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The three questions, Or, why reflection is worth your time

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The services public libraries have offered to their patrons have changed dramatically over the last several decades. However, oftentimes their internal processes have remained largely the same. This …

The services public libraries have offered to their patrons have changed dramatically over the last several decades. However, oftentimes their internal processes have remained largely the same. This presentation argues that libraries need to reflect on their internal processes just as much as their public services in order to be nimble enough to adapt to the many changes happening in the field.

This presentation was last given at the Douglas County Library (Oregon) staff in-service on October 5, 2012.

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  • 1. The three questions Or, why reflection is worth your time Presented by: Buzzy Nielsen Library Director This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons 3.0 AttributionOctober 5, 2012 United States license. http://www.creativecommons.org
  • 2. your public What do you want V Vyour libraries to be? their
  • 3. What libraries should be doing Blah Tablets Digital collections Blah E-books Information literacy Graphic novels Blah Job training Daycare storytimes Mobile services Blah Blah Gaming Blah Early literacy Electronic resources
  • 4. stWere 21 century libraries. Were supposed to be doing awesome things ...
  • 5. But with what, exactly?
  • 6. Rough times Douglas County Library System revenues $3,000,000 $2,565,103 $2,500,000 $2,340,374 $2,243,545 $2,062,771 $2,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 $0 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Source: Oregon State Library, Oregon public library data
  • 7. Rough times Hood River County Library (District) revenues $897,663 $900,000 $844,447 $785,648 $785,877 $800,000 $700,000 $566,662 $600,000 $500,000 $400,000 $300,000 $200,000 $100,000 $0 $0 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13* Over 20% of the 2011-12 budget was grants and donations, and 12% of the 2012-13 budget is. *Budgeted amount
  • 8. When we were a County department Community Development Budget & Finance Justice Court Administration Health Department Human Resources Sheriff Public Works Emergency Management Forestry Elections Information Technology Parks & Buildings Community Justice Commission on Children & Families Veterans Services District Attorney
  • 9. The brunt of budget cuts Hood River 65 65 70 60 50 40 34 30 20 10 0 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12* Parkdale Cascade Locks 19 1920 20 14 14 1415 15 1110 10 5 5 0 0 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12* 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12*
  • 10. A slight addition:The “D” word
  • 11. Quick primer: library districts Municipal libraries: Part of a larger governmental entity (city, county, school, etc.)
  • 12. Quick primer: library districtsCounty service districts: Districts with dedicated tax funding that are governed by their counties Special districts: Districts with dedicated funding and independent governing boards
  • 13. With stable fundingcomes great responsibility Human resources Maintenance Finance Information Legal services technology Intergovernmental agreements Administration
  • 14. Were coming back Hood River 65 65 70 60 50 43 40 34 34 30 20 10 0 0 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12* Parkdale Cascade Locks 20 20 19 1920 17 20 17 14 14 1415 15 1110 10 5 5 0 0 0 0 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2008-09 2009-10 2012-13 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12* 2007-08 2009-10 2011-12* *2011-12 hours figured are averaged as hours increased in January.
  • 15. An apt moniker LIBRARY Image source: Book cover from The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  • 16. Funding is important, butthe most valuable resource youhave is you and your volunteers time and talents.
  • 17. You dont have to close to ask these Why do we do What services can and what we do? cant we provide, now and in the future? Who should be on our team? How can we utilize our limited resources to their maximum potential? What does the community want its libraries to look like in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?
  • 18. What services wedeliver is importantHow we deliver them is even more so.
  • 19. You dont have to close to ask these Why do we do What services can and what we do? cant we provide, now and in the future? Who should be on our team? How can we utilize our limited resources to their maximum potential? What does the community want its libraries to look like in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?
  • 20. I promise this isnt a pyramid scheme ... Buzzys 3 questions to ask on the road to awesomeness: 1. Why? 2. How? 3. Who?
  • 21. Why? Its the patrons, stupid! (with apologies to James Carville) Photo c2011 Brian W. Robb. Used with permission.
  • 22. But it goes a bit farther than that Channel your inner annoying kid. Ask “Why?” All the time. About everything.
  • 23. Are your internal processes worth the time you spend doing them?
  • 24. Some examples - the mundane Do we really need a written library card application? Why do we leave those lights on at night?
  • 25. Some examples - the philosophical Are we better off on our own or as part of a consortium? If so, which one? Are the fines we collect worth the time we use and patron frustration we cause?
  • 26. How? Self-service Shopping around Open source
  • 27. But some things are worth the money Subscription agents Accounting PC management
  • 28. Who?Book clubs Knitting groups Car clubs Master Gardeners Neighborhood associations PTAs Sports teams
  • 29. You are a library ambassador. Build relationships.
  • 30. And reach out
  • 31. (Shh, dont tell anyone! We didnt doany of these programs ourselves) Homeschooling in Oregon Weekly poetry Author talk: nights Ice age floods Sand mandala Wild Beauty: Columbia Gorge Photography Family game night
  • 32. Why? How? Who?
  • 33. LIBRARY
  • 34. Thank you View this presentation online: http://www.slideshare.net/hrcldThis presentation was made using open source software: Linux Mint LibreOffice Chromium GIMP Shutter EvergreenOperating system Impress Web browser Image editor Screenshot utility Integrated Presentation program library system