Persuasive Proposals for increasing electronic resources


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  • Don’t assume that your audience is aware of the relevant environmental data. Start with the basics: the number of students and faculty in a program or major, growth trends in the program or major, the degrees offered, any new courses or programs that would benefit from the resource or service you are requesting. Where do you find this information? Most universities publish a Fact Book or similar statistical compilation each year that includes this information. Most universities also have an established process for approving new programs and courses. Monitor the process on your campus, or better yet, actively involve the library in the approval process.
  • Take advantage of whatever surveys your library already conducts, whether it is about the library website, instruction, or other services. If your library is not currently conducting many surveys, you might want to investigate SurveyMonkey. A year’s subscription to SurveyMonkey costs just $200. Surveys with 10 or fewer questions that are sent to no more than 100 people are free. SurveyMonkey has made it easy to get quick feedback about database trials, satisfaction with specific resources or services, and the perceived demand for new resources and services. Just watch out for survey fatigue!
  • More than 500 libraries have participated in LibQual. Some do it every year. The results can help you benchmark your library and identify areas for improvement. You may be able to use the results to show the need for more online databases, tools to make searching easier or more seamless, staff training, or improvements to the library facility. Be creative in tying the survey results to your proposal.
  • For example, I successfully argued that a subscription to Reference USA (a yellow-page type database with sophisticated search features) supported our university’s plan to support economic development in the region.
  • If you’re requesting additional funds for an area that some might consider well-supported already, you might need to change tactics. As Business Librarian, I’ve been able to get additional databases by stressing the heavy use business students make of the library’s electronic databases. There is one very expensive database that I’ve wanted for years and haven’t been able to get. Reminding administration that we still don’t have that wonderful resource (but that this new one would sure help make up for it) has actually worked…several times. And, of course, more than ever, you will have to stress the need for this resource – whether it is to support specific assignments, distance learning needs, a faculty member’s research requirements, or to fill a gap in your coverage.
  • Persuasive Proposals for increasing electronic resources

    1. 1. Persuasive Proposals for Increasing Your Electronic Resources and Services Virginia Cairns Jan Lewis ERIL conference Feb. 23, 2007
    2. 2. Always Over Prepare! <ul><li>Collect more data than you need. </li></ul><ul><li>Anticipate counter-arguments (and be aware of previous attempts to persuade your administrator!) </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare as if you are defending the very existence of your entire library program. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: data you collect may be re-usable in other situations or for other proposals! </li></ul>
    3. 3. Environmental Data <ul><li>Start with campus data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of students and faculty in the program or major </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth trends in the program / major </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Degrees offered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New courses or programs that you are targeting </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Use Existing Surveys <ul><li>Student surveys that include questions about library resources & services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>At ECU, the annual Sophomore and Senior surveys include questions about library hours, access to databases & collections, training to use the library, and overall services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Library-specific surveys </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SurveyMonkey makes it easy </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. LibQual Survey Data <ul><li>LibQual includes questions for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use to address adequacy of collections </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affect of service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Staff training / level of staff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library as place </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Facilities, furniture, group & individual study </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Website organization and content, federated search, e-journal linking, remote access, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. E-Journal Usage Data <ul><li>Open URL Resolver statistics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some useful breakdowns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not without problems! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report formats and options vary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>by title </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>by database </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>By content provider </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. E-Journal Usage Data (2) <ul><li>Scholarly Stats </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More detailed data (ostensibly) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also problematic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>None of these are perfect </li></ul><ul><li>All require time to analyze </li></ul><ul><li>Hunt for the “killer statistic” </li></ul>
    8. 8. Interlibrary Loan Data <ul><li>Identifies discipline-specific “holes” in your collection. </li></ul><ul><li>Identifies individual, known titles that users need. </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright issues can work to your advantage as a compelling reason to work towards adding a resource. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Website Usage Data <ul><li>Subject pages with heaviest click through </li></ul><ul><li>Hit rate on individual databases </li></ul><ul><li>User input from “Contact Us” or “Make a Suggestion” website forms. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Strategic Planning <ul><li>Does the proposed resource support the University or Library Strategic Plan? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Here’s a time when the broad language used in strategic plans can work to your benefit. </li></ul></ul>Resource Library University
    11. 11. Budget information <ul><li>Use budget information to strengthen your case </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Show that current funding doesn’t reflect the growth of the department, or the needs of new faculty, new courses, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If possible, identify a pot of money for the new resource. Be aware of endowments, special funds, etc., in addition to the main budget allocations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If permitted at your institution, explore ways to split costs with an academic department or other user group. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Budget numbers don’t help? <ul><li>Argue that numbers don’t tell the whole story. Maybe these factors apply: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students in the discipline are heavy users of the library, disproportionate to their numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific course assignments require use of the proposed resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It supports distance learning programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The resource fills a niche or gap </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. And think of what will affect individual decision makers! <ul><ul><li>Others in your peer group or geographic region offer the resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchase of the resource means you can create space savings by withdrawing or moving large serial runs to off-site storage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to cancel print eliminates staff time used for check-in and binding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anything else that is “hot” on your campus at the moment </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Collect soft data, too! <ul><li>Solicit input from new faculty (what resources did they have at their previous institution?) </li></ul><ul><li>ID your hard core researchers on campus and solicit their backing. (Hint: they often have money, too!) </li></ul>
    15. 15. Using your network <ul><li>Seek support from academic bodies on campus (graduate council, council of academic department heads, etc.) </li></ul>
    16. 16. Front Line Feedback <ul><li>Feedback from service desks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purchase suggestions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unanswerable reference questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unmet need for an assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Feedback from database trials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Front line reference librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instruction librarians (demo in class?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Target teaching faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users on the campus at large </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Quotes <ul><li>Key figures on campus can help! </li></ul><ul><li>Compelling words from outside the library. </li></ul><ul><li>A prominent “sound bite” quote can help sell your idea. </li></ul>
    18. 18. Formatting Tips: Visual <ul><li>Use the simplest visuals for maximum impact. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Formatting Tips: Final proposal <ul><li>Keep it as lean and focused as you can. </li></ul><ul><li>Thorough, but not overly wordy. </li></ul><ul><li>Use bullets and/or outlines. </li></ul><ul><li>A table of pros and cons can be useful. </li></ul><ul><li>Save your strongest and best words for your conclusion. </li></ul>
    20. 20. Final conclusions: <ul><li>Pick and choose from the tips and techniques described here. </li></ul><ul><li>Each proposal will call for a different mix of these variables. </li></ul><ul><li>The overall goal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A lean, focused appearance for the report, with content that is chock full of both hard and soft data. </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. A chance for input <ul><li>Experiences to share? </li></ul><ul><li>Problems you have encountered? </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback? </li></ul>
    22. 22. Thanks! <ul><li>Janice Lewis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virginia Cairns </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>