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Posts Tagged ‘public libraries’

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the essential role that public libraries are playing in the regeneration of Scotland’s communities.  An example of this is happening right now in Craigmillar
in Edinburgh where work has just begun on the development of a new neighbourhood and library centre.    Replacing a number of tired and old buildings this cutting edge facility will be a hub for the local community; housing a number of council services, partner agencies and of course a library service that’s responsive to the needs and expectations of 21st century users.  Exciting times for the residents of Craigmillar!

Take a quick peek at the 3D walkthrough of the new centre.    Impressive stuff.  Can’t wait to visit when it opens in 2013! 🙂


						

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On Tuesday I attended the annual CILIP Umbrella conference for the first time. I had been invited by LIRG to present the findings of my literature review on methodologies for measuring the value of public libraries. Here’s a link to my presentation and a link to the final paper; and a selection of links to interesting library valuation studies that I’ve published on Voices for the Library.

I had a great time at the conference.  Lots of networking opportunities, lively debates and friendly faces.  Hoping to return next year 🙂

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The Library and Information Research Group (LIRG) has just published my article on methods for demonstrating the value of public libraries.  The article provides a  literature review of existing quantitative and qualitative evaluation methodologies for demonstrating value across a variety of sectors and analyses the pros and cons of:

  • Auditing
  • Return on Investment Studies

    © Christine Rooney-Browne 2011

  • Social Impact Audits
  • Ethnography
  • Tracking Surveys
  • Customer Profiling
There’s a lot of really interesting case studies in the article and I’m sure some of the methodologies could help us to develop more appropriate models for measuring our own value!

I’ll also be presenting on this topic at the annual Umbrella Conference on 12th July 2011 at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.    So, if you’re interested in demonstrating the value of public libraries pop along to my session at 11.45am 🙂



					

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I’m down in Leeds at the moment for a workshop on Measuring the Value of Public Libraries: The fallacy of footfall and issues as measures of Public Libraries. I’m really excited because I’ll be participating in a group Delphi session for the first time ever.We’ll be working on developing appropriate methods for evaluating the value and impact of public libraries. There will also be talks by Annie Mauger (CILIP), Roy Clare (MLA), Dr Adam Cooper (DCMS & CASE), Carolynn Rankin (Leeds Met).The delegate list also adds to the excitement.  Lots of interesting people participating, including Bob Usherwood! And as anyone who reads this blog knows, his research in the area of social impact & public libraries has been an inspiration to me. I can’t wait to meet him in person!

Although my own research in this area has shown that a perfect methodology for measuring the value of public libraries does not exist we’ll hopefully come up with more appropriate methods than those that are in place just now.   I’m off to work on the Individual Delphi questions before tomorrow’s session.  I’ll let you all know how it goes! 🙂

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I’ve been on maternity leave for the past 9 months which explains the lack of activity on my blog 🙂 .  I don’t return to work officially until June but now that my beautiful baby girl is a little bit older I’m getting some time to do bits and pieces of research – yeah!

Just spent the morning catching up on all the news from the library community. The most exciting of which (I think) is that Lauren Smith has been nominated as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker 2011.

Lauren’s done some amazing work over the past year, including campaigning tirelessly to Save Doncaster Libraries and working as co-ordinator and spokesperson for the excellent Voices for the Library campaign .  The future for public libraries in the UK looks brighter thanks to people like Lauren!  🙂

A full list of Movers and Shakers 2011 can be found here.

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Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Edge 2010 conference at Edinburgh Castle – and what a fantastic conference it was! 🙂  The speaker list was top class and thanks to some excellent programming from the event organisers I didn’t have to miss any of the sessions.   This was such a relief because there’s nothing worse than getting all excited about the speaker list then realising that all of the big names are on at the same time.  But The Edge managed to avoid this pitfall and offered delegates an impressive list of sessions that truly were all killer and no filler!

The journey up to Edinburgh Castle was stunning and delegates were filled with a real sense of occassion before the conference even started. The conference suite was jam packed by the time I arrived and there was standing room only for Susan Benton’s keynote speech.    A wonderful sight, especially considering the audience was made up, not only of librarians but also high profile councillors, MSPs, Chief Executives etc.; all joined by a collective desire to “push the boundaries of public service delivery“.

Up first was a truly inspirational speaker – Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council (ULC).   Unfortunately, thanks to some freak snowstorms in the West of Scotland I missed the start of Susan’s keynote speech but I managed to catch her final remarks. Susan spoke passionately about the public library as a “trusted neighbour” in our communities, highlighting the vital role that they play in “bringing diverse entities together” and the need to “strengthen the public library as an essential part of urban life“.  I’ve been a huge fan of the ULC for a while now and Susan’s speech reflected some of the wonderful research they’ve carried out in recent years to communicate the value of public libraries in communities in the US.  A selection of these publications are linked to below:

Welcome, Stranger:  Public Libraries Build the Global Village

Making Cities Stronger:   Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development

The Engaged Library:  Chicago Stories of Community Building

Following Susan’s rousing “call to arms” speech we welcomed Ewan McIntosh-digital media expert and founder of the innovative 38 Minutes project.   I’ll be discussing Ewan’s talk in a future blog post…

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© Christine Rooney-Browne

In just over two weeks time I’ll be heading through to Edinburgh to attend The Edge 2010.

I’m really excited about this conference because I think it’s unrivalled in Scotland.   Quite often, when I attend conferences in Scotland it’s a mix of the  ‘same old faces’ talking about the ‘same old issues’, which is fine…but it’s nice to see something new and exciting on the calendar for Scotland.

Normally I have to head South or across the water to attend a conference of this scale; but this time it’s just a 50 minute train journey away!  And one of the most exciting things about this conference, in addition to it’s line-up of speakers, is that it’s looking at the public sector as a whole and the vital role that libraries can play within this sector.  With such a wide remit, the conference is appealing to a remarkably wide audience.  Liz McGettigan, Head of Edinburgh City Libraries reports that the conference will be attended by delegates from across the UK, Europe, North America and New Zealand and from fields as diverse as journalism, policy and strategy, education, leisure, universities and health.

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to communicate the value of libraries to an audience that extends well beyond those of us already working within libraries.I’m sure there will also be some unique opportunities to share ideas, network, build partnerships; and ultimately communicate our value and relevance as a public service to a non-traditional audience, thus enhancing our profile and extending our potential to make a positive impact in the 21st century.

If you’re interested in finding out more about The Edge 2010 then why not check out their blog?

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Public Libraries in the 21st Century (C) Christine Rooney-Browne

Public Libraries in the 21st Century (C) Christine Rooney-Browne

Just thought I’d share a couple of presentations that I delivered at two different conferences last week.

First up is my keynote presentation from the SINTO lecture in Sheffield;  “A Look at the Role of Public Libraries in Times of Recession

And secondly, a joint presentation between myself and Liz McGettigan from Edinburgh City Libraries at the annual Internet Librarian International Conference in London; “A Joined Up Approach to Social Media”.

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One of my favourite parts of any conference is always the poster sessions.  This is the time when you get an opportunity to experience (all in one place) the wide variety of library projects and research initiatives happening all over the world.

Poster sessions are always very busy so I made sure that I arrived early in order to speak to as many presenters as possible.  There were some stunning posters on display, but it’s not until you get a chance to speak to the presenter about their project that you get a proper feel for their research or the work that they’ve carried out over the last year.

The three posters highlighted below really caught my attention:

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Marvel Maring, USA

Casting a Net from Nebraska to Nicaragua – highlighting the impact of a project between the University of Nebraska library school and a library school in Nicaragua.  This project is an excellent example of the role libraries can play in building social capital; and their potential in delivering value through partnership working. Presenter: Marvel Maring (USA).

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Máximo Moreno Grez, Chile

Chileans Networking towards the Bicentennial – an inspirational project about citizens from small communities in Chile creating their own websites by uploading user generated content via PCs provided by the local library. Presenter: Máximo Moreno Grez (Chile).

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Tina Mortensen, Denmark

Read it, Show it, Promote it – provided some quirky ideas for public libraries to reach non-users, increase visitor numbers, and make the library a fun and interactive, rather than passive experience. Presenters: Michael Larsen and Tina Mortensen (Denmark).

Please note that it was quite noisy and very busy during the poster session, so apologies if I’ve misinterpreted any of these posters. Apologies also for the quality of the photos, which were taken on my iPhone3G.

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Speaking at the IFLA pre-conference: Libraries as Space & Place

Speaking at the IFLA pre-conference: Libraries as Space & Place

Following a fantastic pre-conference session in Torino, I’ve arrived in Milan for the main IFLA conference. It’s a few degrees cooler here so the Scottish skin is coping slightly better with the heat! 😉

I had a free day on Saturday to explore the city; and what a wonderful city it is!  Milan is so much more beautiful than I expected as I’d heard from others that it was quite an ugly, industrial city.  Nothing could be further from the truth! Since arriving I’ve had the opportunity to explore some beautiful green spaces, cathedrals and even participated in a salsa music festival in the park!

Today, however, I’m spending the full day at the conference venue.  The programme is jam packed full of sessions that are relevant to my research area.  Unfortunately, the three sessions I’m most excited about: Public Libraries and Metropolitan Libraries; Statistics and Evaluation; and Management & Marketing; are all on at the same time, so I’m dipping in and out of each one.

This afternoon there’s a keynote speech from Alistair Black, in the Libraries for Young Adults and Library Buildings & Equipment section…I think this might be a conference highlight for me! 🙂

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