Osceola Public Library Strategic Plan

Osceola Public Library Strategic Plan 2016-2019






The first library in Osceola started in 1895 located at a local business.

A permanent library on our present location was built in 1949, and an addition was completed in 1998.


The library has not only grown in size but also in the services offered through the library. We offer a lending collection of over 14,000 items including books, films, music, audio books, periodicals, and cake pans. We participate in Nebraska Overdrive, which has over 19,000 downloadable ebooks and over 8,000 downloadable audiobooks available for our patrons. We have public access computers, wi-fi, copy, and fax services. We offer different programming throughout the year for our patrons.



Our Mission


Our mission statement says, “We shall serve the residents of the community as a resource center and provide services for educational, recreational and cultural development for all ages.”


Our library has strived to accomplish this as it has changed and improved throughout the years, and we intend to continue improving. Advances in technology are continually changing how people access information and how they interact. Our unpredictable economy has affected the services people need from the library. We need to plan for the future and keep pace with technology in order to remain a relevant and vital part of our community.


This strategic plan was written with the input of the Osceola Public Library staff, board members, the Osceola Community Action Group, patrons, and other community members. The Osceola Public Library is here to be of assistance to the community by providing needed services. The input from the community is an important part of this plan that will help guide us now and into the future.



Community Profile


Osceola is the county seat of Polk County and is located in east-central Nebraska. Osceola is 27 miles southwest of Columbus, which is the nearest city with a population of more than 20,000, 49 miles northeast of Grand Island, 70 miles northwest of Lincoln, and 90 miles west of Omaha.


The population of Osceola is 855.

19% of the population is school aged.
21% is 65 years and older.
There is an elementary school, which also offers a preschool, and a high school within the city limits. There is also a Christian School just outside the city limits. Osceola Public School is not consolidated with anyone else. The nearest colleges are located in York and Columbus, both within 30 miles of Osceola. York College is a four-year Christian liberal arts college and Columbus Central Community College is a two-year public college.

93% of the population 25 years and over have completed high school.
25% of the same population group have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Language and Ethnicity
97.6% speak only English at home.
1.2% speaks Spanish.
1.2% speaks another language.
94% of the population is one race, white.
1.6 % of the population is Hispanic.
Employment and Economic Status
64% of the population 16 and above is in the labor force with
< 1% unemployed.

32% are in education and healthcare.
24% are in government jobs.
9% are in transportation, warehousing and utilities.
8% are in construction.
8% are in manufacturing.
53% of workers commute to work with an average travel time of 15.4 minutes.
60% of families have all parents in the labor force.
5.4% of the population had an income below the poverty level in the past 12 months.
33.96% of students in the public schools qualified or free or reduced priced lunches.
Cultural Summary
Osceola is the home of the Polk County fairgrounds. There is one city park with picnic and playground areas, a swimming pool, the Polk County museum, a golf course, camping areas, sports fields, and historical sites. Osceola has three churches, a nursing home, the only hospital in the county, a fitness center at the hospital, a country club, a senior center, a grocery store, a thrift store, a dance, gymnastics and yoga studio, a Dollar General store, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. There are various community groups including the Polk County Historical Society, the Osceola Community Action Group, Lion’s Club, PEO, Masons and Eastern Star, the American Legion, and the American Legion Auxiliary.



Library SWOT Analysis
Internal Strengths
The number of public access computers is more than sufficient for our community’s needs.
Our location offers plenty of parking.
We offer a wide collection of materials including periodicals, books in regular and large print, cake pans, DVDs, CDs, audio books, graphic novels, history items, Overdrive, and various databases through NebraskAccess.
The library has an above average collection size.
The library offers a children’s story hour and a summer reading program.
The library offers free Wi-Fi, interlibrary loan, fax services, and copy services.
The library has a foundation that supplements our special needs budget.
Internal Weaknesses
The library is below our peer group average in local income, open hours, expenditure on staff, turnover rate, and attendance per capita to programs.
There is no separate meeting room.
We need to find more programming that is of interest to teens and adults.
External Opportunities
The older population is looking for help with new technology.
The schools are interested in having Overdrive but don’t have the resources to pay for their own account.
The local community action group will promote businesses.
External Threats
There is a decline in suitable housing.
Rising costs and declining revenue.
Declining population.

Community Needs Survey Results
Osceola residents are on the average satisfied to very satisfied with living in the community. Those that completed the survey liked the friendly people and small town atmosphere of Osceola.


The most critical issues facing Osceola today are as follows:


1. Need for retail businesses/restaurant

2. Lack of suitable housing

3. Senior population underserved

4. Revitalization of buildings/businesses around the city square


Additional activities or resources that the community would like to have available:


1.      Restaurant

2.      Housing for singles

3.      Additional retail stores

4.      Adult fitness classes



Community Need # 1
The residents of Osceola feel there is a critical need for new businesses and a restaurant. The lack of these takes people and income out of town.


To work with other community members to promote the development and/or revitalization of business opportunities through the use of library facilities, promotion of community goals, and offering of informational meetings and programs.


1.      A member of the library staff will attend at least 8 of the 12 monthly meetings of the Osceola Community Action Group each year.

2.      A member of the library staff will obtain and offer current information in print and online about economic development by June of 2017.

3.      A member of the library staff will hold at least one program by December 31st each year, starting in 2017, concerning economic development or business opportunities.



Community Need # 2
The lack of suitable housing for young families, singles, and seniors is a need many of the residents of Osceola are concerned about.

To provide resources that cover information on obtaining loans, low rent housing, mortgages, restoring rundown properties, and other topics.


1.     A member of the library staff will obtain and provide the current information about the available low rent housing at the library for any interested parties by January of 2017.

2.     A member of the library staff will hold at least one program by December 31st each year, starting in 2017, on the financial aspects of building or fixing a home.

3.     A member of the library staff will obtain and offer current information in print and online about restoration, remodeling, and building housing by June of 2017.



Community Need # 3
The senior citizen population in Osceola is growing and has needs that are not being met such as transportation and technology issues.


To provide mobile library services to those who cannot get to the library on their own. To provide technology support to patrons as needed.



1.      A member of the library staff will contact the activities director at the Good Samaritan Society to coordinate a lending program with their residents by January of 2017.

2.      A member of the library staff will create and make available a request form for library materials for the nursing home residents by January of 2017.

3.      A member of the library staff will offer technology help as needed with the book-a-librarian program or provide traditional teaching programs by June of 2017.




Evaluation Plan


The Osceola Public Library will review the overall strategic plan annually in the fall. The five member library board with the help of Bryce Anderson, Shelia Cermak or Betty Rieck, plus the library staff, will evaluate, critique, and update the plan as indicated by the various goals and objectives. The library board meets monthly so if reviews or changes are needed more often or a problem presents, it can be corrected prior to the next annual review. We obtain patron input through feedback from our monthly article in the local newspaper, a suggestion box in the library, facebook page comments, and web site comments. We also take daily input from patrons via face-to-face contact.



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