DBS seminar keynote: broken library communications and how to fix it.

I attended the 2nd DBS library annual seminar on Friday, 12 June 2015. There were lots of interesting speakers, but I’d just like to give a flavour of the keynote, given by Andy Priestner from Cambridge University – Broken library communications and how to fix it. As some of you will know, I have an interest in library value measurement, but also how we communicate this value.

As Andy says, we now have more opportunities to communicate with users. Go where our users are – where they are happy to be. Present on all channels – tweet, SlideShare, Pinterest etc., as different platforms reach different audiences, and it shows our expertise and relevance.
Communication style must be tailored to each platform, for example:
• Twitter – short, attention grabbing and conversational (A call to action can be as simple as asking readers to retweet)
• Facebook – offers more space – can be visual
• Blog – may be more discursive
• Email – use sparingly, one message with a maximum of 3-4 lines

All of these need engaging content, written in language suitable for your various audiences. Don’t overwhelm people by telling them everything – be concise. Attach eye-catching images where possible, as we process images much quicker than text. The internet culture tends to be more relaxed, so where you can and where it’s appropriate, use humour.

Be careful not to focus solely on detail of a product or service. The key message should be on the benefits that those who use it will achieve.

One thing we can all do is consider your communication strategy. If you work in a team you will need to include everyone in it’s development and implementation. Get everyone’s opinion and agreement on the types of messages you want to deliver.

I agree with Andy that many others don’t understand our value and the complexity of what we do. We need to keep pushing the message about our value.



Library value and impact because we’re worth it

We’ve presented this poster at various library events yet it is still relevant for those of you interested in value & impact. Don’t forget to let us know  if you’re doing anything in your library relating to value and impact.

New value articles

The most recent issue of the Emerald journal Performance Measurement and Metrics – 2015, 16(1) has an interesting article by Christine Urquhart – Value identification and value creation.

It marks the first of a three-part Viewpoints series to be published this year in PMM.
• Part one: discusses approaches to identifying value (or values) associated with an information service. It reviews some ideas and concepts that are taken from marketing science for evaluation of library science.
• Part two: will focus on impact and how impact can be related to costs and benefits of using information services
• Part three will discuss ideas about future value and how value or impact assessments may be used to guide and design service improvements.

Another interesting article is from the American Journal of Evaluation: by Liket et al (2014) Why aren’t evaluations working and what to do about it: a framework for negotiating meaningful evaluation in nonprofits, 35(2). They have developed a framework to guide the process.
Research gate or Sage

They also quote from the work of Robert D Behn who described eight main evaluation purposes that managers of public organizations might aim to achieve—control, budget, celebrate, motivate, promote, evaluate, learn, and improve
Public Health Management Report 2004, 1(11)

Value conferences

There is so much going on related to library value at the moment. It’s clearly on everyone’s agenda – a few examples:

The 11th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services will be hosted in Edinburgh, UK, between Monday 20th and Wednesday 22nd July 2015

The CILIP conference in Liverpool, 2 – 3 July, has dedicated a whole theme to demonstrating value. The programme can be found at http://cilipconference2015.org.uk/
(Early bird registration finishes on 24 April)

The recent joint LAI/CILIP conference in Belfast also had a number of speakers concerned with this issue. #ciliplai2015

A&SL conference

I recently attended the recent A&SL conference which I thoroughly enjoyed.  A number of presentations had a theme running through them (not only the theme of the conference but an underlying one) – ‘Value’.  Many of the librarians spoke of the great work that they are doing. For example, Elaine Bean an academic librarian spoke of her work in three 2nd level schools with transition year students. Monica Crump spoke of stepping outside traditional boundaries to apply for funding to do a piece of research (a librarian as researcher, what next!), and Aoife Lawton gave a very interesting presentation about the value and impact of collaborative initiatives in which she took part.

Whether done intentionally or not many of the librarians on the day were communicating about the value of libraries and, more specifically, librarians. Because as we know, “libraries create value by leveraging intangible assets in such a way as to add value and create benefits. They do not manage value. They manage processes and activities and they make decisions that might lead to production of value to the users of the library and to the parent organisation.” (Cram 1999)

For these presentations and more visit http://www.aslibraries.com/#!asl2015-presentations–videos/c1puf

Value and impact updates

Library value and impact continue to be a key topic of research and discussion. We have updated our ‘useful publications’ page with a few recent relevant articles, including:
• Ayre S, Barbrook J, Engel C, Lacey P, Phul A, Stevenson P and Toft S (2015) Measuring the impact of information skills training: a survey of health libraries in England, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 32(1), 50–60
• Perrier L, Farrell A, Ayala AP, Lightfoot D, Kenny T, Aaronson E, Allee N, Brighma T, Connor E, Constantinescu T, Muellenbach J, Brown Epstin HA, and Weiss A (2014) Effects of librarian-provided services in healthcare settings: a systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 21, 1118-1124,
• Poll R (2014) Bibliography ‘Impact and outcome of libraries, ULB Münster
• Raynor M and Craven J (2015) Looking beyond satisfaction: evaluating the value and impact of information skills training, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 32(1), 73-79

A number of UK conferences this year highlight issues of value and impact:

The 2015 i3 conference (Information, Interactions and Impact) takes place June 23-26, 2015 at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.

The 11th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services will be hosted in Edinburgh, UK, between Monday 20th and Wednesday 22nd July 2015, in partnership with the National Library of Scotland.

The CILIP conference 2015 takes place in Liverpool from 2 – 3 July 2015. One of the four themes is demonstrating value: what’s your impact.

We welcome any suggestions for useful publications or resources.