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33 priorities for engaged information & library services

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33 priorities for engaged information & library services

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Despite terrific advances in some quarters, libraries, librarians, and library services are under threat, seriously underestimated and largely misunderstood. From my position as head of a modern, highly engaged and successful information and library service, this presentation details what I personally consider to be key priorities for libraries everywhere, in order to ensure that they are focusing on the right things, appreciated, and - more importantly - very well used.

Despite terrific advances in some quarters, libraries, librarians, and library services are under threat, seriously underestimated and largely misunderstood. From my position as head of a modern, highly engaged and successful information and library service, this presentation details what I personally consider to be key priorities for libraries everywhere, in order to ensure that they are focusing on the right things, appreciated, and - more importantly - very well used.

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33 priorities for engaged information & library services

  1. 1. priorities for engaged forward-thinking information & library services Andy Priestner
  2. 2. Whatever we might think, 99% of people still think we just ‘Stamp, Shelve and Shhhh’ – we must seek to dispel traditional perceptions and expectations at every turn
  3. 3. We should be talking about the library as a boundary- less service rather than just as a physical space
  4. 4. However good a single act of apparently game- changing advocacy, the default view reasserts itself rapidly, so constant marketing is essential
  5. 5. We are living in ‘the age of the individual’ so we must respond with a highly tailored service
  6. 6. Our approaches to customer service must incorporate choice & flexibility, as they are now the expected norm
  7. 7. Users expect greater personal control, so where we can we must allow them to have that
  8. 8. Most users now expect to self-discover and will only ask for help when they are desperate – this is why we must be as visible and approachable as possible
  9. 9. We should be grabbing user attention with ‘wow’ images: ‘a picture tells a thousand words’
  10. 10. We can learn a lot from tabloid newspapers, in terms of content hooks and headlines
  11. 11. We need to be more realistic about attention spans and write more concisely than we are predisposed to
  12. 12. We need to get better at selling a few planets (relevant service components) rather than the whole galaxy (every possible service a user might need)
  13. 13. We should continue to develop true awareness of the real needs of our users rather than assuming that we know what they need
  14. 14. We should actively listen to our users at all times, providing as many opportunities as possible for feedback and discussion
  15. 15. We must target as much communication as we can to specific users/user groups and avoid generic emails
  16. 16. We should seek out and test new technology, developing a reputation as new media experts always in the know about ‘the next big thing’
  17. 17. We need to be present on each and every communication platform, as all the individual communities add up to our user base
  18. 18. We must offer seamless access to services wherever our users are and whatever device they’re on
  19. 19. Broadcasting does not lead to engagement but to users switching off – we must have conversations instead
  20. 20. We should regularly take statistics on everything, to offer proof of value and in readiness for factual defence of our services (the time WILL come)
  21. 21. We should constantly evaluate our activities, identify tasks that add no value and drop them
  22. 22. We should never be afraid to experiment - we must try new ideas, tools, and initiatives, even if we’re not initially sure of their relevance and value
  23. 23. As teaching preparation takes a long time, we should plan to repeat sessions, repurpose content and share it beyond the classroom
  24. 24. When we are teaching, we must tell stories in preference to delivering facts
  25. 25. We should promote end results and success, and avoid database names and library jargon
  26. 26. Our services should always be delivered at point of need, and at the user’s convenience not ours
  27. 27. • . Offering a responsive, agile service is key - it may create expectation, but it also creates engaged users
  28. 28. We need to ‘embrace the informal’ – if we dress too formally it promotes the impression of barriers and discourages interaction
  29. 29. Humour, fun and ‘cute’ start conversations that you wouldn’t otherwise have and also demonstrate our humanity, but we must keep the ratio in check
  30. 30. Our content should make an emotional connection with our users in order to foster learning, prompt them to think about us and engage with us more
  31. 31. We should always seek to innovate and improve our services, for the sake of our users and our reputation
  32. 32. We must seek to create ‘moments of truth’ when customers are delighted, ensuring their return (and ideally their advocacy)
  33. 33. We need to align our service with the goals and objectives of the institutions we work for and regularly demonstrate that we are aligned
  34. 34. Our number one priority should be spending time building relationships with our users

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