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Measuring the Value of Libraries continued…

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Alexandra Yarrow is a brilliant young librarian (& incredible athlete, too!). She posted a thoughtful post to her blog, Only Connect, yesterday: (Measuring) The Value of Libraries. I’m reposting my comments on her post below just because the whole issue of measures is coming to the fore : we need to deal with measures now — seriously — collectively — critically (not being critical, but thinking critically). What types of measures are meaningful in the digital environment? Read Alexandra’s post and then my musings:

“Well done! You go girl!

I have been fascinated by the issue of performance measures and “value” of libraries for many years. When I speak or teach about measures I warn ppl at the outset that there isn’t a ‘magic measure’ and it is hard, complex work, so if you want to leave now I won’t be offended. It is hard work to identify, gather, interpret, manage and communicate those few measures that are meaningful for decision-makers at the time. Libraries continue to struggle for a few reasons (IMHO):

1. libraries need different measures for different purposes: the measures needed for management purposes (what’s being used, how much is being used, by who, etc.) differ from the measures needed to convey value and impact. Yet many libraries (ok not ALL – don’t jump on me!) continue to communicate too many measures & too much detail, which just confuses people & messes up the message (“me thinks though dost protesteth too much” — is that the saying?)

Continue reading Measuring the Value of Libraries continued…

CIL2011 Day 1: Stories Not Statistics

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The only problem with Computers in Libraries is that I can only attend one session at a time. There were so many sessions I wanted to be at today, and those I did attend were exactly what I look for in conference sessions: interesting, idea-generating learning events.

What keeps conference organizers awake at night? The nightmare that a keynote speaker may not arrive on time to address several hundred attendees. Although this happened this morning, Jane, Tom Hogan and other Information Today organizers handled the situation gracefully quickly creating a panel with Roy Tennant, Stephen Abram, Marshall Breeding and Dick Kaiser who discussed the issue of e-books-publishers-lending-libraries. My takeaways from this session:

Although many in the library sector have been challenging Harper-Collins, the sector should focusing on Simon and Schuster who won’t license e-books to libraries at all Overdrive has been doing their best with e-books in the library environment Google’s agreement for every library to have “one Google terminal” for Google-digitized content does not include downloading or printing rights.

Madeline Barratt, Strategy & Performance Manager for Enfield Libraries in the UK spoke of London’s Libraries Consortium. Growing from 3 members to 15 in a couple of short years, the Consortium is yielding real benefits for all the boroughs. Madeline’s articulate, humourous delivery was engaging. My takeaways:

“Challenges grow like weeds” even for those who fiercely believe in public libraries, collaboration & consortia One challenge is to maintain a collaborative model as membership grows; they are developing their governance model

Continue reading CIL2011 Day 1: Stories Not Statistics