COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
Outcome 5a. Apply marketing principles to demonstrate and promote the value of libraries and information agencies.
This final project took me through all aspects of marketing for a public library program. It included community research and justification, SWOT analysis, program goals and objectives, marketing objectives, communication goals, target audience, evaluation tools, timeline creations, budget, time and staff considerations, and creation of examples of marketing channel messaging. I believe that this experience gave me many tools, that in future programming plans, will allow me to identify community needs through research and relationships, and develop realistic marketing plans based on a solid evaluation. As I have progressed through school, I continued to learn the importance of embedding myself in my community through ongoing conversations and relationships. A lot of time can be saved, and better programs created with the knowledge of available community expertise.
Marketing can be large or small but relies heavily on knowing your products and services, scanning community history, current conditions, and user aspirations. Marketing is about how we design a message and service that users will find value in. I realize now, that these projects do not happen overnight, and are budgeted for annually unless I write a grant for additional funding. The relationships with staff, when considering marketing ideas, are critical to working as a team, maximizing resources, and being flexible to change plans as goals and aspirations can change quickly for users, outside of the library.
Flexibility is getting feedback, conducting evaluations, and responding quickly to maximize the impact of marketing projects. Though a single librarian may have been central to the design and success of a marketing project, I believe that it is important to include other staff for learning and professional development and conduct marketing that promotes inclusivity and cultural exchange. This means considering all ages, interests, backgrounds, and marketing programs that enrich the understanding of diverse communities that are part of our American and world fabric. Intellectual freedom and privacy should be strongly considered when designing marketing that is sensitive, and protective of minority communities that may be under attack. If we are truly inclusive, our marketing must reach all members of the community, giving them options that serve individual community needs and dreams, providing a safe and creative place to learn.
Outcome 5b. Apply advocacy principles to demonstrate and promote the value of libraries and information agencies
Writing a library grant proposal may seem like a basic exercise in capturing funding, but really grants are love letters for resource advocacy, in this case, a heavily used and valuable piece of Chicago history. The funding is to protect the Hull House Collection from overuse, while also advocating for technology improvements that will increase the availability and size of the digital collection. Advocacy is a call to action, articulating actions and goals that need partnership to be achieved.
Advocating to increase the digital collection size and technology platform of the Hull House Collection fulfills the UIC (University of Illinois Chicago) libraries mission; “…creates, preserves and provides access to knowledge and shares expertise to foster user success”. I found that the digital part of the Hull House Collection was on several different subject websites and that the physical archives collection was suffering from overuse. Advocating for the most popular collection in the archive brings value to researchers from all over the world, increases the reputation of the collection, and promotes the long relationship that UIC has had in the history of Hull House.
We, too are in a time of great social change and upheaval in the world order. The lessons of Jane Addams work are just as applicable today as they were in the early 20th century. Social complacency has led to a political environment that threatens our democracy. New social movements are hungry for knowledge that allows them to advocate for the same types of under-served communities that Jane Addams did one hundred years ago.
Outcome 5d. Demonstrate effective professional communication to achieve a common understanding.
The essential nature of information as defined by Merriam Webster as “knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction”. The relevance to society is that we would have no ability to build human institutions, educate, learn, or understand our world without study that produces information, and the means to manage and organize it. Much time is spent determining that there are problems, but without information production, gathering and assessment, there would be no mechanism for society to advance, and problems to be understood, supported, and solved.
This slideshow walks Hull House Grant stakeholders through the process of the grant: Project Narratives, Deliverables, Project Plan, Project Management & Staff, Digital Specifications, Metadata Specifications, Storage & Delivery Requirements, Intellectual Property Rights, Budget, User Input, and Project Evaluation Plan. There is information in bullet points, paired with images from the Hull House Collections. Much of this information is for librarians working in a digital repository, and the slideshow gives them a working picture of the project, an important part of selling a grant idea to peers when there are most likely other projects that are also competing for funds and staff resources. Creating a compelling slideshow is a necessary skill to win institutional support and an important way to communicate with administrators who may not understand the importance and value of special collections.
Collaboration is made possible by a common understanding of ideas and plans, allowing change and growth that benefits librarians, and library users. Business writing should tell a relatable story, targeting a topic and audience, and use familiar templates for business documents. The content should be the feature, not the layout and font styles. Business writing is especially important for contemporary librarians because their audiences are well beyond the walls of their workplace. Gaining the attention of potential collaborators, Funders, stakeholders, business, and political leaders requires skill in writing narratives and illustrating big data to demonstrate ideas and value.