Communicating the Value of our Libraries • ALAP Forum & General Assembly, June 3, 2011 • Mila M. Ramos Member, Board for Librarians Library Consultant
Stakeholders want to see the return on investment or ROI. Overview • The current scenario and the challenge of Identifying the value of libraries • The Value of libraries in the Digital Age - some research studies • The need to communicate the value of libraries: measuring ROI • Marketing strategies: creating a better perception of your Library • Tools that may help in marketing the Library
The current scenario (sad but true)…. hurdles to be faced with urgency • Your library is no longer the sole information source in your locality/organization. • Yours may not even be the only library there because the Web offers access to many libraries. • E-resources on the Web alter the way current users access information.
The Challenge of identifying and communicating value • Librarians have more complex roles now • In the past, collecting usage statistics was enough, but these metrics do not show how the Library contributes to the overall mission of the organization
Other Challenges • The Library needs to be clearly positioned within the overall mission of the organization. • There is a need to justify a library’s existence; ROI need to be measured.
Some Internet Usage Data Updates/Posts : • Facebook status updates: 700 per second • Twitter tweets: 600 per second • Buzz posts: 55 per second And searches : • Google: 34,000 searches per second • Yahoo: 3,200 searches per second • Bing: 927 searches per second Source:By The Numbers: Twitter Vs. Facebook Vs. Google Buzz Feb 23, 2010 by Matt McGee http://searchengineland.com/by-the-numbers-twitter-vs- facebook-vs-google-buzz-36709
Libraries Matter in the Digital Age http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/inside-scoop/10-ways-libraries-matter-digital-age 1. Libraries offer the first opportunity toward literacy. 2. Libraries serve all types of people, the privileged and the underprivileged; people of all ages 3. Libraries provide and help people use the internet.
More Ways Libraries Matter in the Digital Age 4. … And libraries help people use the internet better. 5. Libraries are a gathering place. 6. Libraries are hubs for preserving the past. 7. Libraries offer the human touch.
Priceless Human Touch in Libraries One observation goes like this: “the interface between a librarian and the client is priceless. Patrons who seek help in selecting a good book could use online reviews, but nothing beats the ‘Try this one, I’ve read it and I think you’ll like it approach.”
The Value of Libraries has been the Subject for Research One example is SLA’s 2 year Alignment Project which aims to establish and communicate the core identity and value of the information profession and information professionals can be read at: http://www.sla.org/content/SLA/alignment/index.cfm
What is Alignment? • Focus and cohesion around who you are, what you do, and what you deliver • Communicating with clarity, credibility, and consistency about your value Source:http://www.sla.org/PDFs/alignment/SLA_presentation_ddV12.pdf
Why must we align? • Hiring officers do not fully understand the role and value of information professionals • Information science now spans a wider range of career paths beyond traditional librarians and information providers • Information professionals must align their value and contributions with the strategic goals of the organizations • Information professionals must change their professional communications and words to align with their audience or employers Source:http://www.sla.org/PDFs/alignment/SLA_presentation_ddV12.pdf
What can Alignment Achieve? •Reveal the identity and the value of the information professional •Clear, compelling communication of the role and value of information professionals • Stronger recognition of information professionals in the marketplace and among employers Source:http://www.sla.org/PDFs/alignment/SLA_presentation_ddV12.pdf
Key findings of the SLA study Value of the Information Professional • Make resources available in a timely, convenient, and secure manner - 50% • Create culture of continuous learning- 45% • Save time and money - 40% • Facilitate good decision making - 38% • Provide expert analysis - 36 %
The Springer/Outsell Study: Establishing Value and ROI Recently, to analyze how customers are justifying their purchases, Springer commissioned a report from research firm Outsell titled "Establishing Value and ROI: Investing in STM E-Journals and E-books. “ http://www.springer.com/librarians/solutions+for+industry?SGWID=1-40475-12-700104-0 Among information users, 3 value considerations stand out: 1. staying current 2. saving time 3. saving money
Value exposed by the Springer/Outsell Survey • The respondents reported: - A heavy reliance upon STM content, - an average time savings of 2-4 hours per user per occasion, - associated cost savings in the form of faster information identification and elimination of redundant work, and - a clear role for e-content in effectively supporting business decisions such as technologies to pursue and projects to select
Conclusion of the Springer/Outsell Study • "information managers must not allow the value of the library to be underestimated" • “Libraries provide services and support not just in the breadth and quality of the information provided, but also in terms of staff skill-sets. Embedding the library function into the workflow of users as much as possible will further cement their position”.
Are we convinced that Libraries Still Matter in the Digital Age? • If you answer yes, then you definitely recognize the need to communicate the value of your libraries to Management and other stakeholders • If you answer No, then you probably must be ready to take the trip to obsolescence.
We must act fast to create awareness • Academic and special libraries in the country often have better-than-Web resources and personalized assistance, but does your community know? • Are you reaching everyone who could use your services and offering the right services? • What's the best way to find out? • What resources and services do users in your community actually want and have you asked lately? • Marketing helps answer these questions!
Communicating one’s value In meaningful ways communicating the Library’s value is imperative for survival The problem is how?
There are ways to measure ROI Source: Tenopir, 2009) • 1. Measuring usage through usage logs or vendor reports (typical method, but not enough) • 2. Measuring the library’s purpose and value through surveys that measure purpose and value of use – e.g. how often do you use the collection? What is the purpose of your coming to the Library?
More ways to Measure ROI • 3. Measuring perceived value through surveys or interviews or oral or written testimonials – what users think about or say about the service, e. g. asking “How has access to electronic resources available over the university computer network and/or from the university library changed the way you work? Please comment.” • 4. Calculating ROI using budget, income, and survey data – Budget-Grant comparison; Number of project proposals accepted (with citations gathered from the Library) (Tenopir, 2009)
Adding electronic content is not enough • Librarians need to be active participants in the organization rather than just passive sources of information • They need to drive users to their content rather than let them come to it. Follow the catchphrase “Go where the users are” • The positive results of a user survey (although difficult to obtain) provide evidence that the library is aligned with organizational goals (Check out SurveyMonkey from the WWW)
What else can we do to create awareness of library’s content? • Work towards improving clients’ information literacy and skills so they can use e-resources • Partner with other units in the organization to improve information searching and retrieving skills
The 4 Ps of Marketing The marketing audit (research) analyzes the 4 Ps of marketing: • Product -- library services available to clients such as interlibrary loan, reference, document delivery, or web access. • Price of Service -- includes direct and indirect costs to produce and deliver the product, or actual fees if any. (Use the Library value calculator available on the web) • Place -- considers delivery and distribution of the products and services, location of services, availability, and accessibility. • Promotion -- how libraries let users know what products are available.
Promotion Strategies Successful libraries develop a variety of creative and innovative promotion strategies such as : • positive public relations (verbal and non-verbal behavior towards clients) • seek out a champion for support • eye-catching announcements/displays (posters, billboards, t-shirts, penants, bookmarks, etc.) • well-designed publications (e.g. flyers and newsletters) • interactive web sites (Library web sites; search interfaces, ets.)
More strategies • aggressive advocacy, advertising (lectures; newspaper ads, etc.) • book exhibits/sales • friends’ groups • contests
Internet-Based Strategies • Blogs • Wikis • Podcasts - multimedia digital files made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, etc • and other social networking technologies, e.g. Facebook, Youtube, Twitter
An Effective But Normally Ignored Tool Knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff members are also great promotion tools!
The Way Forward : Creating Awareness/Marketing Pays off Marketing is about changing perceptions about the Library: yours and theirs. The Library must be viewed an asset and not as a cost or expense center • Justify the funds invested by Management to the Library. • Look for opportunities for collaboration with other units within the organization to fill information needs and train their staff in using available resources
“Let the Sun Shine on your E-Resources” Janice Lechance, SLA CEO • Electronic Resources are useless if users are not aware that they are within reach • Getting the word out about e-resources pays off in many ways • Value is created each time someone uses them
Marketing the Library Training Module at http://www.olc.org/marketing/1intro.htm
E-book on Library Marketing http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/issues/marketing/ParticipantManual.pdf
Marketing the Library web site http://www.librarysupportstaff.com/marketinglibs.html
Public Library Toolbox at http://cis.washington.edu/usimpact/toolbox.html
E-book on the Value of Academic Libraries at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/issues/value/val_bibliography.pdf
Please don’t forget …. In this age of competition • We need to be Positive , Interesting Inventive, and Persistent (Zamora, 2010) • Please keep this in mind: There is no surefire effective strategy for marketing our libraries. There are many options. We can use as many as we can and continue using those that prove to be effective.
References • Establishing Value and ROI: Investing in STM e-journals and e-books http://www.springer.com/librarians/solutions+for+industry?SGWID=1-40475-12-700104-0 • Hadro, J. 2010. Outsell/Springer Report on Special Libraries Offers Academic Parallels. Library Journal March 25, 2010 http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6724090.html?nid=2673&source=title&rid=17696488 • Landgraf, G. 2011. 10 Ways Libraries Matter in a Digital Age. American Libraries May 2 http://220.127.116.11/value-new/calculator.html 011 http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/inside-scoop/10-ways-libraries-matter-digital-age • Massachusetts Library Association. 2008. [Library Services Calculator] at http://18.104.22.168/value-new/calculator.html • Oakleaf, M. 2010. The value of academic libraries: a comprhensive research review and report. ALA, 2010. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/issues/value/val_bibliography.pdf
References • Scotti, G.J. Proving value and return on investment. Information Outlook 14(4):22-24. June 2010. http://www.olc.org/marketing/5intro.htm • Tenopir, C. 2009. Measuring the value and returns on investment in academic libraries. ICAL 2009 http://crl.du.ac.in/ical09/papers/index_files/ical-2_158_377_1_RV.pdf • Willeford, S. 2009. Marketing special events; if you market, they will come. … www.swilsa.lib.ia.us/isloc/presentations/marketing.ppt • Zamora, G. and A. Caputo. 2009. Creating the Future:You and SLA . http://www.sla.org/Presentations/Alignment_DCSLA_ZamoraCaputo052809.ppt