Use of focus groups in a library's strategic planning process

Mori Lou Higa-Moore, Brian Bunnett, Helen G. Mayo, Cynthia A. Olney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The use of focus groups to determine patron satisfaction with library resources and services is extensive and well established. This article demonstrates how focus groups can also be used to help shape the future direction of a library as part of the strategic planning process. By responding to questions about their long-term library and information needs, focus group participants at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Library contributed an abundance of qualitative patron data that was previously lacking from this process. The selection and recruitment of these patrons is discussed along with the line of questioning used in the various focus group sessions. Of special interest is the way the authors utilized these sessions to mobilize and involve the staff in creating the library's strategic plan. This was accomplished not only by having staff members participate in one of the sessions but also by sharing the project's major findings with them and instructing them in how these findings related to the library's future. The authors' experience demonstrates that focus groups are an effective strategic planning tool for libraries and emphasizes the need to share information broadly, if active involvement of the staff is desired in both the development and implementation of the library's strategic plan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-92
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Library and Information Sciences


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