Using data to demonstrate economic impact

Thursday morning session at MLA – Dr. Robert Williams shared what he learned as a primary investigator for the South Carolina Public Library Economic Impact Study. The study concluded that for every $1 spent on South Carolina libraries, the rate of return was $4.48. Dr. Williams shared significant results:

Among the findings are indications that the public library:
o Improves overall quality of life: 92% said yes
o Increases local property values: 47% said yes
o Attracts new businesses to the community: 38% said yes
o Attracts patronage to local businesses: 44% said yes
o Enhanced personal fulfillment: 73% said yes
o Nurtures a love of reading: 73% said yes
o Is a source of personal enjoyment: 64% said yes
o Helps manage personal finances or saved money: 32% said yes

Entire online report

Additional observations Dr. Williams made that I found interesting:

  • Thinks an “Educational impact of the library” study would be interesting – has no idea how to do it.
  • South Carolina library directors were not interested in getting any help in further analyzing survey data.
  • Suggests that every time someone tells you a good story about the library, write it down to use it in telling the library story.

Carbone-Getting Clued In to Experience Management

Lou Carbone of Experience Management spoke this afternoon at Minnesota Library Association. He said libraries are about transformation of thoughts – not being in the lend-em-out-check-em-in business. He said that the world we live in has changed from the former “make and sell” model to the “sense and respond.” People are concerned about how they feel about a service.

He cited Howard Johnson’s as an example; that they began their decline when they lost their marking site on how customers feel and focused on how shareholders feel.

It is not as important what patrons think about libraries, but rather how libraries make patrons feel.

Lou’s book is Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again

Jenny at MLA 2006

I’m live blogging Jenny Levine’s session at the Minnesota Library Association annual conference in St. Cloud. Looks like Jenny blogged the previous session at Shifted Librarian.

(Jenny says she’ll be posting her presentation on her site)
Jenny at MLA 2006 in St Cloud
She went over “what is a blog?” Different blog software. Felt sorry for anyone doing web pages with coded HTML (oops that’s us, but we’re re-designing)

Started out with the Ann Arbor site, discussing what it means to open yourself up to discussion with the community. 1,000s of comments. Pointed out that they’ve had 461 comments from teens; asked how many libraries got that many comments from teens. Teens talking about gaming, but also other things. New Book Blog. Libraries don’t have time to update websites, but can have vibrant websites if they let communities contribute. Ann Arbor has IT staff of 10. But this can be done easily.

Showed small public library blog. College of DuPage blog. Western Springs Local History Page, turned history project into a blog. Posted pictures. Comments allow community to contribute to local history.

Wiki of Directors’ Blogs – add yourself.

Photo Blog – picture is worth 1,000 words. Construction project. Display case at Western Springs. Colorado College – picture of signs. Library photo of little girl reading do you want to be the city council who cuts funding to this library?”)

Question about permissions – libraries have gotten varying opinions. Some take pictures of backs of heads. Some say it’s a public place.

RSS – lets you keep track of multiple sites.

Showed ProQuest. They’ve been promising for a year that there will be an RSS feed for specified searches. Can be displayed on a webpage. Jenny says homework is to contact ProQuest and tell them to implement it.

Demonstrated RSS in EbscoHost. “Ridiculous” how difficult. Homework – talk to vendor to simplify.

Reason she talks about RSS and Bloglines. . . when you start blogging, you’ll be more efficient. Automatically generates RSS, and you can use it to create community all over the place.

A few years ago, in order to create community you needed a server.

Book, “Small Pieces, Loosely Joined”

Riverdale IL (very poor), created community blog – free. Gave accounts to everyone in town.

Superglu – (example of library use) syndicates book marks from Delicious (which has RSS feeds). includes Flickr., web site, community calendar. Local newspaper. Pick template and instant community website.

Patrons would like libraries publish, so that they can use it.

Ever seen a library that publishes something like an Amazon wishlist?

Live Journal – someone marked library as a “Friend”, new books list.

Instant Messaging Reference
People can add library as a Buddy, part of Instant Messaging community.

More community – difference in using indicator “I’m online”

Meebo me

6 things you can do right now
Read blogs
Start what’s new blog for your library
Appoint Trend reporter
Train staff how to use RSS aggregators (about being efficient), use bloglines
Advocate for RSS in your products (been after III for 4 years to incorporate RSS)
Learn about Library 2.0 (understand what is going on)

Minnesota Book Awards update

Updating a previous entry to this blog, Starving Literacy, according to a Pioneer Press article today and an E-mail announcement by the Minnesota Library Association, the Minnesota Book Awards will be hosted by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. While I’m glad to see such a venerable organization pick up the ball, I hope that other library groups will run together with it. As a Minnesota institution, it should have the broadest sponsorship possible.

Good luck Friends, and thank you!

Librarian recognition well deserved

The LaCrosse Tribune Monday Profile (September 4th) features librarian extraordinaire Chris McArdle Rojo, formerly one of our regional librarians. While the article relates her love of books as the influence that made her a librarian, she made sure the interviewer knew how technology has changed county libraries. The Wisconsin Library Association Blog also recognized Chris as a “Librarian in the News.” (wow, a library association that has a blog that goes back to April 2004)

The opening line of the article says: “God bless the teachers at St. James Elementary School. They’re the reason Chris McArdle Rojo became a librarian.” A great testament to the importance of school libraries.

The article closes with a quote from Chris, what I have always most admired about her — “It’s all about cooperation.” When she was in our region, she was all about cooperating with other libraries, and it’s why she’s so successful in Wisconsin.

Congrats, Chris!

The 8th of November

You can’t listen to the radio very long without hearing The 8th of November, a haunting song by Big and Rich, about a 1965 firefight in Vietnam. The song is the true story that a bartender told Big and Rich at the Buffalo Bar in Deadwood 4 years ago. The bartender is Niles Harris, and he was one of only 5 survivors of his platoon on November 8th, 1965. Harris points out that he is not unique — Vietnam vets all carry their memories.

Thank you to Harris for telling his story, Big and Rich for writing and singing it, and Pierre SD for the memorials.

The 7 foot statue, dedicated yesterday, is of a soldier holding the dog tags of a fallen comrade. It stands by the World War II Memorial and the Korean War Memorial on the shore of Capitol Lake in Pierre SD. All three memorials were designed by sculptors Sherri Treeby and Lee Leuning.
Photo by Rapid City Journal

Libraries for senior living places

The topic of libraries in nursing homes came up today on the American Library Association listserve, SeniorServ. A volunteer in a nursing home posed several questions about setting up library service in the nursing home: what to purchase, how to arrange, and collection management (control, multiple locations). The answers she received in just one day’s time were: a webliography companion to Serving Seniors: a How To Do It Manual for Librarians, a webliography from the National Council on Aging, roving library carts, maximizing use of the state’s library for the blind and physically handicapped, and the “Play Away” gadget I previously wrote about.

It struck me, as I thought through my multitype library hat, that once again the issues she’s raising are the same in other types of libraries. So, I thought I’d blog my response and send it to her.

Dispersed collections, for instance, are maintained in schools and hospitals. Many public libraries provide delivery or deposit collections in senior living facilities, as well as other places library materials are needed, such as day care centers, senior centers, community centers, or social service agencies. Library automation systems do a real good job of keeping track of where items are. Regional libraries provide rotating collections, such as large print or movies.

My organization just completed a project we called Senior Techies, funded through LSTA funds. We partnered with 14 libraries that provided training space and hospitality; we provided trainers for 5 classes at each library. We taught basic computing skills, including E-mail and digital photography. The program was a tremendous success, and demand for additional classes is so huge that we’re looking for additional funding to expand the program.

I encourage the writer to contact her local public library and build a partnership. If the library doesn’t have a program in place to provide this, I hope they will consider it. Libraries need to provide staffing and service to seniors, just as we provide children’s librarians. Perhaps the library and senior living facilities could build a jointly funded collaborative that maintains a rotating collection of books, movies, games, and discussion materials.

This topic is very near and dear to my heart, having become intimately familiar with nursing homes through 7 years of nursing home residence by my father and mother-in-law in separate cities. Neither of them would have benefited from library services on-site because of their mental and physical conditions. However, I met many other residents whose quality of life would have been greatly enhanced. Or, a library could provide picture books for reading to small visitors – or even reminiscing by the seniors themselves. A library would also have been welcomed by spouses who spent long hours during daily visits. A library could also provide computers and Internet connections, with appropriate adaptive technology for persons with disabilities.

Along the same lines, I ran into a new blog, Library Services to Boomers and Older Adults, by Allan Kleiman, who will be teaching a class in service to older adults for the San Jose State Library School. In one of his posts, he discusses the proposed merger into IMLS of the functions of NCLIS and NCES and states that he hopes that at least one member of the staff or advisory board should be knowledgeable in providing services to older adults. I echo his hope for all public libraries, that they equip knowledgeable staff to provide this important service.

Starving literacy

This post updated 22 Sep 2006 with further news of the Minnesota Book Awards

Quite a surprise this morning while reading my morning St. Paul Pioneer Press to find that the new sponsor of the Minnesota Book Awards will be the Minnesota Library Association, according to a quote from the MLA Executive Director, Barbara Vaughn. (link to article) The future of the Book Awards was thrown into doubt earlier in the week when the Minnesota Humanities Commission said they would no longer sponsor the program, since they were focusing their efforts (and reduced funding) on early childhood and secondary education. (link to Humanies Commission statement and press release on its strategic decision) Vaughn stated that she will be seeking partnerships, especially corporate sponsorships, to fund the Minnesota Book Awards program.

I am disturbed that the state of Minnesota education has brought the Humanities Commission to make this decision – to provide support of basic education at the expense of the Book Awards program which enhanced the recognition and encouragement of Minnesota writers and literary culture. When I grew up in a neighboring state, education in Minnesota was a program to be emulated. Since I have lived in Minnesota (since 1999) there has been a drastic downturn in the capacity, ability, and willingness of state and local administrations to assume responsibility for development of our most important asset and precious resource and provide education for our children.

In the past week, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time talking with school library media specialists and other educators, who are starting their school year with a pronounced reduction in funding for materials and staff (sometimes unexpected). School libraries, like the Minnesota Book Awards, are the sacrificial lamb in the educational system. And the literacy of our children and our communities is being starved out of existence. It makes me very, very sad.

Leaders are readers

The Executive Committee of MPOW Board met on Monday evening, the first meeting of the new officers for FY 2007. As a way of getting acquainted Teri, the new President, asked us to each introduce and tell something about ourselves. The first person up told us her name and that she liked to read. I asked her what she was reading, and she enthusiastically shared the title. Well, that started a trend and with each person, another book title was introduced, and many of us were writing them down.

What a great thing to find out . . . that our regional library Board is made up of readers. But then, not surprising. Written ideas and the reading of them is a cornerstone of culture. Harry Truman said: Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

The inability to read is a handicap that I find unfathomable. Libraries are in a unique position to supply places and sources for reading. Libraries can also provide sponsorship for learning to read programs – as we did at my former POW.

President Bush revealed his most recent reading list in an interview with Brian Williams, and parts of the interview have been broadcast today on MSNBC and on the Today program (where I caught it this morning). Additionally, Wonkett blogged it and YouTubed it and The National Journal Hotlineblog published the following text of the interview:

On why he read Camus: “I was in Crawford and I said I was looking for a book to read and Laura said you oughtta try Camus. I also read three Shakespeares.”
Williams: “A few months ago you were reading the life story of Joe DiMaggio by Richard Ben Cramer.”
Bush: “Which was a good book.”
Williams: “You’ve been on a Teddy Roosevelt reading kick.”
Bush: “Well I’m reading about the battle of New Orleans right now. I’ve got an eclectic reading list.”
(NBC, 8/29).

quoted with no political opinion intended

Drafting fantasy teams

We had our draft party tonight for our fantasy football league. Some were really serious and studied the stat sheets for the best picks — and then some made some good guesses (we hope). All in all, the food was good, the company was delightful, and MB and B were great hosts. PB is a very patient Commissioner.