Library Value in the Developing World

Elisabeth Leonard, MSLS, MBA
elisabeth.leonard@sagepub.com
Los Angeles | London | N...
Scholarship is changing: we are on the
journey together

Los Angeles | London | New Delhi
Singapore | Washington DC
Working together:
Library Value in the Developing World

Los Angeles | London | New Delhi
Singapore | Washington DC
Research Methodology

Los Angeles | London | New Delhi
Singapore | Washington DC
Key findings and considerations
● Librarians: Beginning to recognise the importance of evaluating their
value; beginning t...
Librarian perception of value
● 67% of librarians perceive their value for both faculty and university
management is measu...
Faculty perception of value
●
●
●
●

75% of faculty perceive value through resource collection accessibility
20% of facult...
Communication and marketing

‘faculty don’t take it upon
themselves to communicate what
they want from the library. We try...
Comparison

Los Angeles | London | New Delhi
Singapore | Washington DC
Conclusions

● E-mail: elisabeth.leonard@elisabethleonard.com
● The white paper
Los Angeles | London | New Delhi
http://ww...
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Charleston Conference 2013: Value of the developing nations' libraries

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  • First of all, it might be worth thinking about what we actually mean by ‘library value’. to help librarian’s assess it? In a nutshell, it is attempt to understand how, why, and to what degree people value their library. The habits of researchers and faculty in their reading and research are changing, and practices that made sense in the print environment must now be reconsidered and adapted. Researchers, libraries, universities and publishers are all partners in this change.  
  • Libraries are at the heart of what we do as scholarly publishers. At SAGE, we believe that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable. This vision drives our business and our actions. We are committed to supporting the scholarly communication chain and that includes being a collaborative partner with libraries. As many of you may be aware SAGE produced a white paper last year to investigate library value at casestudies universities from the UK, US and Scandinavia. The publication of this report sparked an internal discussion. We thought how fantastic it would be to further this study to explore findings from the developing world. I was eagerto explore how libraries work in developing countries and what the differences might be between the 2 regions and volunteered to conduct interviews with librarians. Additionally, SAGE wanted tobuild on our relationships and show our commitment to libraries in developing nations. To provide a comprehensive report we again enlisted the help of LISU (research centre at Loughborough University Library services), as well as INASP, an international development charity. International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications 
  • The research was based on 12 case studies conducted with universities from countries classified by the World Bank as low and middle income. We mailed an invitation for participation to just over 1400 librarians and received 75 registrations of interest from potential librarian participants. Case study volunteers were selected from this group based on geographical location and spread, stage of development of institution / country, and the size of institution.The 12 universities we selected came from a wide range of countries – Honduras, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, Senegal, Uganda, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe. The research was conducted using a mixture of quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. Through the surveys we received responses from 85 librarians and 297 faculty across the 12 case study universities.  Universidad NacionalAutonoma de Honduras; Indonesian Research Institute; University of Cape Coast, Ghana; National Scientific Library, Georgia; Maseno University, Kenya; Convenant University and ObafemiAwolowo University, Nigeria; University of the Philippines Visayas, Philippines; University of Thies, Senegal; Makerere University, Uganda; Institute of Intellectual Property of National University Kiev, Ukraine, and the University of Zimbabwe.
  • The findings from the research reported that developing-country librarians are beginning to recognize the importance of evaluating their value for research and teaching staff. Communicating the value of their role however, remains a key challenge. Librarians noted that whilst they receive positive feedback about the resource collections they provide, there is limited awareness of how librarians can better support research and teaching staff beyond these traditional activities. Increased engagement is needed between individual libraries and their faculty to help reinforce their changing role. The white paper included further considerations for librarians, but also University management, and Publishers. University management can help build awareness of the role of the library by investing in the professional development of librarians. Publishers could adapt marketing and online resources to enable greater access for those in developing countries.
  • There are few external drivers to demonstrate quality or value in the developing world libraries. This is unlike in the UK where National Student Survey scores are just one ways libraries are being evaluated.The majority of librarians surveyed perceive their value to be measured by both faculty and univ mgmt via the resource collection. They therefore measure the level of support and service they provide via collection usage statistics. However, 40% of those librarians surveyed also use other methods to evaluate their value using such techniques as testimonials and questionnaires.
  • A focus for our study was to get feedback from faculty.We received almost 300 responses from faculty in the developing world and we found that the majority of faculty assessed how they perceive their library based on the strength and accessibility of the libraries’ resource collection. BUT a fifth, 20%, of faculty do not usethe electronic resource collection. This could be because they rely on print collections or perhaps because they are not aware of all the content their library has access to.We found that 96% of faculty use the library building with 15% visiting every day – different from the UK, US and Scandinavia finding who reported that libraries are becoming more ‘like undergraduate study halls’. This emphasises how important the physical library building remains developing world. 39% visit the library website at least once a week which indicates the importance of the website a key communication and information resource. We also found that 35% of faculty said they weren’t aware of all the services offered by the library. This could be a result of services not being offered, or a lack of communication about service availability, or a combination of both.  
  • Asked about the biggest challenge to demonstrating library value and gaining support one librarian remarked: “faculty don’t take it upon themselves to communicate what they want from the library. We try to engage them, but they are not forthcoming.” The study highlighted areas of disconnect between the librarians and their faculty, most notably between what librarians see as important means of communication, and communication that faculty report as being effective. If faculty are to appreciate the value of resources, they need to know they exist to appreciate their scholarly value. The librarians surveyed recognize the need for investing in the marketing of the library, and several identified a number of activities that could help raise the profile of the library (such as publicity and outreach activities, or more user training). However the reality of constraints on human, material and financial resources mean that there are barriers to activating this. These findings were similar to those found in the developed world.
  • In summary our key findings are:That drivers for collecting the evidence of library value are primarily internal in the developing worldFew external drivers are reported from case study librariansLibraries in the developing world primarily measure their value through their resource collectionThe majority of libraries in the developing world do not offer a cohesive set of services or support beyond providing access to their resource collectionA level of investment in the library is needed to raise the visibility and awareness of what the library offerSo, how does the original report from developed nations compare with that from developing nations? Well, they are surprisingly similar! The developing world libraries appear to be a step behind – but its not a long step, according to the research. In the main, libraries in both the developed and developing world are facing the same issues and challenges. If we at SAGE have a commitment to our library partners we therefore need to embrace these challenges and undertake some positive steps.
  • So what does the future hold? An outcome from the project is a marketing case study where we are going to look more in depth at the marketing and communication aspect of the report. This case study will explore how publishers can contribute to libraries in the developing world beyond making content available. We need to assess how best to drive awareness and usage of electronic resources. The 12 participant librarians have all received access to SAGE resources, and will be divided into two groups providing an equal range of size, stage of development, and location. One group will receive additional marketing support from us; the other will not. From this we will measure the effectiveness of marketing channels to drive resource awareness and usage across a year. The results of this study will be available in the spring of 2014. Well, I thank you for your attention and participation. Does anyone have any questions?
  • Charleston Conference 2013: Value of the developing nations' libraries

    1. 1. Library Value in the Developing World Elisabeth Leonard, MSLS, MBA elisabeth.leonard@sagepub.com Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    2. 2. Scholarship is changing: we are on the journey together Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    3. 3. Working together: Library Value in the Developing World Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    4. 4. Research Methodology Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    5. 5. Key findings and considerations ● Librarians: Beginning to recognise the importance of evaluating their value; beginning to recognise need to reinvent their roles ● Faculty: Rate library value via the resource collection: limited awareness about additional services ● There is a disconnect between what the librarians perceive to be effective communication and what faculty remember Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    6. 6. Librarian perception of value ● 67% of librarians perceive their value for both faculty and university management is measured via the resource collection ‘The library’s value is connected with the library’s popularity in the eyes of faculty and students’ ‘(Our) evidence of value is measured by visit statistics to the library, visit statistics to the intranet, and eResource usage statistics’ ‘Through the value the library contributes to teaching and learning, we fulfil the mission of the university and the whole business of our university’ Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    7. 7. Faculty perception of value ● ● ● ● 75% of faculty perceive value through resource collection accessibility 20% of faculty do not use of are not aware of the electronic collection 96% of faculty use the library building 35% of faculty not aware of all the services offered by their library ‘The thing I would change about my library would be the seating arrangement and space’ ‘The best thing about my library is that I am able to access e-journals anywhere’ Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    8. 8. Communication and marketing ‘faculty don’t take it upon themselves to communicate what they want from the library. We try to engage them, but they are not forthcoming’ ‘The link connecting flow of information between me and the library is lacking. The library doesn’t even know I have an email address’ Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    9. 9. Comparison Los Angeles | London | New Delhi Singapore | Washington DC
    10. 10. Conclusions ● E-mail: elisabeth.leonard@elisabethleonard.com ● The white paper Los Angeles | London | New Delhi http://www.uk.sagepub.com/repository/binaries/pdf/LibValReportSingapore | Washington DC 2013.pdf

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