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Management as a Service Response

Torrance Public Library, CA
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Innovation Summary

The Torrance Public Library developed a new Plan of Service in 2012, basing outcomes on the PLA model of Service Responses. In order to ensure management was transparent, relevant, and accountable to the public, a new Service Response of "Effective Management" was added to the Plan.

Problem Statement

In these tight times, transparency and relevance are essential. In developing a new Plan of Service, Torrance Public Library determined that management of Library resources was as important as other outcomes. In addition to five service responses selected from the PLA planning model, staff created a new service response of "Effective Management" to track. This response is as public as the others, with the same structure as those focused on outcomes for the public. This highlights the work done "behind the scenes" and enables staff to see the library as a system, the public to understand how effective management serves the public, and City management to see that their managers are working effectively. Making management this public and transparent is a new step for the Library, and necessary to respond to the new demands of this era of public service.


The Plan of Service was developed with a public survey, demographic assessment, and focus groups. The Effective Management service response was developed side by side with staff and outside input from two MLIS students, and a City Analyst. It was approved by the Library Commission, Community Services Director and City Manager. All service responses are being tracked and will be highlighted in a new annual report, anticipated for September, 2013.


Anticipated outcomes include a greater understanding of the library as an integrated system by staff, greater awareness of the role of library management by the public, added accountability of library budget and resource management to the City Manager's Office, and increased communication among all work units in the library organization. If front-line staff are aware of management's goals, they can further understand direction and policy. If management is accountable directly to the staff, we can establish greater trust and rapport. This all leads to improved organizational health and service to the public.