Sometimes we don’t always get a say in how our value as libraries is judged. It’s easy to measure the “countable” things – how many people came through the door, how many new books did we buy, how old is our collection, how many events did we hold in the month of May, how many times were our databases accessed?
Often it might feel like we are capturing data to meet a pre-determined criteria that might not accurately portray the value we add to our customers. It’s a tricky one, measuring the intangible value.
What if … you found a way to still be measured by the tangible things, but also told the story of the intangible value you add to your customers? It brings the faceless numbers into sharp perspective to hear the individual stories of how the library “facilitated the creation of knowledge in the community” (picking up on the mission statement for libraries from The Atlas of New Librarianship by RD Lankes).
Here’s some visual ways to showcase “storytelling” of value alongside the “countable” of value:
- 2012 Annual Report for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
- New York Public Library 2012 Annual Report
- Ann Arbor District Library 2011/2012 Annual Report
What if … your funding body, or CEO, or School Principal arrived in your office tomorrow and said “How would you like your performance measured next year?” Would you have an answer at the ready or would you just go with the existing status quo?
What if … you brainstormed the metrics against which you wanted to be measured? Don’t stop to think if it is possible to capture that data just yet. Let your imagination run free, and see what types of “data” you’d prefer to be measured on. Now, begin to explore what might actually be possible, and find out if it is actually possible to incorporate it into your metrics collection as well as all the tangible things.
What if … you re-read your organisation’s annual report and thought up new ways to show how your library & your collection adds value to the mission statement. How can you re-align your metrics to demonstrate to your funding body and your statekholders your true value measured against their statements?
Imagine choosing how and why you are measured. Imagine proactively changing the way in which your value is judged.