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OLA Super Conference 2019: Changing Stakeholder Perceptions About Library Value

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OLA Super Conference 2019: Changing Stakeholder Perceptions About Library Value

  1. 1. Changing Stakeholder Perceptions About Library Value Presented by Bill Irwin, PhD Assistant Professor, Huron University & Kimberly Silk, MLS Sr. Planning & Development Officer, Hamilton Public Library OLA Super Conference 2019
  2. 2. Today’s Presentation • Introductions • Your Current State of Practice • Metrics and the Monster We’ve Created • The Unintended Consequences of Evaluation • The Importance of Meaningful Metrics • The Critical Role of Stakeholder Engagement • Q & A
  3. 3. Introductions Evaluation in your workplace: the good, the bad and the ugly
  4. 4. Why Measure? • To inform the strategic plan • To see changes over time • To inform our practice • To demonstrate value – Quantitative à Financial – Qualitative à Social, Educational, Cultural
  5. 5. What Libraries Are Measuring Now The Usual Suspects • Circulation • Membership • Program Attendance These metrics are still required for reporting to municipal/state/institutional funders. New Measures • Economic Impact – Value per Open Hour – Value per Cardholder – Value per Citizen • Social Impact – Student Experience – Job Skills – Early Childhood Literacy – Civic Engagement – Digital Learning – Economic Development – Lifelong Learning – Summer Reading
  6. 6. The Monster We Created • We deliver “traditional” metrics to stakeholders: – Membership, Circulation, Program Attendance • These metrics lack context (chasing the metrics) • These metrics do not reflect the evolution of library success
  7. 7. ROI is Not the Whole Story • ROI studies only look at proxies of economic value • Not all proxies are appropriate for all communities • Yes, we punch above our weight: So What? • Social Impact is our real value, and where we need to put our efforts
  8. 8. Unintended Consequences • Working to the indicators – When the metrics become more important than the service • Gaming • Stakeholders and policy makers make decisions based on metrics, not service realities
  9. 9. Identifying Meaningful Metrics • The metrics your library chooses is dependent upon the conditions in your community: – Homelessness – Unemployment – Indigenous Communities – New citizens – Seniors – Young Families • Keep it simple, start slowly; don’t take on too much
  10. 10. Engaging Stakeholders • Include stakeholders at every level of the organization: – Staff; Directors; Sr. Administrators; Community • Engage your stakeholders as the library moves towards meaningful metrics – Data informs everyone’s practice, not just those at the top • Understand stakeholder motivations and what they value • Change is hard -- take it slowly • Patience
  11. 11. Q & A Your turn:
  12. 12. Thank you for Listening Bill Irwin - birwin6@uwo.ca Kimberly Silk – ksilk@hpl.ca

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