Competency D

Standard

In order to complete competency D students in the library and information science program at San Jose State University must be able to demonstrate an understanding of how to  “apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy” in the context of the library and information science field. Information Professionals are increasingly having to take on more leadership roles. Leading libraries through this technological era takes the ability to plan, market, and advocate for libraries. Understanding and applying the principals of planning and management have never been as important to the information professional as they are in this era. As Evans & Alire (2013) state, “Navigating the library through a highly uncertain world takes many skills and a great deal of thinking and planning”.  During my Information Profession class, INFO 204, we learned to do an organization overview as part 1 of our strategic planning assignment (see Competency B ). Strategic planning, marketing, management, and advocacy are essential to library leadership today because without them libraries cannot survive in this competitive and increasingly technological world.

 

Planning

Information professionals need to understand the principals of planning because they will provide the leadership for their libraries. Planning will help a library have a sense of direction and provide information to their stakeholders about the direction they are heading. As Evans & Alire (2013) explain, “plans are like charts setting forth where you are and where you want to go”. In order to plan effectively, information professionals need to understand where they are as an institution one way they can do this by evaluating their work environment for its weakness and Strengths.

In order to effectively plan information organizations, need to know how to effectively gather information. Performing an organizational analysis can help libraries understand their institutions so they and then determine where they want to go by making not just a plan, but an effective plan. Planning is important because it allows libraries on a tight budget to effectively utilize their resources and optimize their services. Understanding the state of your organization, the needs of your community, and they are required to plan for to flourish in the future. Planning requires more than just thinking about the future it takes action to move an organization forward. Evans & Alire (2013) describe strategic planning as, “the process of creating action steps designed to achieve the overall strategy”.

Management

Today it is essential for information professionals to understand the needs to be involved in the strategic planning process so they can help effectively implement the strategic plans.  As an information professional, we need to be responsive and adaptive to our environment. Management encompasses both supervising daily operations and personnel of information organizations. This requires interpersonal skills as well as an understanding of operational management. Information professionals in their capacity as managers need to motive personnel and ensure that their organization is on track with the goals and plans put in place. They need to initiate planning, but they also need to actively supervise that the actions being taken by their personnel are corresponding with their plan. Management includes keeping the organization’s daily operations running efficiently and effectively. Management means taking into consideration how things run daily and assessing the processes implemented in the operations for efficient application. Evans & Alire (2013) emphasize that, “management involves all the staff in formulating and implementing activities intended to move toward the desired outcome of the strategy and strategic plan”.

Marketing

Marketing libraries is important because it lets potential users know what your organization is, what it does, and what we can do for the users. As information professionals, we want to market to increase usage of our resources be they physical or digital and overall to increase awareness about our organization. No one can use services that they don’t know exists. Information Professionals need to be able to market themselves, their organizations, and their services to their community. Whether that community is a city or a university its members cannot use tools or attend events they don’t know exists. In this technological age marketing, a broader audience is possible through inexpensive means via Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Foursquare. These social media networking sites allow organizations to spread the word about their services and events freely and easily. According to Evans & Alire (2013), a library should take these steps to market themselves, “The selected tools (such as websites, newsletters, flyers, advertisements, and annual reports) should be those that best fit the lifestyles of the target segment. Receptions or open houses can be effective promotional tools especially when there is a new service or product to demonstrate”. Effective marketing attracts your target users and takes in consideration the needs and types of marketing that will reach your target populations. This takes an in-depth interpersonal understanding of your patrons or the users you are trying to draw into your organization. You need to market where these individuals frequent. If you are trying to draw in senior citizens social media may not be your best marketing strategies since typically less senior citizen use social media.  Surveys can be an effective tool to gain information about your audience so can tools such as Google Analytics. One-way Google Analytics can also help libraries with marketing According to Farney (2016) is by using, “event tracking on your website is very easy with Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager is a separate tool that offers a user-friendly interface to create “tags” that trigger tracking on specific user actions using Google Analytics’ event tracking ability”. Considering your target audience when choosing your marketing platform or tools is an intricate part of marketing your services. Marketing requires researching and understanding your audience. It also needs a clear message and drives participation by spreading awareness to your audience about how libraries can benefit them. As information professionals, we need to understand how to effectively market our organization and services to our audiences to spread awareness and increase participation in our organizations.

Advocacy

Many libraries are non-profit organizations that require them to fundraise and to justify their continuing funding to various types of stakeholders. In this information age, when Google can retrieve information quickly by providing a user-friendly interface to their users’ libraries must justify their existence more than ever and their value to their communities, to the government, and to private sources of funding. Libraries must prove themselves worthy of patronage and draw resources to not merely keep their libraries going, but to make them thrive in this information age. Evan & Alire (2013), describe advocacy as, “neither marketing nor public relations. Simply put, it is the art of persuading or arguing in the favor of something”. We need to persuade stakeholders that Libraries have value to our communities and that our services benefit their community members in unique ways. Collecting information and surveying the community for how libraries benefit them can be helpful in persuading stakeholders of the benefits libraries to provide. Stakeholders need to understand why we need libraries when Google books and Amazon exists to provide our information needs. Demonstrating libraries importance takes a unique combination of leadership, marketing, management, and planning to perpetuate our organizations. Information Professionals in this age are passing the responsibility to care for these organizations to ensure their continence. Installing to future generations the importance of libraries to lives is an essential part of being an information professional and is critical to the future of libraries. Persuading our communities and stakeholders of the importance of libraries takes evidence, planning, persuasion, marketing, and innovation in this era.

Information professionals need to be able to weave together management, planning, marketing, and advocacy skills to create to ensure successful information organization. In the 21st-century information professionals need to understand the digital tools available to assist these aspects of librarianship and utilize them effectively into their operations. They need to understand the importance and principals of marketing, management, planning, and advocacy to be effective leaders in information organizations. Interweaving these skills is necessary for productive operations of organizations and for allowing libraries to flourish into the future.

Evidence:

In order to provide evidence of my competence in management, marketing, planning, and advocacy, I have assembled these examples of my work:

INFO 204 Strategic Plan part 2

INFO 282 Press release and Marketing Plan

INFO 282 Communication Plan

My first piece of evidence is my strategic planning group project from my INFO 204 course. As I stated in Competency B  the group was assigned was to study a particular library and perform a SWOT analysis and Environmental Scan in order to support the creation recommendation for future services. My group uses the information gained from this organizational analysis to create mission, vision, and values for the library. In part two of our strategic planning project, we were also required to create goals and assessments for our strategic plan based on the information found in part one of our strategical plan. I included this project to demonstrate my understanding of the principals and mechanics of planning.  This project demonstrates my ability to make plans based that are responsive to the environment and to make recommendations for that environment that are relevant.

Click here to read the Strategic Plan: INFO 204 Strategic Plan part 2

My second piece of evidence is my Press release and Marketing plan from my INFO 282 course. The assignment was to create a strategic marketing plan and press release with the purpose of advertising the services that the grant funding created. It is intended to get the word out about the grant and to promote library services funded by the grant received. It is a plan that is intended to be shown to the grant funding organization to demonstrate how the library will promote the services created by the funding. Stakeholders want to ensure that the funding that they supply will use to create a positive impact. Showing the stakeholders how your organization plans to promote your grant can elevate your request for your grant funding project and increase your chances of receiving funding. In this assignment, the marketing plan is intended to market Open education resources for PSY 111 courses taught at a community college funded through a grant intended to lower the cost of education for college students through the University of Maryland. This assignment was included to demonstrate my basic understanding of the principals and techniques of marketing and my basic ability to create a strategic marketing plan for the purpose of spreading awareness about library services.

To read the Marketing plan click here: INFO 282 Press release and Marketing Plan

My final piece of evidence is the communication plan that I created for my INFO 282 course on grant writing. The assignment was to create a communication with the objective of implementing a policy-driven plan to provide stakeholders information about the grant. This plan formally lays out who will be given what information and when that information will be disseminated and through what method of communication. This piece of evidence I included this as evidence of my understanding of the basic principles of planning, policy creation, and management skills. This plan recognizes the importance of communication with a client and internally within your parent organization when working on a project. This is an important aspect of project management and important leadership skills need to be a productive information professional.

Conclusion:

In this digital era it is important for an information professional to possess skills in the area of management, advocacy, marketing, and planning. The scarcity of funding source for non-profit information organizations, the increasing popularity of search engines such as Google, and lack of awareness about library services have increased the need for information professionals to have skills in all four of these areas. Being prepared as a information professional requires leadership skills and effective management to lead our libraries to continuous success in these times were competition for information providers is fierce. Understanding and exercising organizational leadership skills and being able to tie information organizations to stakeholders and to funding institutions will be crucial to libraries being able to continue to operate or receive the need funding for operations to flourish. It is equally important to understand how to market our services and spread awareness about the benefits of libraries to their uses and potential user groups. Libraries need to expand patronage and increase awareness if they wish to survive in this competitive information market. Public, non-profit, for-profit information organizations can all benefit from understanding their environments and effective implantation of  activities or policies that will move them towards their goals for the future.

Sources:

Evans, G.E., & Alire, C.A. (2013). Management basics for information professionals (3rd ed.) [Kindle Fire version]. Available from Amazon.com

Farney, T. (2016, November 17). Improve Your Analytics Data. Retrieved from https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/11/01/improve-your-analytics-data/

 

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