My “must” reading for the past 15 years has been Harvard Business Review. About 6 years ago I added Rotman from University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to the “must” list. To be honest, there’s nothing else on that list. Just these two journals. The articles are often based on solid research, usually incredibly interesting, and frequently force me to think differently. These journals target business and management leaders. Many of the influential stakeholders for libraries in the public, academic, government and profit sectors are business and management leaders. We need to know how they think. And we certainly need to think differently.
Joe Rotman, a highly successful, respected businessman and philanthropist died recently. Roger Martin, renowned management author and thinker, and the 1st dean of the Rotman School, wrote in the Spring 2015 Rotman issue of how Joe Rotman “rewired” Martin’s brain. Given that the library sector is essentially shifting below our feet, it behooves us to consider the 4 fronts on which Rotman changed Martin’s thinking and use these to change our own thinking:
Nothing is Not-doable
There’s 2 parts to this truism: first, that if you want to “do” it, then do it. In 1998 when Martin became dean of Rotman, that management school wasn’t even in the rankings or the radar with its competitors. Joe and Roger envisioned it in the top 5 – which most people thought was crazy – ‘not-doable’ for sure. Yet Joe taught Martin that anything is doable so long as
Continue reading Libraries: Rewiring our Thinking
Moe Hosseini-Ara and I are talking with the group at the Defining New Metrics for Library Success symposium at the iSchool on May 11th. Here are the slides, and the worksheets we’ll be using.
I’ll start out by talking about the frames through which many in the library community view measures – and how these are blocking our view of success: Framing & Defining Metrics for Libraries. We’ll have a look at what the Center for Investigative Reporting is doing regarding impact measures for non-profit media – and what we can learn from other sectors.
Moe and I will then lead the group through an exercise to: Determine & Demonstrate Value with the Logic Model. And here’s the worksheets: Exercise Worksheet – letter size
Scott Hargrove, CEO of Fraser Valley Library System, Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham and I will talk about 4 models and tools used by corporations and non-profits that libraries need to be using as well:
Sites & sources to track trends Gartner Group Model Service Portfolio Review, originally from the Boston Group, Logic Model
Have a look:
Business Models work for Libraries Too! from Rebecca Jones
Logic Models: A Novel approach to communicating library value This poster was developmed by: Alan Gale & Pam Jacobs; University of Guelph
The University of Guelph Library has adopted a “logic model” approach to describing and evaluating its services. Logic models are widely used in the broader public sector: much less so in academic libraries. This poster will discuss the development of models for the Information Resources area of the Library, including the performance measures used to evaluate the services. A prototype logic model will be presented. Logic models offer a practical, flexible approach to the evaluation of library services. The discussion process that underlies their development was a wonderful opportunity to jointly review and incorporate best practices into current library processes.
I had another “wth?” experience at a public library yesterday. (For those of you who know me well, you know that’d I am much more likely to have said “wtf?” but I’m being diplomatic with “what the heck?” here.) Here’s the situation: our daughter struggles with mental illness & addictions. She & I were room-hunting for her in an urban area where she can attend programming. We’d look at several places & then wanted to check out some other places, for which we needed the web — both for email & a bit of searching. I’d been using my Blackberry, but the screen is pretty darned small, so I was delighted to locate the public library, and even more delighted that it was open! I encourage her REGULARLY, to find public libraries for directions to social services & to access the web. When she was in Hamilton I encouraged her to use Hamilton Public Library. Hamilton Public Library is outstanding, and is to be commended, for their services for those struggling in our communities. So I assumed the urban library we were entering yesterday (NOT Hamilton Public Library) would be as wonderful for her to deal with as HPL had been. I was delighted that we’d be able to benefit from the public library in a city (not to be named) and that she’d now know where this particular branch was for future usage in this new city (not to be named).
However (yes, there’s a “however”) as we went
Continue reading Another “wth?” Library Policy
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…