Strategic Planning Takes a Leap Forward with Data Analytics

Analytics On Demand

Posted 12/3/2015

By Jackie Sullivan and Sarah Withers

Mastering data analytics for public library administrators and their board of trustees is a critical success factor for planning and community engagement. The South Carolina State Library wanted to optimize the strategic planning resources that public libraries currently have available including collection strategy, materials investment, outreach, and programming to drive more value to the communities they serve.

Read more…

Embedding Your Library in the Community: How to Overcome Obstacles and Lead Transformational Change

By Steven V. Potter, Director and CEO at Mid-Continent Public Library

What happens when your strategic plan blocks attempts at innovative programs?
One of the most innovative and community-changing programs I have seen in several years is Career Online High School. The immediate impact of this program at the early-adopting libraries was stunning to me. Clearly, a program like Career Online High School provides a very meaningful answer to that tired old question, “Since everyone has a Kindle, do we still need libraries?”

When I saw Career Online High School, I was amazed but unhappy.I know our strategic plan. I know our key performance indicators. I know our demographics and needs. I know Career Online High School does not easily align into our strategic direction, but I also know we have a diverse population and there are people in our community who could use this program. So that’s the end of the story, right? Not so fast! A program like Career Online High School can be a great opportunity to create a partnership with another organization.

Read more…

Public Libraries Get a Boost with Targeted Marketing and Data Analysis

By Kristina Massari

New Analytics On Demand Apps Improve Outreach and Provide Insights to Multi-Branch Systems

Public libraries face challenges demonstrating their value to the communities and stakeholders they serve – just 22% of Americans say they know most or all of the services provided by their public library. To help libraries overcome these barriers, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, has added three new applications to Analytics On Demand, the first affordable big data analytics solution for public libraries. The new apps, Marketing Action (for Patrons and Non-Patrons) and Branch Insights, help libraries deploy targeted direct marketing programs to current and prospective library users, as well as better understand how existing patrons are interacting with individual branches across a system.

Read more…

Data-Driven Marketing: Know Your Community

Analytics tool for Public Libraries

By Gerry Sawchuk

It’s impossible to attend a conference or read a library magazine today without hearing about data-driven decision making, big data, and measuring outcomes. Amidst the increasing “noise” around any trending topic, it can be hard to determine what it means for you and what tools are available to help gather and analyze data—here are some details to help you get started.

Do Analytics Really Matter?

“Big data” and “analytics” are buzzwords for good reason. Businesses in other industries have relied heavily on consumer demographics and data analysis for years. Research shows that businesses that leverage data analytics have stronger financial performance, are able to make better decisions more quickly, and are more likely to execute those decisions as intended.

Why does this matter to you? Libraries are not businesses, right? Many libraries are understandably sensitive to being compared to for-profit businesses. Consider for a moment though, that as a library, your products are the content and services you provide, and that your customers are your patrons. Profit aside, libraries have much to gain by leveraging data to retain and grow customers. Quite simply, there is an opportunity to be better positioned to meet the needs of your patrons.

Read more…

The Education Advantage in a Matter of Words

By Bethany Dotson

At the end of January, I had the unique pleasure to travel to snowy and frigid Chicago to interview Valerie Gross, President and CEO of Howard County Public Library (MD). We were there to discuss Valerie’s ideas, laid out most prominently in her book, Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage.

Read more…

Oh, the places you will go, the things you will see at a PLA Conference!

Gale PLA Conference

By Carrie Stefanski

My first week on the job back in December, I was told to save the date for the 2014 PLA Conference and plan to stay to see David Sedaris. At that moment, I knew I made the right career move. My conference experience was everything I hoped it’d be and the conference itself was a whole lot bigger than I imagined. I had a couple conferences under my belt, but neither matched up to the greatness of PLA.

Read more…

Libraries: Critically important or critically endangered?

By Harmony Faust

Join us for a live Twitter Chat with Valerie Gross, president & CEO of the Howard County Library System in Maryland (Library of the Year 2013) and author of the provocative new title Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage.

Hear Valerie’s thoughts on how to keep your library essential, not optional, and chat with your colleagues about important issues like funding, branding and the perceived value of libraries today.

Read more…