Gardner Public Library Strategic Plan 2018-2023

Adopted September 10, 2018

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Gardner Public Library of Wakefield, Nebraska is to provide quality materials and services which fulfill educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the entire community in an atmosphere that is welcoming, respectful, and businesslike.

Planning Team

The Planning Team consisted of a panel of five people. Some of the members are library staff, and others are community members.

  • Elizabeth Carlson – Library Director
  • Blake Craig – Youth Librarian
  • Paul Eaton – Former Teacher, Foundation Member
  • Lori Nicholson – WSC Professor, Board Member
  • Carol Clark – Former Teacher, Community Member

Community Profile

Wakefield is located in northeast Nebraska. The town is 44 miles southwest of Sioux City, Iowa and 48 miles northeast of Norfolk, Nebraska. Wayne State College and Northeast Community College are the closest colleges to Wakefield. The statistics provided are from the 2016 U. S. fact finder, along with statistics from the Nebraska Department of Education.


Wakefield has a population of 1,451 people.


Wakefield Community Schools educates children from Preschool through 12th Grade. Humpty Dumpty Daycare also provides a Preschool for children. Total school enrollment is 498. In 2016-17, Wakefield had a 97.22% graduation rate. Wayne State College is a four year college 10 miles from Wakefield. Northeast Nebraska Community College is a two year institution, with campuses in Norfolk and South Sioux City. Wayne State College shares the South Sioux City campus with Northeast.

Language and Ethnicity

75.3% of residents of Wakefield speak English at home, 23.8% of residents speak Spanish at home and .9% of the population speaks another Indo-European language at home. 23.5% of the population is foreign born with 76.5% of the population born in the United States.


Wakefield has a median household income of $58,349. 9.9% of households are below the poverty line. 55.02% of children are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches at school.

Cultural Summary

Wakefield has a swimming pool less than 10 years old with two water slides and a diving board. The town also includes a nine-hole golf course, one grocery store, park, community theatre, five bar/restaurants, and several small businesses. Wakefield is the “Baseball Capital of Nebraska.” There is a walking path on the outskirts of town. Wakefield has five churches, a senior center, nursing home, and bank. There is also an active Community Club, Lions Club, American Legion, Legion Auxiliary, and Volunteer Fire Department with Auxiliary. A Community Center is currently being built, with construction slated to be completed in 2018.

Library S.W.O.T. Analysis

Internal Strengths

  • · The Staff at the library is friendly to all patrons.
  • The Staff knows most of the library’s patrons by name.
  • The library offers programs for children all year long, including Summer Reading Program, reading aloud to Humpty Dumpty Day Care and Wakefield Elementary School preschool classes, Therapy Dogs, Cooking with Elizabeth, Mad Science with Blake, and many more.
  • 19 computers, 2 laptops, and 2 iPads for patrons to use, plus a copier that will fax and scan documents.
  • Located close to city daycare and business district.
  • Up to date website, social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Free Wi-Fi access available to patrons
  • Outreach in the community including Craft Night and reading aloud at Wakefield Health Care Center two times per month.
  • E-books and Audio Books available through a variety of websites.
  • is available for patron use.
  • Meeting room available to rent for community groups and businesses.

Internal Weaknesses

  • The library has fewer patrons using the facility in the school months.
  • Parking lot has draining water issues in the winter. Makes it hard for older patrons to get to the building due to the ice on the ground.
  • No place for outdoor activities, such as the Summer Reading Program. We are partnering with Christian Church and the City of Wakefield to be able to have activities outside, either across the street or by blocking off a street for activities.

External Opportunities

  • Community Events, including Balloon Days, and BBQ Bash.
  • Summer sports, including youth and legion baseball, softball, t-ball.
  • Community facilities, including a black box theater, new civic center to be finished in 2018, ball fields, school, Train Depot Museum, Graves Library Museum, etc.

External Threats

  • Budget constraints and rising costs.
  • Aging population.

Community Needs

In a survey conducted by the city of Wakefield in 2017, community concerns were addressed. Community members are the most interested in finding solutions to these issues.

  1. Maintaining adequate, quality housing.
  2. Maintaining quality education.
  3. Ongoing recruitment and training emergency volunteers.
  4. Limited free public Wi-Fi.

Community Need #1

There is a need for home repairs and improvements in the community. Quality, affordable housing is a goal shared by the City of Wakefield and the surrounding area.


Increase information on home improvement opportunities and DIY projects in the library’s collection and programs.


  • Increase the library’s collection of DIY books by purchasing four books a year covering various home improvement topics. Purchased by director.
  • Help direct persons wanting information on reliable contractors to sources that would be knowledgeable about contractors.
  • Have extra copies business listings prepared by the Community Club available for persons interested in obtaining one.
  • Explore home improvement magazines to add to the magazine collection at Gardner Public Library. Plan to purchase at least one new home improvement magazine in the next 12 months.

Community Need #2

There is a need to continue to maintain the high quality of education available at Wakefield Community School.


Help support education at Wakefield Community School.


  • Maintain the relationship between Gardner Public Library and Wakefield Elementary preschool by having the preschool classes come for a reading time every other Friday throughout the school year.
  • Offer to partner with teachers at Wakefield Elementary School for different events, including poetry writing, reading books to classes, etc.
  • Partner with the library at Wakefield Community School to offer multiple copies of the Golden Sower books at Gardner Public Library over the summer. These books will be used in the annual “Battle of the Books” that take place at Wakefield Elementary each February and March.

Community Need #3

There is a need to continue to recruit emergency volunteers, such as firefighters, along with continual training of the individuals who do volunteer.


Partner with the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department to offer resources, as well as provide space for trainings if necessary


  • Meet annually with the Wakefield Fire Chief and EMT captain to review resources that would be helpful for the library to have on hand for training.
  • Partner with WVFD to purchase resources suggested by the Wakefield Fire Chief and EMT captain.
  • Offer use of the meeting room at no charge for training exercises sponsored by Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department and other entities that provide additional training.

Community Need #4

The community does not have many places to access free WiFi. Many people live near the poverty line, so they are limited by where they can use a computer or WiFi.


The library will look at upgrading laptops for use by patrons, upgrading older computers, as well as upgrading to a higher speed WiFi for the library.


  • Research and draft a proposal to the Graves Library Foundation for purchase of two additional laptops for use by patrons.
  • Purchase of laptops by January 2019.
  • Research and draft a proposal to Graves Library Foundation for the purchase of computers to replace the oldest computers currently at Gardner Public Library
  • Purchase one new computer per year beginning in January 2019.
  • Research a higher speed WiFi for Gardner Public Library. There are current plans by ABB Nebraska to increase speed in Wakefield.


  • The library staff, board members, foundation members and director will develop and implement the programs mentioned above.
  • The Strategic plan will be reviewed once a year. Changes will be made and updated as necessary.
  • Review of the Strategic Plan will happen with a panel of five people.
  • The review panel will consist of the following people, Library Director, Library staff member, Library Board member, Library Foundation member, and member of the community.

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