Posts tagged under: Strategy


Controlled digital lending: Past successes can guide our future

When the COVID-19 pandemic created barriers to traditional information access, library workers reacted immediately to help make up the difference. I don’t think I’ve talked to a single person whose library didn’t put forward major, sometimes dramatic efforts to ramp up “anytime, anywhere” access to resources. And that includes forays into controlled digital lending (CDL).

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Drive social media success that connects on a personal level

How can you engage purposefully on social media with the different communities your library serves while also addressing larger, system-wide goals and policies? The concept of “social care” offers a clue. Social care differs from traditional customer care in that the purpose isn’t to address one issue, answer one question, or solve one problem. It’s also different than public relations in that it’s not about “one size fits all” for every audience. For social care, the goal is to nurture a more inclusive, longer-term dialogue.

At the Pikes Peak Library District, we’re using these principles to create local and program-specific social media personalities. All of our distinct voices closely align with the unique groups we serve and fall thoughtfully under a system-wide set of values.

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Connecting your library’s actions to global challenges: How do you stand up?

Working alongside library leaders from around the world, I’ve realized there is an interesting paradox in terms of organizational goals. While libraries around the world serve unique and diverse communities, at the core of their work, they share very similar visions and principles. Libraries similarly, are also able to adjust strategy and tactics very specifically to their users’ needs while keeping an eye on global interests. Finding ways to link these two levels—global interests and local conditions—can be very rewarding—and sometimes complicated.

For the past year, I have worked with OCLC Global Council and OCLC Research to explore such a link. In the fall of 2019, we began focusing on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to determine how libraries can use the goals as a framework to partner, both with each other and outside organizations, to better address global sustainability efforts.

Then COVID-19 struck. And libraries worldwide had an entirely new set of shared challenges to address locally.

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Getting smarter

Imagine sending an unexpected video call invite to ten colleagues at different organizations two years ago. My guess is that most would have been surprised, some annoyed. But after a year of working remotely, the response would be much different. And even as we transition back to working in person, that option will be one used more often going forward. Because in many circumstances, it’s simply a smarter choice.

So, why didn’t we make that choice before?

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Why a “Library on-demand” vision benefits from pandemic wisdom

If it wasn’t for COVID-19, I can safely say I never would have biked the Haleakalā volcano. Well, to be honest, I still haven’t. But while I’ve been mostly locked in my house this past year, I decided to invest in a stationary bike. And I trained for an endurance activity of five, one-hour rides that match the twists, turns, and elevations of the famous Hawaiian volcano.

Of course, it’s not the same as a real ride on a real bike on a real road on a real volcano. But the work I had to do to get in shape was real, the final achievement was real, and the connections I made with some new biking friends were real. And even if I never make it to the actual volcano, I will absolutely do a virtual ride like this again.

My experience also helped me realize something about the transition to a post-pandemic reality that’s starting slowly around the world. We need to carefully consider what we leave behind and what we take forward when we return to “normal.”

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How teamwork busts the three biggest myths about library advocacy

Many people associate advocacy with lobbying—a full-time job in which one cultivates personal relationships with lawmakers and officials to make or defend key lines in laws, regulations, budgets, and other decisions.

To many who work in libraries, this can seem daunting. However, as is usually the case with stereotypes, this one is far from accurate. I’d like to make the case that there are three “big myths” about library advocacy that you need to jettison right now.

This matters, because in reality, budget increases and policy changes are usually the end product of a long process of changing minds and attitudes that starts well away from national legislatures, county councils, or town halls. These earlier steps require teamwork, and can rely on efforts made by all types of library workers with a variety of skills and interests to contribute. By understanding how you can contribute, you can start advocating for your library—and all libraries—today and every day.

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What’s the magic formula for successful change? Communication + planning

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Tyler is passionate about helping libraries turn change into opportunity, and as Director of OCLC Implementation, he supports libraries through diverse transformations, including everything from workflow analysis to library technology implementations.

Depending on who you ask and where you look, change management has any number of important components. However, I’ve found that the actual process of initiating change often falls into two key buckets: planning and communication. Planning is critical, of course, but how, when, and what is communicated can make or break a change initiative. In fact, communication often leads to feedback that helps refine plans, making it even more powerful.

Unfortunately, communication can be an afterthought or initiated only when a change effort is at risk. Sometimes it’s just words on a page explaining the plan. It shouldn’t be, it’s so much more, and can have long-term negative consequences if overlooked or undervalued. Successful change initiatives are communicated like an internal public relations campaign. Every aspect should be orchestrated to increase awareness and buy-in.

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Community engagement: Redefining the library as town square

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Libraries are evolving, leaning outside of our walls, connecting with our communities in new and powerful ways. Defining our “why” requires understanding how to shift our focus from books to people. Our purpose is to support people and their quality of life. While there may be many definitions, community engagement isn’t just about awareness, marketing, and sending staff out into the community. Community is at the center of everything. At Anythink, the public library system for Adams County, Colorado, it is at the heart of everything we do.

Like many libraries, our recent strategic planning research included a purposeful listening tour. We found that our community sees the library as its center, its connector. They asked for the library to become even more focused on creating community. As a result, we have adopted the concept of library as town square.

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Are you managing the emotional side of change?

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Tyler is passionate about helping libraries turn change into opportunity, and as Director of OCLC Implementation, he supports libraries through diverse transformations, including everything from workflow analysis to library technology implementations.

When you’re leading any kind of change, maneuvering to get an ideal outcome can be tricky. I’m often asked by leaders in the throes of change management efforts, “What’s the one thing that can’t be missed?” The one element that could deter all the work to build awareness, acceptance, and action. My response is pretty much always the same: Never underestimate the emotional side of change.

Did I just get all warm and fuzzy on you? Yes, I did. And it’s important, especially because this aspect of change is often overlooked. The reality is that all change begins and ends with human beings—and humans are driven by emotions.

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