Strategic Plan - Newark Public Library

Strategic Plan

A Message from the Former President of the Board of Trustees

Libraries are always about the future. This is especially true in Newark, where, for more than 125 years, the Newark Public Library has helped individuals of all backgrounds build their futures and find ways to live out their dreams.

Good libraries have the ability to recognize growing trends before they are fully evident to others. We do that in Newark to the extent we listen to our patrons and understand at a granular level what issues are important in their lives — and then ask ourselves how we can help. In this way, we are always adapting to serve the entire community better.

The purpose of this strategic plan is to spell out for our patrons and ourselves how we imagine the future and what we need to do to reach that future.
This is a time of transformation for the Newark Public Library. We invite you to join us as we aim to create a brighter future for all Newarkers.

Dr. Timothy J. Crist
Former President, Newark Public Library Board of Trustees (Served through December 2019)

To download the Strategic Plan, please click here: NPL-StrategicPlan-052918


In serving the entire Newark community, the Newark Public Library will be a national model of innovation, collaboration and service excellence.


The Newark Public Library transforms lives and strengthens communities through innovative services, stimulating programs and inspiring collections.



We pledge to set a distinctive standard of excellence in all services for our library’s users, for the City of Newark, and for our staff.


We engage with residents to co-create a happy, productive Newark. We make the library an active, integral community citizen.


We use our different strengths to work together and with partners throughout the city to achieve our mission and to encourage curiosity in Library users.


We shape and transform lives through our programs, services, and collections to fulfill the expectations and dreams of all who use Library resources.


We provide a safe space, where all individuals are free to be themselves.


We welcome people of all ages, abilities, beliefs, classes, colors, ethnicities, genders, gender preferences, and shapes into these libraries. Libraries are for everyone. Everyone belongs here.


We invite and encourage change as Newark communities’ needs evolve.


We are a hub of the community. We use our skills and resources to help all Newarkers. 

Strategic Directions and Goals

The following priorities emerged during the many conversations that informed this new Strategic Plan. They will guide the Newark Public Library’s work over the next three years.

Nurture Newark’s Youth and Families

Newark Public Library provides engaging, educational, and entertaining programs for children, teens, and their caregivers.

•  Create and augment programs that encourage all youth to learn about their community and the wider world

•  Expand print and digital collections to encourage all youth to advance their literacy skills and develop a lifelong love of reading and learning

•  Partner with organizations that support youth and families to connect them with the services they need

•  Strengthen relationships with Newark schools to build a community of future leaders

•  Connect with youth and their caregivers, both online and in person

•  Promote the holistic health of Newark’s neighborhoods through community service and outreach

Contribute to the Personal Growth and Well-Being of All Newarkers

Newark Public Library delivers essential services and resources to everyone seeking opportunities to build a better life.

•  Serve as information and referral hubs for social service and life-enhancing needs

•  Expand outreach efforts tailored to Newark’s distinctive neighborhoods

•  Strengthen programs supporting Newark’s immigrant and refugee communities

•  Develop high-quality programming supporting job-seekers and small business entrepreneurs

•  Encourage self-directed learning through enriching programs, service,  and new technologies

•  Collaborate with educational, cultural, and community organizations to expand access to opportunities and learning experiences

•  Engage the growing community of older adults through exciting and supportive programs and services


Strengthen Digital Literacy Skills for All

Newark Public Library provides all Newarkers with access to the technology and skills necessary in today’s world.

•  Assist all Newarkers in building essential technology skills

•  Reduce barriers to technology for traditionally underserved populations

•  Provide access to current, relevant technology to all who need it

•  Introduce and promote new and emerging technologies that enhance learning

•  Create a strong and engaging digital presence for the Newark Public Library


Enhance and Promote Newark Public Library’s Distinctive Special Collections

Newark Public Library collects, preserves, and provides access to materials that document the city’s diverse history and culture.

•  Improve access to the Library’s current collections

•  Meet standards for the long-term preservation of materials

•  Increase visibility and promote the development and use of the collections

•  Engage diverse communities of users through an active publicity and outreach campaign

•  Expand online content through digitization of materials


Provide Welcoming, Safe and Vibrant Environments

Open and welcoming to all are inviting spaces designed for lifelong learning and enrichment.

•  Ensure that all library spaces are safe, well cared for, and accessible to everyone

•  Establish all libraries as destinations with cultural and educational events that highlight the rich diversity and history of Newark

•  Develop the Main and Branch Libraries as “third places,” anchors in the community, where everyone belongs

•  Encourage use by the community of interior and exterior Library spaces



The development of this Strategic Plan was made possible with the support of Prudential, a member of the Newark community for over 140 years.

The Strategic Plan was prepared by a joint committee of members of the Board of Trustees and Library staff.

Thomas Alrutz
Ingrid Betancourt
Aaliyah Bowen
Dale E. Colston
Timothy J. Crist
Sandra King

Rob Latz
Isidra Myricks
Jeffrey Trzeciak
George Williams
De’Shawn Wright

Over 200 Newark community members provided their ideas and gave generously of their time to attend community meetings and respond to an online survey.

One of Newark Public Library’s greatest strengths is its talented and dedicated staff, who provided thoughtful direction and insight into the Library’s future work.

The strategic planning process was guided by DJA Consulting, under the leadership of DeEtta Jones, Principal and Gary Wasdin, Senior Consultant.