Out with the Old, In with the New (KLC Closing Keynote)

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Awful Library Books @awfullibbooks

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Holly Hiber and Mary Kelly, authors of Making a collection count : a holistic approach to library collection management

People come to libraries to get the materials that meet their needs. We need to have the right info for them, that is correct.

Gotta care about your library.

Bad information on library shelves doesn’t help anyone.

Are you proud of your library? Are you defensive? Best we can do with limited funds & space.

There are still things you can do…even just a little bit. You can do it with no excuses, no defensiveness, even if you’re the only one who starts changing.

Everything is connected. Holistic library service. Everything is connected. If there’s a breakdown in the system, you break the whole chain. If the computers go down, it’s the apocalypse.

Think of the library as a whole. What you do, affects the bigger picture and the public. Everything library does is for the good of the patron.

Collection Management Life Cycle. Development = growth. Management = cycle. Every piece of this, you have to manage each step of the cycle.

  • Select
  • Acquisitions
  • Processing & Cataloging
  • Shelving
  • Checkout (Use)
  • Re-Shelving
  • Repair & Maintenance
  • Weed or Replace

What’s good? Put into context, individual local flavor (remove local history collection, for example, when analyzing age of collection). Standard levels in Michigan with some details, similar to the Public Library standards in Kansas.

Excellent

  • 20% collection < 6 years old, Weeds 4%/yr
  • Provides braodband at least 1.5 MB
  • ILS support z39.50

Enhanced

  • 20% collection < 6 years old
  • Has an ILS
  • Provides wifi for public use

Essential

  • 15% of collection < 6 years old
  • Offers renewal service
  • At least one computer for local use

“A good library is like a good haircut. It’s not what you cut — it’s what you leave.” What you’re presenting to your public. Horrible books that are highlighted by Awful Library Books may highlight bigger problems.

“The way the library presents itself, matters.”

Dirty shelving. Signage (not friendly; can be a barrier to collection access; irrelevant — turn signage into positives). “Please share your thoughts on this book”. Non-welcoming signage.

Computer use policy in 10-pt policy. No gum. Trend of one.

No coupons printing — if everyone is asking for it, maybe make a way for it to happen.

Confusing library signage. If you don’t want people to use something, move it.

Crammed-full shelves. Patrons are over-whelmed. Choose the best, of the best. Make more space. Pull out the recently returned on a cart, people go through this first. Make a display. Lengthen checkout time. No checkout limit.

Full library offices very near to the office, including server equipment. Affecting co-workers — space could be used so much better.

Everyone can have a clean space, and maintain what you have. Well-lit. Open aisles, no extra signage. Face-front displays. You can do the best you can do with what you have.

Don’t make excuses, make changes! – Tony Gaskins

“But we’ve always done it that way…”

  • 8-track tapes
  • vinyl records
  • player-piano scrolls
  • are these meant to be part of your collection?
  • Special collections can be important & cool
    • tool sharing (Gross Pointe PL)
    • vintage youth collection, put by the adult collection (Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, etc.)
    • Display of stuff you brag about that you read, but you never did

“But the public/board doesn’t ‘get’ it”

  • Horrible weeding practices — no communication with the public. (Urbana PL (Ill.), Fairfax Library (Va.)) Talk about it.
  • Go slow with weeding — 15 mins a day. You will never be done weeding. It should be just as constant as selection.
  • Keep awful library books behind the desk to show public/board why you weed.
  • Terminology — selecting for the book sale vs. “getting rid of old stuff”
  • You are partners with the community, don’t rip off the band-aid — go slow.
  • Sticky notes vs. receipts — do you know how much money this saves? Time? Money & Efficiency speeches. But also work with people….
  • Some of this gets at the public doesn’t know what libraries do…but when libraries show the public know what the library can do, people start to get it. Not just about the collection.

But we don’t have time

  • You can do all sorts of things, instead of saying, you don’t have time.
  • Make time and priorities.
  • Directors/managers/supervisors set example and help staff prioritize time — staff ask for help prioritizing tasks
  • If you keep up with weeding, it won’t take much time, maintaining weeding (15 min. a week); won’t wreck your life with a project.
  • You’re never going to be done weeding or buying for the collection.
  • Get help from other people — ask for help. Have others pull the stuff from a report. Break down the list. Make it small.

“But it’s historical”

  • Example: Why President Nixon should be impeached (ACLU) — academic library yes might need this kept, but public & school libraries? Do they need this kind of book?
  • Is a historical book more important than something else?

But someone might need it

  • Crafting books — Pinterest
  • Is the information available somewhere else? If they need it, where can they get it from?
  • Libraries don’t collect things (books), we collect information and can get it in a variety of ways.

But we won’t have anything left

  • Are you actually buying what people need?
  • It’s worse to have a bunch of awfulness, than to have nothing physical on your shelves and in electronic form
  • Do a needs analysis — figure out what you can offer differently; what services can you offer? Market those.
  • Book Express — holds branding

But it’s in good shape

  • Information still valid?
  • Information till current?
  • Function — not in the right place?
  • What don’t you see anymore because it’s been there forever?

Weeding personalities

  • Hoarder — sentimental feelings about books/things.
  • Randomizer — weeds too casually, recklessly (Urbana PL); don’t think of bigger picture/workflow
  • Professor — CREW method to the letter; won’t make change without data
  • Snob — people must have seminal works of certain authors; don’t understand nontraditional library service.

Ideally, we’re a combo of all of these personalities, but in reality, we lean heavily on some of these.

When you’re weeding, and you’re wishy-washy about one title, that’s okay. But if you’re wishy-washy about everything, it’s a problem.

Library quality starts with me. Somebody has to be the one to start the change. Stop making excuses and do something. I have an idea and it can solve 3 problems. Managers, do a task yourself, and not above doing these things, model it, and people will notice and get on board.

Nothing we say, applies to everyone. You must know your community, its needs, who you’re library serves.

Don’t be sentimental. Visit similar libraries, as a patron, and see what you see. Compare yourself to them. How do you feel as a patron in your place vs. their place?

Where to sent weeded books?

HW Children Database — good list, but if some titles don’t work for you library, weed them.

What to do with series if not all being read? Keep all or first part of series to get people hooked, and ILL the rest, if available. Same with magazines & back issues.

Collections need a goal, a purpose, and will help make benchmarks. Who do you have access to for other materials?

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Getting CLASSy with Lifelong Learning

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Morgan Davis, Salina Public Library, Community Learning Coordinator
Outreach Department. Has a background in PR and communication. Job is a great way to be infused in the community.

Library’s mission statement: “Connecting people to information, learning, and culture.”

CLASS: Community Learning and Skill Sharing

Each semester CLASS has 50-60 classes. Instructor are community members who have been found to teach the classes.

People who come to classes, never stop learning.

What is CLASS? A program of non-credit classes offered by community members at a low-cost and with low-commitment. Chose not to offer certification or for-credit courses, so the library doesn’t compete with other community organizations.

1.5 hrs 1 time, up to 6 week-classes. Most expensive class is a beginning Spanish class, for $89, 20 hours over five weeks, includes a textbook.

“programs” library programs are typically free to attend and may serve a specific purpose or present a specific point-of-view

“classes” lifelong learning classes require a course fee and are broadly educational in nature, and make sure there’s a value-added take-away from the class.

Are instructors paid? $15/class hour offered or volunteer time. This is built into the class fees. The library makes no money off this program.

From the beginning:
Grassroots: Learning for Life began with 6 people and a vision for community learning. 410 people in first semester. Learning for Life was a trademarked name, so it had to be change.

Non-profit status: In 2004, CLASS was granted non-profit status.

Move to the library: After CLASS reached out to the library board, they were allowed a trial run for the fall 2005 semester. Library director was one of the original creators of the program.

Today: our semesters average 700 enrollments and are almost entirely self-sustained.

Program website: www.salinapubliclibrary.org/class

Think through registration process, including simple approaches at the beginning.

Signup registration software. Switching to CourseStorm for credit card processing. Can add cash & check registrations on the back end.

Close registration a week before the class. Have a course-enrollment minimum set, and if that minimum isn’t met, cancel the class and let registrants know.

LERN is the bomb! http:www.lern.org International learning organization that the library belongs to.

Community support is critical for this program. If the community isn’t willing to invest time, money, interest, buy-in and more, the program won’t succeed. Financial support is only a small part of what makes CLASS successful.

Positive word of mouth keeps CLASS going. Friends sign people up for gifts, surprises. Invest in the people.

Have a liberal refund policy for people. Registration refundable if a participant cancels a week before.

How can you afford to offer classes?

How to price course:
Course fee involves: instructor fee, staff time, room use fee, materials, library supplies, (monetary value — will this class be worth the fee set). Divide the total cost to run the class divided by the course minimum, to then determine the course cost.

One course may have a surplus, but one may not. It all evens out in the end.

Program called Pass the Buck, for people to contribute toward a scholarship fund for people who can’t afford classes. Someone who asks for a scholarship will attend a class at half-cost.

Is there a dedicated space for classes? Community learning center has 2 classrooms, but also find spaces in the community to host the classes.

Offer classes in the best venue for the class. Community kitchen. Cabinetry company has kitchen as well. Schools. Churches. Main library building used. Some of these do charge for the space.

A week before the class, a reminder email sent, including map to the class location. If they don’t email, a phone call will be made.

Do people object to going outside of town for some classes? Every now and then, someone does say that, allow people to drive attendee out to the class location.

Sounds great, but who’s going to teach?
*Teachers will come to you (credentialed and passionate teachers)
*Students will come to you (“I want to learn x…” who can teach that?)

But if they don’t come to you, check these places for people and topics:
*Newspaper
*Facebook
*Community calendars
*Art center, museums, or libraries
*Schools
*Colleagues and friends

This helps you find topics and attendees and teachers, but it also helps you know which dates to avoid (especially the school calendar).

Teachers that receive negative reviews….ask the instructor how s/he thought the class went, let the instructor read the evaluations, and that opens the door for further conversation. People usually know, they’re good at self-evaluation.

Usually asking someone to teach, it’s a compliment to them, encouraging to them.

If library staff teach a class, it’s voluntary time, still have to go through the application process.

The numbers part
Statistics will differ with each library the type of information you need to track.

Good things to know in building your program:
*Attendance
*Income
*Expenses
*Marketing reach
*Types of payment being taken

Always get participant and instructor feedback via evaluations

Talk to people! If they have to pay for something, they won’t be afraid to let you know whether they thought it was worth their time and money.

Course catalogs mailed to people who have taken classes over the last 3 years. Also sent to three-targeted carrier routes. And left in common community spaces. — track where people hear about classes.

Targeted course catalogs cheaper than newsprint.

Staff attend beginning of first class, to make sure things go smoothly. LERN suggests leaving sticky note with “feel good” message for instructor.

Challenges: inter-departmental relationships. Library departments and communication. Have conversations with library staff often. Understand what other library departments do, their time, their challenges…that helps communications.

Future:
*CLASS 4 Kids! 10 classes targeted at kids + family classes
*New demographics
*Increased participant input
*Stronger online presence

If 50 percent classes go the first time on a new approach, that’s a good success rate. Try things twice, two different times of year, day, venue, etc.

@morgandavis2011

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Leadership for the Common Good: Lessons from the Kansas Leadership Center

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Kansas Leadership Center was set up by the Kansas Health Foundation, based in Wichita, KS.

Emporia State University is an official partner with the Kansas Leadership, and infusing parts of the KLC with the undergraduate and graduate courses, including SLIM.

KLC’s materials are not copyrighted, and free to use. Methods come out of Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Adaptive vs technical problems Dr. Andrew Smith

Adaptive vs. technical problems change in approaches and outcomes. Technical problems can be complex; critically important; resolved through application of authoritative expertise, and in organization’s current structures, procedures and ways of doing things.

Adaptive problems are bigger than technical issues. Only can be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits, and loyalties. Q: Why are we doing this? A: It’s always been this way. If you start changing things, that’s adaptive.

The practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz

Technical problems are clearly defined, have a clear solution, and the locus of work is authoritative. Doesn’t mean that it’s simple and easy to do and may very well be expensive.

Technical and adaptive problems are clearly defined, the solutions require learning, and the locus of work is authoritative and stakeholders.

Adaptive problems require learning to be defined, the solution requires learning, and the locus of work is the stakeholders.

If you start thinking about problems and solutions from this perspective, it’s very helpful when you are the one who is having to come up with a solution. Getting to the stage where you can figure out what type of problem it is, can better help you figure out how to best solve the problem.

Distinguishing leadership from authority

Leadership isn’t the same as authority. As we are learning leadership principles, these are things we can take, learn, and apply, without being the boss. That’s not the same as being the boss. Authority — one person in charge, can take a problem, determine it’s technical, and say here’s how to fix it. Adaptive problems, involves more people in the decision-making and solution process.

Leadership problem: not asking the people at the ground level how to fix something — they can know the solutions, but aren’t in authority positions to make changes; those problems aren’t treated as adaptive, but technical problems. The TV show Undercover Boss reveals this again and again.

You don’t have to be the person in charge to do adaptive leadership.

There may be more going on in a situation — we may need a lot more information than what is first presenting. Doctors ask a lot, am I fixing a symptom or the illness?

Adaptive: change something, not just solve a problem. Management may need to change approaches, processes, workers may need to change how a task is done, etc.

Seldom do you have all the information you need, you need to ask for more. More people may need to be asked. Who are the stakeholders? Paying, consuming, doing, paying from a distance. Asking the right people and enough people, not just diving in and solving the technical issue.

If it truly is a technical problem, has a clear, authoritative expert solution.

Adaptive, need to look further, and making changes, talk to more people.

Competing Values/Commitments, Dr. Gwen Alexander

Lisa Leahy and Robert Kegan, Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization

What’s keeping you from achieving your goals?

A hidden dynamic in the challenge of changes: competing values/commitments

The technical fix often works for awhile, but there may be underlying causes that need further changes and not just technical fix.

You may say, I want to make a change, but parts of you contradict that need to make a change.

We’re unable to make the change we want to make because we misdiagnose it as technical, and it’s really adaptive, and requires much more thought to solve the challenge.

Adaptive solutions change yourself — changing to the situation.

Competing values/commitments cause IMMUNITY to change.

How can you bring your competing values and commitments together so they work together, not barriers to change?

There can be other stakeholders involved and politics at play with competing values and commitments. A lot in the environment could be affecting the opportunity for change.

Exercise: Write down your goal. What are your behaviors that allow progress toward the goals and preventing achieving the goal? What are the hidden competing values and commitments? Defensiveness comes out, rationalizing our behavior. It’s easier to come up with a rational defense, than to come up with the steps to make it happen and suffer the consequences/repercussions.

You cannot use technical means to solve adaptive challenges. Technical issues: the skill sets necessary to perform those complicated behaviors are known. Adaptive issues require you to develop a more sophisticated approach.

If you have worries, you may have competing commitments that are preventing you from achieving your goals. Do you have competing commitments or do they have you? When you have competing commitments, you’re driving with one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the brake.

Observe your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and learn to use this information. Bring your new capacity for adaptive changes to other issues in your work and personal lives.

Care of Self, Dr. Robin Kurz

Competing priorities/commitments: We tend to put everything above ourselves.

As adaptive leaders, we must know our strengths, vulnerabilities, and triggers; know the stories others tell about us (self-image vs. reality); choose among competing values. Most of what we do isn’t immediately life-threatening/critical. Take a sick day when getting sick.

As adaptive leaders, we must get used to uncertainty and conflict (organizational – especially around change; internal; external); experiment beyond our comfort zones; take care of ourselves as individuals (and not put our expectations on others).

Sometimes we misinterpret a situation.

Too close to a situation, need help understanding other viewpoints, shift perspectives, adapt to a situation.

Conclusion

Leadership on Demand from the Kansas Leadership Center is a 10-week video series to help you make progress on an issue you care most about in your community or organization. For $50 you will have access to KLC online curriculum and a Leadership on Demand workbook. Watch the first video in the Leadership on Demand series free.

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The speech I would have given tonight

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I am accepting an Outstanding Recent Graduate award tonight from Emporia State University, for the School of Library and Information Management. All my paperwork for the event had stated that I was to be prepared to respond to the award in a 3-5 minute speech. Knowing this wasn’t going to be a librarian-centric crowd, I prepared a speech that preached libraries and librarians and how we’re transforming communities. Unfortunately, I just learned that that was a mistake and the outstanding recent graduate honorees no longer give remarks.

So other than genuine disappointment, what can I do? I have a blog, and while my site is pretty dormant these days and not far-reaching, I’m going to put it out on the web anyway.

To my chagrin, the tears friends predicted I would have while delivering this speech won’t happen now. That’s probably a good thing. Maybe no one else will appreciate these comments but it’s a love letter to librarians and it doesn’t deserve to sit only on printed paper or in Google Drive. Here’s the speech I would have given tonight:

Good evening. I want to first thank Emporia State and the School of Library and Information Management — SLIM as we call it — for this honor and recognition. I would not be standing here today, without the support and encouragement from my parents, family, friends, colleagues, and my patrons — the librarians of the Northeast Kansas Library System.

Eight years ago I entered the SLIM program, running away from my first loves of politics and public good and I stand here today, having come full circle, in my own way.

Let me start back at the beginning. I am the daughter and grand-daughter of school librarians. I was destined to become a librarian.

I came to SLIM, KNOWING I was going to be a law librarian.

I started SLIM’s foundational coursework, and along the way, technology and social media began transforming everything.

One Sunday morning in March 2007, my reference professor told us of careers in blended librarianship, blending librarian skills with technology. That evening, I applied for the Technology Support position at the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), and in April 2007, I began supporting the technology in over 30 small public libraries across Northeast Kansas.

Today at NEKLS, I manage a library software platform that connects the resources of over 40 public and school libraries in northeast Kansas. These libraries share over 1 million items with their communities. The open source software we use, Koha, is used by thousands of librarians around the world.

My career-path has been technology-focused, but technology isn’t what fascinates me about libraries.

I now believe, that librarianship, especially in public libraries, is steeped in public good.

Libraries are one of the few democratic places (little d democratic, before anyone misinterprets that) available in almost all communities.

What do I mean by that? Libraries are one of the few places where everyone is welcome and welcome to learn whatever you want, explore whatever you want, and…

Where it doesn’t matter how much money you make or
where you went to school or
how much schooling you had or
how old you are or
where you are from or
what you look like or
what you believe or
what you want to know more about or
what you want to be entertained by.

Librarians want to help you on your journey. We want to see you succeed.

Many of you may think of libraries as a place for books. And that’s fine — that’s our brand. But libraries are so much more. Yes, the Internet allows you to search for and access a lot of “stuff”, but Google will NEVER be as good as your local librarian. A company or platform can’t transform communities — people transform communities.

The librarians I work with, in small Kansas towns and across this country, are transforming their communities through
job searching support,
cooking classes,
tutoring,
Lego clubs,
co-working spaces,
business support,
civic discussions,
beer crafting opportunities,
summer reading, and
yes, even the escapist new movie release.

Libraries provide opportunities for learning, offering spaces for collaboration, discussions, and music and poetry performances.

And multimedia labs in some libraries are changing the possibilities, including a brand new sound recording studio in the beautifully renovated Lawrence Public Library.

Of course, libraries still offer spaces for reading. Have a digital device? Librarians can help you with those, too.

What makes all this possible? Your local librarian.

The library spaces and “stuff” and systems are important, but without the trained librarians, particularly in our schools, I would argue libraries WILL fade into the past. The librarians are the ones working with people, connecting them with the “stuff” that they need, that next great book, or even apply for a job.

I could stand up here all night, sharing many more examples of all the ways librarians are transforming their communities. But to end, I’d like you to consider this statement, from ProtectNYLibraries: Throughout our lives, we seek knowledge and information. Throughout our lives, we learn. Throughout our lives, we turn to our libraries to continue learning. How is your local library doing this? Are you supporting them? Thank you.

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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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