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Lighthouse Consulting Inc.

Stephen Abram, Principal of Lighthouse Consulting Inc., a strategic planning practice for libraries. Within the past three years Lighthouse and LGA have jointly completed Feasibility Studies and/or Master Facilities Plans for the Southern Ontario communities of St. Marys, and Caledon, the City of Sarnia and the City of Barrie, and the Town of Gravenhurst and we are currently working together on similar studies for Blue Mountains Public Library. LGA has won several awards for design achievement on new, renovated and expanded libraries, including three Ontario Library Association (OLA) Building Awards within the past five years. Stephen Abram of Lighthouse Consulting, Inc. is a past president of the Ontario Library Association (OLA) and the Canadian Library Association (CLA); he is now executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. Stephen offers exceptional depth of experience in library-centered strategic planning, market research, community consultation, trend identification, and facilitation.

Lighthouse Consulting Inc. offers services to the library sector exclusively, sometimes under the umbrella of Dysart & Jones. Our experience in strategies and visions for libraries and in the library software, publishing and e-content space is deep and has been informed by working deeply in the sector from many facets. We offer our clients a great depth and a broad range of experience and expertise. We are senior consultants with excellent facilitation skills and over 35 years’ experience working with the library sector. Our philosophy on how best to serve our clients is based on a collaborative approach.  Because of the growing complexity of library service, delivery requires a multi-disciplinary approach with the combined expertise of senior consultants with different skills and perspectives. We can access members of our team with strengths in the areas your project is turning on including metrics and measurements analyses.

We believe strongly in working with our clients to fully understand their needs and together design workable strategies for ongoing success. Our projects are successful in part because of this commitment to working closely with you while providing our best professional advice to develop solutions that respect the unique opportunities and constraints of your library.  This is reflected in our work in any number of face-to-face and one-on-one conversations and interviews to mine the insights out of communities, management team and staff.

Libraries are delivering services in an increasingly turbulent, changing environment. Successful libraries have a clear vision of their future and practical strategies to achieve it. Our combined expertise as librarians, planners, information management consultants, facilitators and financial and organizational analysts allows us to work with you in not only envisioning your library’s future but putting the strategies in place to achieve it.

We provide consulting services with a unique depth and broad range of experience and expertise to the whole library sector. We bring unique skills to this project. Stephen is a project planner, strategy consultant and knows the big picture trends and has strong and grounded experience in organization effectiveness, human resources consulting, technology and digital content as it affects library program and service strategies.   He is a Librarian and an information leader with a varied background in the public, academic and corporate sectors and has contributed to many books and textbooks on library leadership and strategies.   An in-depth appreciation of library service trends and best practices that influence strategic planning and organization design as well as  relevant experience with library operations and a clear understanding of the relationships between staffing, operations, services, programs, trends and partnerships.

Finally, we are committed to working closely with you to ensure that we understand the unique needs of your community to prepare a plan that will meet your needs and aspirations. We are proud of our working relationship with our clients and go the extra mile.

Lighthouse Consulting Inc., has considerable experience with assisting libraries as well as other public sector and academic organizations in strategic planning, and reviewing and recreating their services. Our understanding of library operations and futures is the foundation of our strategic planning practice. We believe that future library facilities must be designed and equipped with functional and flexible spaces appropriate for the diverse needs and interests of contemporary users and well suited to the Library’s partnerships with other service providers.

Founded in 2013, Lighthouse Consulting Inc. builds on its principal’s lifelong experience in strategic planning, market research, community consultation, organization development, trend identification, and facilitation/focus groups.  Stephen Abram has developed a strong track record of working with information service providers in public and private sectors to develop plans, products and services that are as visionary as they are tactical and responsive in a rapidly changing environment.  Abram has worked with library boards, municipal staff and councils, and top management teams in all library sectors on program plans, staff competency development, strategic plans, business plans, organizational assessments, organization structure, and policy reviews for more than 35 years. We focus on creative solutions and plans for our clients that push the envelope of innovation in the public sector context.

Stephen Abram, Managing Principal, Lighthouse Consulting Inc. – MLS: Stephen is a librarian and has worked in major consulting firms and library associations and enterprises, since the start of his career as well as in executive leadership positions in major library vendors and publishers.  He is a renowned library futurist who tracks trends in libraries in all sectors.  He has worked in survey management and development, change management, strategy development and implementation, staff competency training, facilities visioning and planning, facilitation, and more.  He founded Lighthouse Consulting Inc. in 2013 to provide strategy and direction planning advice for libraries and the information industry.  He is also contracted as the executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries where he has successfully raised over $100 million in new funding for public libraries.

Stephen is a known as one of the top library trend watchers and innovators and as author of Stephen’s Lighthouse blog, one of the most popular blogs in librarianship.  Library Journal listed him as a visionary in the first Movers & Shakers list in 2004 as one of the top 50 people influencing the future of libraries.

He started his career in 1980 at two of Canada’s major consulting firms, Currie, Coopers & Lybrand consultants (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) as well as Hay Group Consultants for over a decade working in organizational design, human resources consulting, job evaluation systems, trend and organizational climate analysis and marketing and position descriptions and compensation surveys.  He built Hay Group’s position description job bank, wrote hundreds of position descriptions, and participated in the design of the computer assisted job evaluation system (CAJE).  He has been elected president of the Ontario Library Association, the Canadian Library Association and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and led strategies for the library sector for those associations and the sector. He received the 2011 CLA Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award in June 2011 among many other honors including SLA’s John Cotton Dana Award, AIIP’s Roger Summit Award, as well as being a Fellow of the SLA. He was Canadian Special Librarian of the Year.

He has held international executive leadership positions at Cengage Learning (Gale), SirsiDynix, Thomson, ProQuest, Micromedia, and IHS.  At each organization he led strategy and innovation teams as Vice President focused on cultural change and organization design as well as adapting to changes in the industry and sector, particularly focused on the impact of technology and digital content.  He has successfully worked with leading teams to change print-oriented publishing cultures to move to customer-focused, market-driven, technology-enhanced 21st Century cultures.  He has consulted on cultural change in libraries of all types.  He has been materially involved in developing strategies for electronic products and software in the library sector and has done extensive work for digital products for the law, health sciences, higher education, school, and public library markets.  He has led teams to build some of the first and most innovative and award-winning products using leading-edge online, CD-ROM, web and cloud technologies.

He has led several libraries and served on the advisory boards of six LIS schools, including the world’s largest LIS School, San Jose State University SLIS in California and the iSchool at the University of Toronto. Stephen is a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Information (iSchool) at the University of Toronto where he received the 2010 Outstanding Teaching Award and was Alumni of the Year. He speaks internationally on innovation, technology, marketing and strategic success in libraries and is the author of hundreds of articles and ALA Editions’ bestselling Out Front with Stephen Abram, among contributions to many books including an LIS textbook, Information Services Today.  Stephen write chapters for Boomers & Beyond, Libraries 2020, Creating a Culture of Evaluation: Taking Your Library From Talk to Action, Reinventing Reference: How Libraries Deliver in the Age of Google, and Succeeding in the World of Special Librarianship, among others.

Lighthouse Consulting has deep experience in the library sector.  Selected recent assignments (last 4 years) include:

  • Ontario Museum Association: Strategy Implemention for 2025
  • East Gwillimbury Public Library: Organizational Design
  • Caledon Public Library: Master Plan
  • Barrie Public Library: Master Plan
  • St. Marys Public Library: Master Plan
  • Waterloo Public Library: Master Plan
  • Woodstock Public Library: Strategic Plan
  • Lambton County Library System: Sarnia Master Plan
  • Gravenhurst Public Library Master Plan
  • Federation of Ontario Public Libraries: Contract Executive Director
  • University of Toronto, Faculty of Information: Strategic Plan
  • Seneca College: Strategic Planning and Organizational Design
  • Niagara College: Strategic Planning and Organizational Design
  • Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG): Strategic Planning and Organizational Design
  • University of the Pacific (Stockton Cal.): Strategic Planning and Organizational Design
  • Edmonton Public Library (with Nordicity): Strategies for Measuring Success
  • InfOhio (consortia strategic plan)
  • Blue Mountains Public Library: Master Plan

With Dysart & Jones Associates

  • SILS Saskatchewan Integrated Library System: Strategic Planning and Priorities
  • The Capital Group (Los Angeles): Strategic Planning and Organizational Design
  • Ontario Library Association: Strategic Plan
  • Richmond Hill Public Library: Staff Training for Implementation of new Strategic Plan
  • Whitby Public Library: Environmental Scan
  • Ottawa Catholic District School Board: Strategic planning and LIS training
  • New York Public Library: Staff development
  • The Alberta Library: Consortia environmental scan
  • Information Today Inc.: Summit and Conference planning, Acquisitions advice

For Library Vendors:

  • EOS & SirsiDynix: Customer strategies
  • Soutron: Customer strategies
  • VTLS Innovative Interfaces Inc. Customer strategies
  • Lucidea: Customer strategies, Publishing, Webinars
  • Meta / Sciencescape: Sale to Zuckerberg Chan Initiative through MaRS
  • Newmindsets (Start Up): Sale to CleverU in China through MaRS and marketing advice

Thought Leadership keynote speeches for hundreds of organizations and associations internationally.

Stephen Abram, MLS, FSLA
CEO, Lighthouse Consulting Inc.
412-120 Perth Ave.
Toronto, ON
Canada M6P 4E1
FOPL: 416-395-0746
Twitter: @foplnews
Cel: 416-669-4855
Twitter: @sabram