Chapter 9

CAMEO Handbook

Chapter 9 Using the Results in Planning

"Interpretation is a complex task calling for reflection and judgment. The findings focus discussion, but the committee will need to think both analytically and creatively about the meaning and implications of the findings." (McClure et al. 1987, 23)


Looking-Around is completed, and the report is written and distributed--now, what? The next step is to study the results and begin the decision-making that will result in a plan for the library. This is one of the most difficult--if not THE most difficult--transitions in the entire planning process. At this point, groups are tempted to develop a plan that does what they always wanted to do, rather than a plan that is based on the findings of the Looking-Around process.

This section provides general suggestions for approaching the process of studying the results and making decisions. It also presents three tools from which library planners can select to help the Planning Committee focus its discussion and decision-making.

Levels of Effort

The level of effort for this step will be the same as the level of effort the library has used for Looking-Around. If the report is a completed WorkSheet #1 (A-D), then the process will be basic; however, if there is a comprehensive report to review, the process will be carried out at a more extensive level of effort.

The Planning Committee should review the Looking-Around report with careful consideration. Each member should read the report ahead of time, setting time aside to examine the results and think about the implications for the library and its future. Each person should consider where the library is now, the needs of the community, and how the library's plans can be shaped to best respond to those needs. Then the committee should come together and work as a group, discussing the findings, listening to the perspective of others, and working through a structured process to make decisions that will result in final decisions about the library's mission, priority roles, goals, and objectives. The committee may want to spend more than one meeting discussing the implications of the findings.

Overview and suggestions

McClure et al. (24) offer some guidelines for this process:

The library's plan will be based on the decisions that are made during these discussions. This stage of planning is hard work; however, if it is done well, the rewards will be worth the effort. There are several approaches to analysis of the results.

Translating the findings In Planning and Role Setting for Public Libraries, (McClure et al. 1987, 23) the authors suggest one simple approach to analyzing the results of Looking-Around. Using WorkSheet #8, the Planning Committee should:

Individual committee members might jot down their own responses on the form when they review the report on their own, and then the form can provide the basis for structured discussion and subsequent decision-making by the committee as a whole.

Analyzing strengths and changes needed

Another structured approach in decision-making is to analyze the strengths and changes needed as revealed in the report of Looking-Around using the WorkSheets #9 (A-D). Once again, working individually and then as a group, the committee can review the Looking-Around findings, discuss the various individual interpretations of the information, and come to consensus about the appropriate priorities to serve as the focus for the library's services and management during the coming planning cycle. The WorkSheets provide a framework for making planning decisions by having Planning Committee members consider current strengths and changes needed in each of the following areas:

The steps in using the WorkSheets include:

Using WOTS-Up to identify priorities

A third process that a Planning Committee can use to guide the discussion and decision-making is called the WOTS-Up process. WOTS is an acronym for Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Strengths; WorkSheets 10(A&B) guide the user in the process. It is an excellent tool to use in synthesizing the information gathered and will help the Planning Committee identify a multitude of issues and then narrow them to the few that are most important. Those decisions will help the committee develop a final mission statement, select priority roles, and identify goals and objectives for the plan. Having a person experienced in facilitation or group consensus building to guide the group activities in the process is helpful, but with the following outline even a novice can successfully use WOTS-Up.

Here is a list of the terms used in the WOTS-Up process with a brief definition of each:

Before the first Planning Committee meeting to review the Looking-Around results, ask each member to review the report and prepare a WOTS-Up Planning Issues Analysis Sheet (WorkSheet #10B) for each major issue they identify in the report. Then have them bring the sheets to the meeting to help the discussion.

The steps in the process: