Speaker: Anthea Stratigos, Outsell
Library budgets on average are increasing at around 3%. The publishers are fighting over the same dollars, because this is not enough growth for the needs of their business. Librarians are asking them to demonstrate the value publishers are providing.
To demonstrate value, you need to have the right team, and each member needs to know and stick to their role.
Start by having a strategy. If you don’t have a strategic plan or mission, you don’t know where you’re going nor what you’ll need to get there. Strategies aren’t fixed in stone — they must adapt as institutions change.
Understand your target markets. Who are you serving? How do they intersect? Do they intersect? When you understand who you are serving, you can better plan those services.
Understand what users want. 78% of students surveyed use the physical library daily or weekly. 44% use the digital collection. Studies have also shown that students and professors are more tied to print than we think, particularly with textbooks. However, this may not be true for your market. You need to survey your own folks to determine what their interests are.
Benchmark — there’s always something better to aspire to.
Once you understand your markets, assesed their needs, and benchmarked, then it is time to establish your portfolio. You’ll know what to add, what to drop, what to ask for money for, and what to target to whom.
Then, it’s time to brand your experience. If the library as a quite place to study is most important to your students, do you advertise that?
Engage with your community in meaningful ways to market the things that matter to them.
Deliver wow. Surprise your users. Have actionable deliverables when users ask for research assistance, particularly at the executive level, and not just pages of search results.
Measure ROI and value. Make use of your business students and give them experience doing the research in this area. Usage statistics don’t measure value, they measure volume. Tie what is happening in the library to the institution’s goals — focus on those outcomes and what role you play in that.
Be sure to play and enjoy the results of your work.
Choose your future — will it be Dewey Readmore Books or 22 Jump Street? Will it be a mascot that defines your library culture, or will it be drug trade ring using the dusty books of the library archive as the transfer point? A great library doesn’t have to have the best/newest things, it just has to transparently provide what its community needs.