Measuring What Matters

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Joan Frye Williams, Library Consultant @ Northeast Kansas Library System Trustee Training

We are a word profession, not a numbers/statistics profession. Communities are changing…younger generations realit

To understand how your library relates to your community,

  • look beyond what’s always been measured
  • look beyond the conventional wisdom (change ideas about what’s important)

Focus on these six: Start with the people; Reach consensus on what role your library should play in your community; Get acquainted with library services; Understand how library resources are allocated; Look for certain things; Gather brief, compelling stories about the impact of library services

  1. Start with the people.

    No point in libraries doing what they do without the people. Yet, it’s not customary to do measuring based on people. Libraries track inventory; close records of stuff, but not much at the people. As long as you’re looking at groups, you’re not breaching confidentiality. We’ve secured privacy through ignorance of what our people are doing. Hard to make policy. Confidentiality and not knowing what’s going on is two very different things. What is okay to measure? Okay to know about our public? Believe in the principle of privacy; measure without breaching someone’s privacy, yet still must look at the people.

    Who is eligible to use your library? We think we know who’s here, but who’s here now? What are their aspirations? Profiles? Libraries are prepaid services tha

    Community profile: demographics; neighborhoods; destinations — not just where people sleep (where residents work, play, shop, go to school, and hang out); technology availability/usage (technology penetration; broadband speeds; cell phones; what’s normal in a community with technology); quality of life goals and priorities [aspirations].

    Communities are communal. Are people in your community because they want to raise their kids in a small town? The schools? Costs? Golf course? Lake? A stepping stone to another community? The answers to these questions provide context for what . If you ask people only about their library experience, instead of their life experience/aspirations, you’re missing the point. How can the library help people achieve these experiences/aspirations? Quality of life issues drive what the libraries do.

    Who has signed up for a library card? Who’s actively still using the library 6 months after library card signup? How are people using library over time? How many are active? Do people only use the library once, and then stop, or use it a lot at first, and then stop, or stay active? Strong case for recruitment and retention.

    Member profile: Age range; neighborhood; school (add to patron record); other demographics or target audiences (add to patron record), eg Spanish speakers; business owners; new residents; recruitment rate; retention rate.

    What does the library card mean? To civilians (non-library staff/board members), they joined something, a sign of membership. To librarians, it’s a sign that you get access to certain services. One library puts notes on their library cards like “member since…” or “donor”. Recruitment: membership instead of inventory control. Collect card information for a short period of time. When talking to elected officials, telling them how many people have joined the library, can show how good a service it is. Some people may be library supporters but not use the library services. If it’s a membership…anyone can show support. Cards not just as gatekeeping, but a way to know the community.

    Who works at the library? Track employee/volunteer profile; age range; years of service; similarity to community profile. How close a match is the faces people see in the library compared to the community?

  2. Reach consensus on what role your library should play in your community

    What business should the library be in? A candy store of books that was the library of many of our childhoods? That was the library business of the past. Libraries are not the only source of information anymore. Choices about what business libraries are going to be in.

    CRITICAL: Consensus: Process was fair; understood the decision criteria; opportunity for voice to be heard; even if the direction isn’t exactly what I would have chosen, I will support it w positive communications and actions.

    Choosing what business you are in, means you sometimes say no. It’s hard to say no. Choosing a direction, helps you say no. If an opportunity isn’t fitting in with your library’s direction, you need to say no.

    Strategic profile: mission, vision, values; alignment with broader community goals; positioning with respect to other service providers; desired impact — measuring success; how do we know something worked? Librarians are focused on what isn’t right, what didn’t go well. A strategic profile is easy to boil down and then makes decisions easier. Helps determine if things fit in/don’t fit in, in certain places.

    Charlotte Mecklenburg strategy focus: Early years, literacy; School years, educational success; teen and older : workforce/development.

  3. Get acquainted with library services

    Libraries have lots of data of how hard they work. Proof of hard work isn’t enough. Do our services fit into the people and the position of the library?

    What can the community get from their library? Very few libraries can, today, give a full picture, full list of all their library services. 154 services. Some services are well-kept secrets. Librarians need to know the list, and clump the list, under that strategic positioning. Why are we doing these services? For every service that is offered, someone needs to ask if a service is successful, what is a “good” service? If everyone asked for every service at the same time, we’d die of being overwhelmed. Libraries have designed services with the intention that they’ll be used, but not too much, because many involve staff intervention. What happens if people really like a service? What would great turnout be, and what happens if we exceed that? If this happens routinely, can libraries cope? What can libraries stop doing if demand goes up for important services? Librarians design services with librarians in mind…should services be designed differently? Delivered by others, including support staff and volunteers?

    Service profile: Complete list of services available; when each service was introduced; how each service relates to the library’s strategic profile; where each service is offered in the library, out in the community, online/virtual; how is designing, delivering services.

    A healthy library has services in the library, outside the library, and online/virtually. -JFW

    Which services are members choosing? What percentage of people who borrow materials from you, place holds? How many holds have different patrons placed? Communicating with heavy service users. What is okay to talk about? Talking about content vs data?

    Demand data: number and percentage of members who are using each service; types/group of members who are suing each service; seasons, days, or times of heaviest demand; services for which community demand exceeds the library’s capacity to respond, with an estimate of the gap

    What’s a “typical” transaction for members of different groups? Not just average. Marketers say typical…bell curve. Design policies for sweet spot, not around the outliers. Most library people set policy based on a situation that happened yesterday that we didn’t like. As library board members, ask how long until that situation happens again?

  4. Understand how library resources are allocated. 

    Ask, not what is the cost of the library, but what does the community get out of the investment.

    Cost data for key services: per capita; per member (card holders); per user; per program/event; per transaction.

    When you have this data, you can look at services, and is everyone getting served equitable, not just reacting-to-demand-services. Services relationship to community important.

    Key services: total cost of doing it per capita; and what part of that is staff. Scalability important.

  5. Be on the lookout for…

    Diversification; sign that interest in a service is waning (every service has a life cycle) —  VHS/Audiobooks on Cassette options: change with mercy, honor system or tell people who have used these materials in the past, you are welcome to what you want, and we’ll get rid of the rest); cost/demand disparities; outliers and exceptions (change with mercy: don’t make everything an exception but meet these people where they are at, if possible, not just keeping services where they are at because of the exceptions); omissions; surprises.

  6. Gather brief, compelling stories about the impact of library services

    Critical pieces: person, problem, library intervention, happy ending.
    Story: Caden was a bright 6 year old boy. Caden had a stutter and was having trouble in school. Caden’s Mom took him to the library, and he saw a library program where children were reading to service dogs. Caden began reading to Toby, and eventually overcame his stutter. Caden’s Mom called last week, and he’s doing much better in school!

    Focus on these six: Start with the people; Reach consensus on what role your library should play in your community; Get acquainted with library services; Understand how library resources are allocated; Look for certain things; Gather brief, compelling stories about the impact of library services

joan@jfwilliams.com — continue the conversation!

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Retooling for the Rise of Local: From Collections to Connections

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Garry Golden

Resources will be here

Library: Place, Community, Learning

How are we framing the nuanced challenges of improving local life conditions for literacy? (e.g. role of food; insights from brain science)

The USAF is exploring the development of a Social Radar dashboard… to aggregate sensor and sentiment data in order to forecast what’s coming.

What is unique about your local community? What dynamics might be missing to reach its full potential? What are gaps that exist?

  • Leavenworth: Prison city; 6 jails in 5-mile radius; huge socio-economic gap.
  • Johnson County: wealth; well-educated; poverty is increasing (but county doesn’t try to admit that)
  • Basehor: growing community; median age is 40-something; existing community groups falling apart from older generations; 40-something isn’t interested in the existing structure. How to reach those people? Civic organizations having trouble transition between generations
  • Hiawatha: school districts are struggling — cutting programs. After school programs.
  • Linwood: small, isolated community that’s really not isolated. Similar issues as Basehor.
  • Papillion, NE: gap of leadership; growth
  • Bonner Springs: drawing from the all the area towns, lots of different populations are using the library. How to bring that all together?
  • Olathe: county-seat; diverse population; 40-50 language groups; boosterism is strong; kind of conversation
  • Atchison: high poverty — use computers, check out DVDs; affluent, parents bring their kids in, but won’t come for adult programming; friends group much much older. Hard time to get Friends group going

Many areas, it’s hard to keep people local. People leave to do things elsewhere in larger communities.

Library as Third Place

Retooling –> Perception Gap

Poverty is growing in suburbs; many reasons why. Perception gap of the conditions.

Lots of different angles on local.

Why does retooling local communities matter? Capturing the Local Economic Premium

Louisville, KY

  • Local recirculation of revenue at National Chains retailers: 13.6%
  • Local recirculation of revenue at Independents retailers: 55.2%

Milwaukee, WI — 3.24* more. 

Understanding communities & institutions at crossroads: Knight Soul of the Community project

Building Connections: Social graphs — the pattern of social relationships between people (direct/indirect/social link/person)

Emergence of ‘Citizen’ Tools — Project Noah

Does the library promote this? Add it to the collection

What kinds of citizen tools can you create? Marine Debris Tracker

Civicware: Engagement & Data-driven insights –

These are applications that are being built in communities that inform individuals that inform citizens about civic participation throughout their communities.

Role of Reference: Libraries and Local Dashboard — what’s getting better/worse — color coded

  • The way we move: traffic and roads
  • The way we live
  • The way we green
  • The way we Grow
  • The way we prosper
  • The way we finance

Does the information exist? What institution would be responsible for pulling it all together? The library? Trusted institution. Closing perception gap; showing interconnectedness.

How might dashboards empower entrepreneurs, citizens and/or policy-makers?

Even if you can’t do data dashboard, go to other sources to get data understanding of your community.

Measure of America

The Collaborative economy Coalition

Anticipating Pull & Push Factors of Economic Localization: The New Innovation Battlegrounds are city hill and the state house

Is the library a place that should promote the local economy? Libraries play an active role in building community awareness on key indicators driving quality of life and the economy and/or libraries actively support collaborative economy activities.

Technology creates the capabilities that create the social change. Tech is enabler of social change.

The Geo-Web: Location-based Services

Helping people find books?

Community experiences & transformation of place: guest lecture tonight; on my way to the library then home; starting a local reading group; join me, photographing city; play date at playground.

Creating reference services based off of location?

How do we leverage place-based discovery and sharing?

  • place as storytelling (community as setting)
  • connecting places to programs
  • community members as ‘authors’ of place
  • place-based learning discovery

Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue

Strategy: Local Discovery-based Learning Experiences

OpenPath

LIbrary Layers: unique content…

Retooling Local Places:

Learning Art of Process & Relationships

  • Most uncomfortable = ex. Revitalization vs Gentrification
  • Most Inspired =
  • Biggest Opportunity =
  • Biggest Risk =
  • Advocacy, Programs, et al

What role do libraries play on the policy side? We provide resources to communities. If the self-interest of the community vs the company interests conflict, what do we do?

How big is local? Region? Neighborhood? Town. It’s geographical. Larger than a square block.

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Tapping Your Inner Futurist: Designing a 21st Century Roadmap for Libraries

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Garry Golden, Futurist

Resourceswww.garrygolden.com/NEKLS2014

PDFhttp://www.garrygolden.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/NE-KS-Library-GarryGolden-FINAL-PDF-.pdf

Futurists look at leading indicators (not politics or culture) but in states (California), places, technology, etc.

No one is stepping up yet to systematically educate the population about digital literacy (it should be libraries) — We’re talking about social data; health data (fit bits; eating); lifelong learning data. We like to complain about privacy, but we need to get up to speed on this.

Elevate Social Norms: Digital Identify Management

  • Owning Your Own Data (OYOD Policies) [like BYOD]
  • Expand use of tools (Ghostery; Account Killer]
  • Education and Advocacy for Opt-In [European Model] — establishes trust with people and also may allow for more enriching experience.

Micro-credentials — digital badging. Manufacturing Institute + Mozilla Badging

  • How do we rethink the role of libraries in certifications of lifelong learning?
  • We need to break down the skills that people know
  • Open Badges

Digital Me: Moving toward portfolios and reputation — not just resume. 

  • Teaching people who ask for help building a resume in a library, but then going beyond that
  • Resume –> Portfolio –> Online Presence (managing identify; your network; what you’ve shared/posted)
  • What stories are people telling the world through their online identity?

Word Gap

  • 30 million word gap between high and low income families on the words kids hear age 0-3.
  • Closing the Word Gap: Aligning Policy, Family Culture and Technology — libraries should own this.
  • Trust factors/creepy line
  • Your e-book is reading you WSJ

Will there be more or less change 2004-2014 vs 2014-2024? 

  • Most everyone in the room thinks there will be more change
  • Globalization; economy; middle class emergence around the world; Kansas needs to be delivering to the world
  • Internet of Things: Devices communicate amongst themselves — books speaking to each other
  • Openness of everything — citizen science; enlightened, scientific culture; more availability of tools
  • Cheaper computers
  • Health care and wellness — consumerization of health
  • Population pyramid shift — aging society
  • Education — skillset gaps; lifelong learning shift
  • Institutions are changing — collaboration all over the place
  • Less driving — Millennials especially; self-driving cars — shifting makeup of rural areas and cities.
  • Food world — local food movement
  • Natural resource constraints
  • Language & Culture — Uniform language
  • Gaps are also accelerated

So much will not change

  • Books not going away
  • Human creativity
  • Desire for facetime
  • Children & Storytime
  • Reading for Pleasure
  • Printed Books

People are more social and mobile than ever before — technology doesn’t dehumanize.

Libraries shifting from Access to Collections –> Outputs: Behavior Changed and Mastery of skills.

  • Digitization threatens collection to some extent
  • Challenge: are libraries in the business behavior change, culture shaping? Debate over this.

Future Studies: Sociology (Foresight 101; Drivers of Change, Place & Lifelong, Bringing it home)

Libraries as intersection of place and lifelong learning — place-based experiences

Raise Expectations for Place-as-service: early childhood (libraries already there!); creative & active aging; 20-somethings, ‘emerging adulthood’

  • Creative aging environments — strategies: libraries & arts experiences; library teams + teaching artists; social experiences; full body — whole person; library collections: creativity focus
  • Why Teaching Art in the Library Works 
  • The way we engage an aging population is going to improve (libraries already do programming), but we will do more
  • Engage — Tim Carpenter — Thrive as we age 
  • Brain Fitness Trends
  • New partners: teaching artists;
  • Products & Collections: Lumosity; Brain Science Podcast; Brain Packpacks
  • Products & Training Pathways: Wearables — Fitbits & Melons – people will be asking for help on these devices. Libraries providing access.

20-somethings ‘emerging adulthood’ 

  • Millennials Engaged in Civic Conversations
  • TNT Basehor Community Library
  • Alt+Library
  • Escape the Room [not library, but cool] — must solve puzzles to get out of the room.
  • How can libraries change their programming to meet this group where they’re at?
  • Families, as well

Places to hold niche collections: art, audio, comedy, objects, time capsules, Tumblr blogs

Libraries & the future of lifelong learning

  • Era of Apprenticeship –> disruptions of books & industrial work cycle –> Era of Institution [school especially] –> disruptions of web & knowledge economy –> Era of Learner (not teachers responsibility; but learners)
  • Era of the Learner can be supported by schools. Learner is the 15-year-old; the 70-year-old
  • MOOCs: Udemy; Coursera; Edx; Udacity; University Now
  • Who could lead this effort? The library

Libraries build the local learning communities who build the MOOC

  • Summer Reading
  • Parents & Families
  • Workforce Training
  • Internal Training
  • 21st Century Skills

Everyone has something to teach someone else. Problem to solve: Lack of learning communities. Build the base of community instructors. SkillShare

Coursmos – micro-content based. Not just theme and topic organization, but also how long it takes to finish something.

Culture Lag: Anonymous Web (portal for info) –> Social Web (social environment) –> Learning Environment

Are libraries in the business of information delivery? Connections? Behavior change? Getting better at things?

Lifelong Learning & The Personal Data Revolution.

Data is not end game. Data –> Knowledge –> Wisdom.

Connected Data = Insights & Wisdom

Experience API

Learning Graphs –> Learning Record Store –> Activity Streams –> Library delivers Adaptive Learning Experiences)

Learning Activity Streams — “I did this”

This allows library to create a greater experience for their users.

Library Experiences based on a learning map

Connected Experiences from Learning Graph — Map of My Ignorance: History of Jazz (Basic Level; In Progress; Expert Level)

“Every day I make an effort to move toward what I don’t understand.” –Yo-Yo Ma

Three times of people

  1. I want to become a Futurist — socializing ideas; signals team
  2. I want to encourage others (interesting) — intrapreneurial culture; lower barriers to pilots & partnerships; fail fare; risk-taking
  3. I am not convinced by this snake oil salesman — show how futurist scenarios can be wrong; challenge these assumption; rally existing partners & stakeholders to return to golden era of libraries
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#CILDC wrapup and index of notes

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I had a very good time at the 2014 Computers in Libraries conference, learned a lot, and had a lot of great conversations with colleagues. I blogged throughout the conference, and thought an aggregate index of links to each of my session notes would be very helpful.

Others blogged throughout the conferences — lists of those people can be found:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Next year’s conference (the 30th one!) is March 23-25, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

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Stop Being Generic: On Demand & On Target

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Julian Aiken, Access Services Librarian, Yale Law Library

Becoming more like Amazon Prime/Netflix (but for free)

On-Demand services: Scanning, Collecting, Delivering.

  1. Scan on demand: way to get print into users’ hands, not just digital; print collections opened up; remote access to local print collection; ready access to print holdings would be very valuable to off-site students and staff. Illiad used to manage this. Getting word out not difficult — 1,000 students. Electronic signage, orientation sessions, emails. Feedback was tremendously positive. Unsolicited feedback. People loved it.
  2. Deliver on demand: accessing other libraries’ collection isn’t always straightforward. No other academic libraries were doing delivery on demand, except for remote online students or homebound. Illiad used to manage this in ILL dept. Shipping costs only additional cost. Direct existing staff into a better service for the students.
  3. Collect on demand: Kind of patron-driven acquisitions. Patrons don’t directly request purchase; instead, patrons analyze requests made through ILL, and decide whether or not to purchase. Trends through ILL and off-site requests. No precise formula, repeat requests are good indicator of interest in a title. Faculty member ILL requests are handled immediately; 90 percent of faculty ILL requests are purchased, instead of ILLed. Developed without any extra funding; redone budgets to meet patron needs. Careful analysis and dynamic response to patron requests make the library more proactive to patron needs.
  4. “Many thanks! You are super responsive, often thinking of student needs before we even anticipate them.” –unsolicited student response

I left this session earlier to take care of some work business. 

 

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