sandra Nelson Consulting: Email Sandra