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Usng Springboard Stories to Advocate for and Promote Your Library

Gale Cengage Learning worked with the Michigan Library Association and Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc. to work up a storytelling strategy for libraries to enhance their advocacy strategies. Please take a look at these documents to see if you might find them useful.  They provide a simplified process that any library in any sector might find useful.  There are two documents, one for academic libraries and another for public libraries.

How to Tell the Story of  Your Library’s Impact

AN OUTCOMES-BASED APPROACH FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES

7 page PDF

http://cengagesites.com/sites/pdf/MLA%20ACADEMIC%20GUIDE.pdf

“In discussing, presenting, and possibly defending your library’s vision to your dean, provost or governing board, you have no doubt learned the value of a well-articulated strategic plan and, quite possibly, a dashboard of assorted performance metrics to use in reporting traffic, usage, and other outputs in sound bites to the people who matter.

To date, these ways and means have no doubt proved not only necessary but sufficient to get the funding, support and accolades your library deserves. But are they impacting those outside of your governing board? How is the community at large hearing about advances and innovation in your library?

Inspired by Stephen Denning’s book, The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in the Knowledge-Era Organization (Butterworth Heinemann, 2001) the Michigan Library Association joined forces with educational publisher Cengage Learning in June 2011 to develop and test a systematic method for academic libraries to use in gathering stories to demonstrate their true impact on their users, communities, and institutions.

Classic library “outputs” are usually defined in terms of collection dimensions, circulation data, and cost/benefit ratios, including ROI. The stories that you will find will enhance these traditional measures with real life anecdotes that show how the library is being used, and the impact it is having on users’ lives.

The “outcome-based” results that MLA and Cengage are advocating are about those success stories that are incredibly meaningful and provide justification for change, innovation, or funding, yet are difficult, if not impossible, to measure with data points. What happened after a patron’s library research was done? Were lives saved? Jobs offered? Award-winning efforts completed? Barriers broken? Paradigms shifted? What is it about your library that sums up to something greater than its parts? What speaks volumes without using a single statistic?

It is here that your story telling skills will pay off, at least if you subscribe to the premise of Stephen

Denning’s book: While at the World Bank in the mid-1990s Denning tells how he convinced a staid, conservative organization to expand its world view and start communicating at internet speed, not with a good chart, but with a great story.

Now, it’s your turn.”

How to Tell the Story of  Your Library’s Impact

AN OUTCOMES-BASED APPROACH FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES

9 page PDF

http://cengagesites.com/sites/pdf/MLA%20PUBLIC%20GUIDE.pdf

“In discussing, presenting, and possibly defending your library’s vision to taxpayers, local supporters, or governing authorities, you have no doubt learned the value of a well-articulated strategic plan and, quite possibly, a dashboard of assorted performance metrics to use in reporting traffic, usage, and other outputs to the people who matter.

Measuring Outcomes @ Your Library with the Help of Impactful Stories

While successful in raising demand, the majority of library campaigns have been aimed at promoting library services and driving library use, not increasing library funding. Funding the collective library mission is a growing problem and without proactive and large-scale action, we can see no economic, social or political factors or events that will reverse the trends in library funding.

From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America

A Report to the OCLC Membership

OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., 2008 Classic library “outputs” are usually defined in terms of collection dimensions, circulation data, and cost/benefit ratios, including ROI. The stories that you will find will enhance these traditional measures with real life anecdotes that show how the library is being used, and the impact it is having on users’ lives.

The “outcome-based” results that MLA and Cengage are advocating are about those success stories that are incredibly meaningful and provide justification for change or funding, yet are difficult, if not impossible, to measure with data points. What happened after a patron’s library research was done? Were lives saved? Jobs offered? Award-winning efforts completed? Barriers broken? Paradigms shifted? What speaks volumes without using a single lending statistic?

This brief guide will help you gather the powerful stories you need to convince your audience.”

Steve Denning: What is a springboard story?:

http://thinksmart.typepad.com/convergence_2005/files/springboard_stories.pdf (1 page PDF)

Check them out.

Stephen

 

Posted on: November 29, 2012, 7:03 am Category: Uncategorized