Strategic Priorities in Libraries: Focus on the Transformation

Source: Web 2.012 Virtual Conference, 4 October 2012

Stephen Abrams delivered a keynote lecture on the need for libraries to get back to strategic planning.  Some key take outs from the session:

  • Library services are not a noun, they are a verb – what are the verbs in your library?
  • Library users are a narrow demographic, therefore they do not connect with the majority of the community. There is a need to create the “social glue” to maintain the library in the community. Invest time in demographics and analysis.
  • Main threat is the perception that libraries are about books, and not integral to a knowledge-based economy.  It is essential that libraries “protect reading not the book”, and understand the threats to reading.
  • Libraries must have a strategy to improve learning in the community.  Libraries are good at statistics, but they need to measure impact.  The value of libraries is in the experience.
  • All collections should have a program attached.  Service needs to move to a higher level.  Prioritse programs not collections.
  • The focus must be on informing rather than managing.  The confusion of the end user must be reduced to build an experience, this needs lots of skills.  What differentiates a library experience from a transaction?  Is your library organised around questions and programs? People want transformation, not transactions.
  • The virtual user is different from the physical user.  Libraries need to understand both users. Currently there is a disconnect and a need to balance the physical and the virtual. The end user is the product (Google model).
  • What is learned virtually is a social act so use this opportunity to engage with learners. The relationship is with the end user.
  • Libraries are doing too many things, there are too many desks, too many books. Priortise. Libraries need to get better at promotion, marketing and engagement.
  • More library staff must be in relationship management roles, and look at issues that affect the social web, such as advocacy, running campaigns.
  • There are celebrity chefs, why are there few celebrity librarians?  Librarians’ self-effacing attitude is getting in the way. Need to make librarians locally and globally famous.
  • Reposition the library and librarian separately, engage critical thinking and market sex appeal.

View presentation

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