Surviving (and Thriving) - ARSL | Association for Rural & Small

Report
Surviving (and Thriving)
During Challenging Times
David W. Singleton
[email protected]
Association for Small and Rural Libraries
September 2012
Overview
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About Challenging Times
Operational Strategies
Relationship Building
Telling Your Library’s Story
Practical Suggestions
What Works for Your Library?
Q&A
In Calm Weather,
All Ships Have Good Captains
--Swedish proverb,
often attributed to
Adam Smith
About
Challenging Times
The National Picture
• Libraries in the U.S. are coping with the
most serious financial crisis in a generation.
• Local and state governments, facing
drastically reduced revenues, are slicing
library funding to unprecedented lows.
• Library administrators and trustees are
grappling with incredibly difficult decisions
to reduce services, programs and staffing.
Local
Funding
Fundraising
Public
Library
Funding
State
Funding
Grants
Reframing Challenging Times
• We have survived other challenging times
• Increased demand shows the value of
libraries
• Difficult times offer opportunities to
reexamine what we do, why we do it, and
how we do it
• A crisis is a terrible thing to waste
Challenging Times≠Normal Times
• Environment often unstable or changing
quickly
• Reduced or stagnant resources, sometimes with
increasing demand
• People tend to feel less valued and less
knowledgeable (what they know isn’t working)
• Scrutiny increased; mistakes are often more
visible
The Stages of Change
Active
Stage
One
Stage
Two
Anger
Stage
Three
Stage
Four
Testing
Balancing
Passive
Confusion
SHOCK
Stability
DEFENSIVE ACKNOWRETREAT LEDGEMENT ACCEPTANCE
Time
Stages - CAPS
Phases - Italics
#1 Tool=Communication
• Not a time to hide—Be visible to staff and to
the community
• Talk face to face whenever possible
• Share what you know, even when the news is
not great
• "Advocating in a Tough Economy" toolkit is
available at www.ala.org/tougheconomytoolkit
Words that Stop
Words that Move
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I can’t
I’ll try
Should, have to
Someday
Yes, but…
Problem
Difficult
Me, My
I know or I am right
I can
I will
Will, want to
Today
Help me understand
Opportunity
Challenging
We, Our
I hear you (listen)
If you think you are leading and
no one is following, you’re just
out for a walk.
--Afghan proverb
Operational Strategies
Three Strategies for Operational
Success
Sharpening focus
of services/
programs
Building
organizational
capacity
Increasing
library
revenues
Strengthening Focus
• Be crystal clear on what you do and why
– What are the most critical services?
– How can we provide services differently?
– What can we stop doing?
– What do we need to be doing more of
during this challenging time?
Programming Focus Areas
Workforce
Development
Educational
Success
Literacy
Building Organizational Capacity
• Unified Services – conduct any library
service at any service point
• WorkSmart - improve workflow for
efficiency & effectiveness
• Volunteers – updated duties & job
descriptions to extend and support the
work of staff
All Staff Can Assist Customers
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Apply for a library card
Manage library account services/check out
Accept payments
Recommend a good book
Reserve a computer or print
Use the library’s website
Process Improvement
Old
New
Increasing Revenues
• Grants
• Community fundraising
– Targeted efforts most effective
(example: books for young readers)
• Friends of the Library (events?)
• Fines & fees restructuring
Relationship Building
Relationship Building
• Challenging times are critical times for
relationship building with:
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Staff
Community
Partners
Funders
Staff
• Keep them informed of changes (they are
the library to the public)
• Staff meetings
• Weekly email updates/bulletin boards
• Involved in decision making as possible
Community
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Visibility in community
Community meetings
Civic organizations
Churches/faith community
Library
Managing partner:
operations, services,
general/ administrative
Shared
New Library/County Partnership
County
Funding partner:
budget, funding,
appointment of trustees
Shared activities:
Expansion/footprint
Capital projects
Material changes in service
Reporting on performance
Significant changes in compensation/benefits
Branch closings
Telling Your
Library’s Story
The Power of Data
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Data driven decisions essential
Fully costing services
Choices/impacts
Remove emotions from decision making
Moving from outputs to outcomes
Dashboard
Advocacy Plan
• Ties into public funding
• Two kinds:
– Ongoing
– Targeted
Ongoing Advocacy
Characteristics
Strategies are
part of
communications
plan
• Informational
• Year-round
• Showing the value of libraries
• Debunking myths: “people don’t need/use libraries
anymore”
• Awareness campaigns: National Library Week, Teen Tech
Week, Teen Read Week, etc.
• Stories of impact
• Alliances: Friends, County, tourism authority, Chamber
Targeted Advocacy
Characteristics
Strategies are
more specific
• Geared toward a specific action
• Examples: Approve the budget, Give a donation, Pass a
piece of legislation, etc.
• Has specific start and end date
• Has a call to action
• Ask person A to contact person B
• Ask someone to speak at a meeting
• Ask someone to write a letter to the editor
• Provide information to those you want to act
• Work with allies from ongoing advocacy
Key Messages
• Master narrative
• Support key messages with storytelling to
speak to head and heart
– Head: Statistics, facts, economic impact
– Heart: Stories of impact, how libraries change
lives
ROI Study: broad benefits
• ROI Study conducted
by UNC Charlotte
Urban Institute
• Charlotte
Mecklenburg Library
returns $4.57 in direct
benefits for every
$1.00 invested from
all sources.
Value calculator:
personalized
benefits
Stories of Impact
• Four parts:*
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Person
Problem
Library intervention
*From Jamie LaRue, Director,
Happy ending
Douglas County Libraries,
speaking at NCPLDA
Conference
Sample Story of Impact
• Person: David
• Problem: ASVAB
• Library Intervention:
Pam, Learning Express
• Happy Ending: Got
into the field he wanted
Stories of Impact
• Build into existing
communications
strategies
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Advocacy
Annual report
Newsletter
National Library Week
Media relations
Social media
Outcomes
Customer
with problem
or need
Library
intervention
Stories of
impact
----------------Outcomes
Programming Outcomes
• 97% of parents/caregivers attending preschool programs reported they are better
prepared to develop pre-reading skills in
their children
• Pilot program at Long Creek Elementary—
measuring impact of summer reading on
learning retention/loss
Practical Suggestions
Collections
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Adopt a Book
Donations
Booklists
Displays/themes
Recover classics/popular titles
Did you miss? (Books by bestselling
authors)
Purchasing
• Leasing vs. buying
• Consortia discounts
• Negotiate discounts & shipping with
vendors
• Local vendors may provide significant
discounts or donate items
Communications
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Board
Staff
Elected officials
Friends
Community groups
Volunteers
Staffing
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New ways to manage services
Self-service options for customers
Cross-training
Staff development
May be time to consider shifting roles/
reorganization
Volunteers
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Support and extend the work of staff
Staff volunteer point people
Job descriptions helpful
Checkin/shelving/holds
Technology assistance
Displays
Collaboration
• Other agencies
• Neighboring libraries
• Consortia
– ILS
– ILL
– Shared programming/services
What else can you
share from
your library?
Questions?
Selected Resources
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American Library Association, “Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit,”
http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/toolkit
Corwin, Scott, Elisabeth Hartley, and Harry Hawkes, “The Library Rebooted,”
http://www.strategy-business.com/article/09108?gko=f1e93
Lehman, Jeffrey, “Leadership in Difficult Times,”
http://www.jeffreylehman.com/pdf_files_collection/infosys_strap_keynote_-.pdf
Mayo, Diane, and Jeanne Goodrich. Staffing for Results. Chicago: American Library
Association, 2001.
Nelson, Sandra. Strategic Planning for Results. Chicago: American Library
Association, 2008.
Selected Resources
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Noer, David. Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and
Revitalizing Downsized Orgnanizations (Revised and Updated). New York:
Josey-Bass Publishers, 2009.
Ruiz, Don Miguel. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal
Freedom, a Toltec Wisdom Book. New York: Amber-Allen Publishing,
2001.
Secretan, Lance H.K. Reclaiming Higher Ground: Creating Organizations
that Inspire the Soul. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Salemi, Ray. Leading After a Layoff. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.

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