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Service Delivery Framework

Approved by the OPL Board on May 10, 2022


Ottawa Public Library's (OPL's) vision is to build community and transform lives and its mission is to inspire learning, spark curiosity, and connect people. The vision and mission are built upon OPLs core values of Community, Inclusion, Integrity, Intellectual Freedom, and Literacy.

There are several overarching documents that guide OPL in high-level decision making. These include the above Vision, Mission, and Values, as well as the Strategic Plan. Additionally, there are other key Board-approved documents, such as position statements, policies, and frameworks that guide high-level decision making. Examples of this include the Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom, and the Financial Framework, among others.

The Service Delivery Framework (SDF) is another such tool that informs other key pieces, as further described in this document, such as the Channel Frameworks, and Service Strategies. Once the Service Strategies and Channel Frameworks are created, and as part of implementation of the SDF, staff will develop and deliver operational documents to guide and structure service planning at OPL.


While service delivery frameworks from other libraries and organizations were reviewed as part of the research for this work, each organization is different, necessitating a service delivery model that is tailored to meet the distinctive needs of the community served. For OPL, most notable is Ottawa's geographic area of 2,760 sq. km, 80% of which is rural1. In 2002, the library system was created because of municipal amalgamation, which saw the consolidation of 11 former library systems into one. In the past two decades, Ottawa has grown from a community of 774,0722, to more than 1,000,000 people, and by 2035 the population is expected to grow to more than 1.2 million3. As such, while reviewing service delivery plans from other organizations proved useful as part of the research phase of this work, the SDF presented here reflects the unique situation of OPL.

Additionally, it is important to note that the Board's Delegation of Authority Policy provides a structure through which to approve key strategic frameworks. For example, the Board has previously approved such documents as the Alternative Services Framework, the Content Services Framework, and the Financial Framework. Some of these documents interact with the SDF, and some will need to be revised for better alignment. For instance, because the Content Services Framework was approved prior to the development of the SDF, it will need to be amended to re-align with the structure of the SDF, which includes the development of service strategies.

Guiding principles

Given the considerations above, staff identified a need to develop Guiding Principles to provide parameters for service delivery. These Guiding Principles will inform staff decisions as they implement the SDF and conduct service design, planning, and assessment. These Guiding Principles influence services that the public interact with, rather than direct the ways in which staff operationalize those services behind the scenes.

Services at OPL will be:

  • Underpinned by OPL's vision, mission and values;
  • Shaped by, and responsive to, community needs and trends;
  • Influenced by technology and innovation; and,
  • Governed by the fiscal environment and resources available.

The Service Delivery Framework

A service delivery framework is a foundational document that describes the overarching services offered by an organization, as well as the ways the public can access those services. It should help an organization to identify gaps in service, address inconsistencies in service levels, and determine effectiveness of service offerings. Ultimately, the SDF is an accountability tool, which will allow OPL to increase transparency in decision-making, and result in a more consistent and equitable service experience for customers.

The SDF identifies Service Categories and Service Channels for the delivery of public services to the community.

Service Categories

OPL has identified five (5) Service Categories, that group together like-services: Collections, Expertise, Programs, Spaces, and Tools. The Collections and Expertise categories are mandated by the PLA, making these foundational services. In decision-making, these are the two services that OPL is committed to continuing under any and all circumstances. The remaining three categories (Programs, Spaces, and Tools) reflect modern service expectations of public libraries and have been identified as priority services that OPL will offer to the community.

For each Service Category are accompanying Service Strategies, which are tactical documents that guide the implementation and assessment of services.

Each Service Strategy will consider the following:

  • An outcome statement to guide the strategy;
  • Defined standards and/or guidelines for specific services within the broader category;
  • A description of how services are delivered via each Service Channel.
  • A decision instrument to determine the addition of new services; and,
  • An evaluation tool to measure progress in achieving the stated outcome, and to support decision-making with regards to increasing or decreasing existing services.

Collections Category:

  • Broad Definition: Items in the catalogue
  • Examples of Collections: Books, Musical instruments, DVDs, Chromebooks, Reference materials, Streaming service (e.g., Kanopy, Hoopla), eBooks, eAudiobooks, etc.
  • Key document: Collections Strategy

Expertise Category:

  • Broad Definition: Staff who support literacy and information needs
  • Examples: Reader's Advisory, Research assistance, eReader support, Technology support, Account and membership support, etc.
  • Key document: Expertise Strategy

Programs Category:

  • Broad Definition: Intentionally-designed activities or events
  • Examples: Babytime, Croisée des mots, Art exhibitions, Book clubs, Speaker series, etc.
  • Key document: Programs Strategy

Spaces Category:

  • Broad Definition: Defined areas for customer use
  • Examples: Teen Zone, Meeting room, Reading Lounge, "Zoom" room, Comments section of catalogue, Computer lab, etc.
  • Key document: Spaces Strategy

Tools Category:

  • Broad Definition: Equipment or technology that is not in the catalogue
  • Examples: Computers, Printers, Scanners, Toys, Microfilm readers, 3D printers, Audio-visual editing software, etc.
  • Key document: Tools Strategy

Service Channels

OPL has identified three (3) Service Channels through which its services are delivered: the Virtual Channel, the Facility Channel, and the Mobile Channel. This current version of the SDF more strongly embeds the Virtual Channel, and balances service delivery across all three channels.

The SDF includes a decision-making tool for each Service Channel. Specifically, each Service Channel includes a broad definition and an associated Framework that staff will use to guide decision-making. In some cases, the Framework associated with the Service Channel has not yet been created (such as the Virtual Framework), while in other cases (such as the Alternative Services Framework), an existing document will need to be refreshed and amended to ensure alignment with the SDF.

Virtual Channel:

  • Broad definition: The methods by which services are delivered in a virtual environment.
  • Examples: Website, Social media, Email, Phone, Chat, etc.
  • Key document: Virtual Framework

Facility Channel:

  • Broad definition: The methods by which services are delivered in-person at OPL locations.
  • Examples: Central, District, Local, etc.
  • Key document: Facilities Framework

Mobile Channel:

  • Broad definition: The methods by which services are delivered in-person at other locations.
  • Examples: Bookmobile, Homebound, Outreach, etc.
  • Key document: Mobile Framework (currently named Alternative Services Framework)

Service Classification Chart

Through the creation of the Service Strategies and the Channel Frameworks, one of the deliverables of the SDF will be a Service Classification Chart, which will be used to illustrate services across channels, as well as help to identify service trends, standards, and expectations.

Service Design and Planning Team

To support the SDF, ensure consistency of development, and to keep it aligned with service requirements, a team will be charged with service planning and design for OPL.

This department will be responsible for applying the SDF from an operational perspective: 1) leading the development and implementation of the Service Strategies, 2) developing an approach to increase or decrease existing service levels, and 3) ensuring a strong service evaluation component. This will allow OPL to take a more holistic approach to service design, planning, and evaluation, will support data-driven decision-making, as well as incorporate assessment and evaluation into service planning.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Service Delivery Framework will be reviewed once per term of Board, in accordance with OPL Board Policy 10. This includes the review of each of the 5 Service Strategies and each of the 3 Service Channel Frameworks.