http://kenhaycock.com Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:09:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 Time for a Time-Out http://kenhaycock.com/time-time/ http://kenhaycock.com/time-time/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 06:38:36 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1984 Over the past few years I have been writing a blog each week, with a wonderful following of several hundred loyal readers. I kept thinking it would be difficult to find something to write about each week but people keep giving me such wonderful stories and issues! I am starting to take more time to […]

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back soonOver the past few years I have been writing a blog each week, with a wonderful following of several hundred loyal readers. I kept thinking it would be difficult to find something to write about each week but people keep giving me such wonderful stories and issues!

I am starting to take more time to pause and reflect and need to finish up a number of research and writing projects so I am going to write fewer blogs over the summer but intersperse them with some of the more popular ones of the past few years. Many have joined us and we will select only those with currency.

We hope that you will not feel that it is “deja vue” all over again but read them with fresh eye, interests and critical acuity.eEnjoy the break!

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Fee-Based Programs – a New Business Model for Uncertain Times http://kenhaycock.com/fee-based-programs-new-business-model-uncertain-times/ http://kenhaycock.com/fee-based-programs-new-business-model-uncertain-times/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 11:30:17 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1980 Guest blog by Deborah Walker, Director for Library Strategy at the Markham (ON) Public Library. Deborah can be reached at  dwalker@markham.library.on.ca. Website: www.markhampubliclibrary.ca Municipal budget pressures are increasing. Traditional revenue streams, such as overdue fines, are flat-lining or in decline. There’s uncertainty on many levels – how resilient is print vs. ebooks? Is digital content […]

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mplGuest blog by Deborah Walker, Director for Library Strategy at the Markham (ON) Public Library. Deborah can be reached at  dwalker@markham.library.on.ca.
Website: www.markhampubliclibrary.ca

Municipal budget pressures are increasing. Traditional revenue streams, such as overdue fines, are flat-lining or in decline. There’s uncertainty on many levels – how resilient is print vs. ebooks? Is digital content drifting away from us? Will our current customers still be with us a decade from now?

A gift of uncertainty is that it makes it easier to question the way we’ve always done things, and easier to experiment with new concepts and business models. An example of this is my library’s fee-based business model for programs, called the Learning Place.

What is the Learning Place?

Launched in 2010 and still expanding, the Learning Place (LP) initiative has introduced classroom-style programs made up of 8 weeks of hour-long sessions that are designed to support the learning outcomes identified in the public school curricula of our jurisdiction. LP programs – such as Creative Writing, Essay Writing, Get Ready for French, Public Speaking, Math Genius, Reading for Meaning, and Study Skills – run with a maximum class size of 15 students; the registration fee is currently $51 per LP program. LP programs are delivered by qualified teachers (working on contract), rather than by staff or volunteers.

What About Free Programs? 

We still offer the more traditional stream of “core” programs – the story times and book clubs – that are delivered by staff on a drop-in, no-fee basis. The Learning Place has not replaced or diminished the core; rather, it provides an alternative programming stream as an option within the broad spectrum of learning opportunities we offer.

How did we get to the Learning Place?

Almost all public libraries offer programs that support educational achievement – such as homework clubs, reading buddies, after-school tutoring – programs that tend to entail a significant investment of staff time to recruit, train and coordinate a body of volunteers to deliver the programs.

Many libraries also offer fee-based programs, often developed by staff on a branch-by-branch basis through contracts with external presenters and program-providers. Before the Learning Place, this was our practice, and it resulted in a patchwork of inconsistency in terms of quality, administration, marketing and pricing. Registration levels and revenue results were lack-luster, and staff were generally dissatisfied with program-development workload in relation to the sometimes disappointing results.

There had to be a better way forward, and our strategic planning process at the time provided the context for a re-think of our literacy and learning-based programs. What outcomes did we want to achieve? What difference did we want to make in people’s lives? How could we design programs that would have a measurable positive impact on participants’ skills, aptitudes and lives?

Our answer – the Learning Place – transformed the concept of education-support programs through a planning framework of quality control, embedded library messaging, and centralized planning.

Quality Control

The LP business plan started with socio-demographic data indicating that our community places a strong value on academic excellence. There was already a crowded local marketplace for ancillary education, with a wide range of private-sector tutoring and after-school student learning programs on offer.

To define our niche in this marketplace, our strategy was to invest heavily in the Learning Place ramp-up, injecting high quality standards into the content and delivery of LP programs. To ensure the quality of Learning Place content, we hired qualified teachers to develop the curriculum for each program, with learning outcomes linked directly to public school curricula. As owners of the program content, we roll out LP programs at teaching locations (our branches) across our city as part of the seasonal calendar cycle of library programs, ensuring consistently high standards of content quality and consistent pricing in all library branches. To ensure the quality of program delivery and the learning experience, we hire qualified teachers with strong expertise in teaching skills, student engagement, and ability to deliver content effectively.

Embedding Library Messaging

Another benefit of in-house development and ownership of Learning Place program content is that we are able to build library messaging into the curriculum of every program, connecting students to relevant library collections and services, and highlighting the value that libraries bring to the community.

Running Programs More Efficiently

Another LP objective was to streamline programming-related workflows and find more efficient ways to develop, administer and deliver fee-based library programming. This has been achieved through centralization of curriculum development, scheduling, hiring, contract negotiation, program evaluation and program administration. It has eliminated duplication of effort across the branches and freed up staff time for more core “free” programming and other service priorities in the branches.

Fee vs. Free

We are of course sensitive to the social equity issue, understanding that the culture of our profession has traditionally been adverse to the concept of fee-based library programs. Having said that, our reality is that for decades our municipality has mandated us to generate revenue from library programs, and the Learning Place does that very effectively. LP programs have found a ready and willing market, with strong rates of registration, high fill rates, reduced rates of program cancellation (due to low enrollments), and steadily increasing year over year revenues.

After school on weekdays and all day Saturdays, the SUVs pour into our parking lots, delivering children to Learning Place programs. In an environment of growing uncertainty, that certainly looks healthy. That looks to me like our libraries are being perceived by the community as education spaces, as places that provide a platform for learning success, as places that add value to their lives.

Time for Deep Change?

The success of our Learning Place experience suggests that it may be time for public libraries to transition away from “we are a public service”, and “everything we offer must be free”, toward a mix of fee and free, and toward a more entrepreneurial, more risk-taking mindset that is willing to explore new ideas. Perhaps the only certainty right now, is that to do nothing, to change nothing, is the most dangerous option.

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Do We Need Different Revenue Streams? http://kenhaycock.com/need-different-revenue-streams/ http://kenhaycock.com/need-different-revenue-streams/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 03:57:02 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1975 Marc Andreesen (he of web development fame) outlines the most obvious eight business models for the news for now and in the future, as reported by Justin Fox in this month’s issue of The Atlantic. It occurred to me when reading these, that libraries are also looking at different models of raising funds, but not […]

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RevenueMarc Andreesen (he of web development fame) outlines the most obvious eight business models for the news for now and in the future, as reported by Justin Fox in this month’s issue of The Atlantic.

It occurred to me when reading these, that libraries are also looking at different models of raising funds, but not always with a clear framework. This might be interesting for a beginning discussion.

      • Advertising. This is obvious in the news, less obvious in libraries yet we have taken it up as urban public libraries sell space on library cards for a set period of time, accept sponsorships for programs (summer reading comes to mind) and advertise book sellers on their web site whereby customers can order a title not readily available through their local library.  But what do we mean by advertising? What are our policies? What are our goals in developing an advertising revenue stream?
      • Subscriptions. We don’t tend to have subscription except that the movement toward the term “members” rather than “patrons” or “customers” tends to denote a subscription model, whether through a dedicated fee (the province of Alberta, e.g., requires charges for library cards which some systems cover) or recognition that tax dollars are a levy and the registration fee providing formal membership.
      • Premium content. Now this would be an anathema for most libraries (think advocacy for net neutrality) but we do provide premium services for a fee. And this is happening more and more. (Next week there will be a guest blog on fee for service in a public library.) The most common would be services for business. But others include special programs. And then there are fines: is this a premium (extended use fee) or a punishment (fines like the police)—or a micropayment, see below.
      • Conferences and events. There seems to be a large market here, sometimes taken up by community centers and other not-for-profit organizations. I wonder how long it will be before we are offering special events (other than our usual fundraisers and used book sales which fall into this category). Many community issues could be addressed in this way for nominal fee, within policies of course and with clearly articulated costs (overhead, e.g.).
      • Cross-media (your news generates books movies etc.). There has been talk for years of the library as publisher but it has never been taken up as a business model really.
      • Crowd-funding. We may need to investigate this further and develop some of our specialized software and initiatives and innovations through crowd funding. It would certain provide a platform and profile…
      • Micropayments. This is usually defined as a payment of a few dollars. We are masters at this with fines, e.g., but I suspect that most on-site payments cost more to collect than they are worth (but it teaches them a lesson! Decidedly the moral high ground…).
      • Philanthropy. We are getting better at this. We are even collecting evidence and coming to realize that the biggest donors tend to be non-users so we have broadened our appeals. Many directors/CEOs see this as an important role and, especially in academic libraries, are moving vigorously in this area, of necessity.

We need to talk more openly and frankly about revenue, beyond the local council or broader institution. We need to set policies and establish responsibilities and targets for improved support. This may be one way of looking at it.

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Trends for Libraries http://kenhaycock.com/trends-libraries/ http://kenhaycock.com/trends-libraries/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 01:35:54 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1970 At the recent Future of Libraries institute in Toronto, Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) provided an overview of trends that could lead to opportunities for libraries and librarians who want to have greater community impact and profile. Gary is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area, and editor of […]

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GaryAt the recent Future of Libraries institute in Toronto, Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) provided an overview of trends that could lead to opportunities for libraries and librarians who want to have greater community impact and profile.

Gary is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area, and editor of the “essential reading” INFOdocket. He was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

Here are his top five (with of course my editorializing…):

1. Privacy and privacy education. We know the issues. We have the knowledge. We are respected and credible. We should be offering information sessions and advocacy on behalf of consumers of all ages.

2. Open web collection development. There is so much available—especially the really useful sources after the first page of Google returns, that we should be capturing these and entering them in our databases for customer use.

3. Human curation. We talk the talk. So how do we demonstrate that a human search engine can be superior to algorithms? How do we show that we can deliver the perfect content for the moment, that someone wants to share immediately… the content perfect for the context. Is this type of reference really dead?

4. Digital literacy. We know about the divide. Indeed years ago Bill Gates noted that the digital divide was not about equipment but about use. In schools we used to distinguish “physical” access and “intellectual” access. Who provides programs on the credibility of sources, whether for school assignments or seniors’ health needs?

5. Personal web and digital archives. Wow. This is big and growing – taking our expertise to help individuals to handle their own records and files, how to organize, find, re-find, through hierarchies, controlled vocabulary, classifications. And how to use a way back machine for retrieval.

So much to do! So little time!

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What is Your Brand? http://kenhaycock.com/brand/ http://kenhaycock.com/brand/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 08:52:00 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1966 There are many ways of looking at your brand, from an identifiable term, logo or phrase to a specific feature that makes you unique from others. At the recent Future of Libraries institute http://www.thefutureoflibraries.org/, leading directors discussed their unique value proposition in a community or academy (beyond pandering, glad tidings and clichés) and their “brand”. […]

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BrandThere are many ways of looking at your brand, from an identifiable term, logo or phrase to a specific feature that makes you unique from others.

At the recent Future of Libraries institute http://www.thefutureoflibraries.org/, leading directors discussed their unique value proposition in a community or academy (beyond pandering, glad tidings and clichés) and their “brand”. One director took a family member to the library who was amazed at what was on offer (“you’re f***ing kidding, right?) . Todd Kyle posted on this as a potential marking campaign (only somewhat tongue in cheek) at http://nplceo.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/new-marketing-campaign/

So, my point? Well, it is fine to have a brand but you have to deliver. Moreover, you have to be consistent, congruent and aligned throughout the organization.

My example this week? And no, I am not being negative, just making the observation…

On Saturday I was visiting a friend in another area of the country. We went early (well not too early) on a Saturday morning to the farmer’s market. This is a regular urban market in a building. It was large, bright and busy.

I was interested to see that the public library (a dynamic urban affair by reputation) had a sign, so I wandered over. I am not sure what I expected but what I saw was a semi-closed room (every other booth was open) and a table with children’s colouring gear and paper. There were three or four young people (teens), perhaps volunteers, and a couple of preschoolers colouring and playing. Although there was a big sign warning people not to just dump their kids (stated somewhat more elegantly) there was no sign of a parent or caregiver on quick look.

That was it. Well, there was a bookshelf of “tired titles”.

Unrealistic Expectations?

Perhaps at least one terminal (there is wifi in the building, indeed in the city) and a sign about the amazing resources?  Perhaps a kiosk of bestsellers to borrow? Perhaps a e-station from which to request and pickup/return next week? Perhaps an hourly discussion group? I don’t know… but a room for preschoolers to colour, only? Really?

So what is the takeaway?

For the user, the library is a good place for the small percentage of the population who have preschoolers to take their kids to colour, and you might borrow some books too.

For the Library, this may or may not be the “modern” image or brand you wish to project to an audience of thousands of people wandering by…

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Do Library Managers Need to Step Up? http://kenhaycock.com/library-managers-need-step/ http://kenhaycock.com/library-managers-need-step/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 09:41:48 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1962 In yesterday’s National Post newspaper, columnist Rick Spence quotes leadership expert Bruce Tulgan (see his books: It's Okay to Manage Your Boss, Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, It's Okay to be the Boss, and Managing Generation X) on “under-management”. Tulgan defines under-management as a state in which leaders consistently fail to provide what he calls […]

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imagesIn yesterday’s National Post newspaper, columnist Rick Spence quotes leadership expert Bruce Tulgan (see his books: It's Okay to Manage Your Boss, Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, It's Okay to be the Boss, and Managing Generation X) on “under-management”.

Tulgan defines under-management as a state in which leaders consistently fail to provide what he calls the five management basics:

  • clear statements of performance requirements and expectations;
  • support and guidance regarding the resources available to meet those expectations;
  • accurate measuring and documentation of individuals’ performance;
  • regular candid feedback on individuals’ performance; and
  • allocating performance-based rewards or detriments.

Failure to model these (and most managers do not, apparently) leads to “cultures of neglect, negativity and constant complaints” (ever worked in one of them?), few of which reach management’s ears.

When pressed, these managers produce underwhelming excuses for their under-performance. “With increasing competition and flatter organizations, they don’t have time to give direct reports consistent direction. They also complain of insufficient training in the tools and techniques of successful management, and by the way, they don’t have sufficient resources, either.”

So what do under-leaders do all day?

Tulgan says they spend too much time doing their employees’ jobs. “We find that the vast majority of managers spend an inordinate amount of their management time in what we call ‘firefighting mode,’ solving one urgent problem after another — usually problems that could have been avoided with better planning or identified and solved more easily at an earlier point.”

When they do tackle the bigger issues, these people manage on autopilot. “They communicate with their direct reports mostly in low-structure, low-substance conversations punctuated by way too many mediocre meetings and way too many emails.”

Tulgan’s solution to underperformance is decidedly old-school: Hold structured daily dialogues with your direct reports. You’ll identify emerging problems and personnel issues sooner, use resources more intelligently, and encourage individual initiative, accountability and innovation.

Bad management may be widespread, but it’s not difficult to fix. All it takes is awareness, says Tulgan: “When managers do realize they are under-managing and make concerted efforts to concentrate on back-to-basics management, they achieve significant measurable improvements in performance almost immediately.”

Thanks to Rick Spence for this summary, much in his words.

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Human Resources http://kenhaycock.com/human-resources/ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 05:46:21 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1955 In the October issue of the Harvard Business Review, Peter Cappelli asks some simple but striking questions. He is focused on HR neophytes, but I doubt that most HR professionals in your organization could answer these questions. This is especially critical as more and more line managers take on significant HR responsibilities. So ask your […]

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Human Resources arrows Recruit Train cycleIn the October issue of the Harvard Business Review, Peter Cappelli asks some simple but striking questions. He is focused on HR neophytes, but I doubt that most HR professionals in your organization could answer these questions. This is especially critical as more and more line managers take on significant HR responsibilities.

So ask your HR director these questions. They should be pleased by your interest, not threatened by your challenge…

What are our immediate and shorter-term talent needs? What are the best schools to address these needs and how do you know? What are our turnover rates for each position? Who are our best employees for each position and how do we know? How do we track them? How do we develop others to be like them?

How should we meet our talent needs? Do we buy senior staff (incentives), build them (leadership development) or borrow them (contractors)?

How can we do a better job of hiring? What is our strategy for recruitment, selection, and winnowing down a list to avoid bias? How do we train our selection teams? Is it based on evidence or personal opinion?

How can we develop internal talent? Do we use an apprenticeship model? Learn by doing? Do we provide tuition reimbursement, as it is on their time and largely at their expense?

How can we manage employees’ career paths?

Do we have a coaching plan in place? A succession management (not planning for replacement) plan? Where can I see it in writing?

These are legitimate questions. Why are we afraid to ask them? Too often the HR manager is a “contract manager”. They know labor relations.

But are they adding strategic HR value to your organization? If not, why are they on your senior team?

 

 

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What Can A Library Do? http://kenhaycock.com/can-library/ Tue, 22 Apr 2014 10:09:20 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1951 A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Dan Rasmus on uncertainty and the future(s) of libraries. Picking up on a question he posed, and reframing it somewhat, I would ask that we consider these questions (an interesting exercise for senior staff perhaps). If I was a mayor or city manager, or […]

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OstrichA couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Dan Rasmus on uncertainty and the future(s) of libraries. Picking up on a question he posed, and reframing it somewhat, I would ask that we consider these questions (an interesting exercise for senior staff perhaps).

If I was a mayor or city manager, or a president or provost, or a superintendent or principal, and had serious issues to address, and budgetary pressures:

What would we hire a library to do? (precisely, with accountability and measurements, what problems would be solved?)

Who else might apply? (removing blinkers, if money is on the table, what other agencies might reasonably step forward, in whole or in part?)

What is the unique value proposition? (is there something that only libraries and librarians can deliver? Or is this something that is shared or even duplicated with others?)

How do we measure success? (what is the return on investment? how do we ensure that we make a unique difference?)

These indeed are the questions, worded differently, that are being asked.

How do we respond?

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How to Win Friends… Not http://kenhaycock.com/win-friends/ http://kenhaycock.com/win-friends/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:23:13 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1943 Over the past couple of weeks I have once again been accused of being negative in these blogs and disparaging of librarians. I prefer to think of myself as a critical friend. Indeed, my credentials border on stellar in advocating for this profession over 40 years so I don’t think that I am simply negative. […]

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Over the past couple of weeks I have once again been accused of being negative in these blogs and disparaging of librarians.

I prefer to think of myself as a critical friend.

Indeed, my credentials border on stellar in advocating for this profession over 40 years so I don’t think that I am simply negative. I just wish that the library world would stop giving me so much fodder for a weekly blog. There seem to be no shortage of peculiarities. Yes, there are great positive stories – you can read about them in many other places, along with the testimonials and “glad tidings”.

But sometimes we also need to stop and think a bit…

Greg Lucas

Greg Lucas – Good choice? Bad choice? The choice.

After a long hiatus the Governor of California appointed a new State Librarian. Seems like the poor man is not a professional librarian, the first commentary by the state’s librarians. This of course was an outrage. Not too much praise about him being an advocate, a journalist, friend of the governor, well connected…

A few senior librarians suggested several provocative and rather perverse questions that “the leadership” (the state association executive board) needed to put to him: what did he know about x, y and z? where did he find out? what was he going to do to improve the lot of California’s poor libraries? And, yes, a few were much more thoughtful in recommending forming partnerships and working together.

One even wanted proof that he had a library card and used a library. This in denial of the fact that the strongest supporters of libraries tend to be people who never use them…

The state executive board issued a thoughtful statement of welcome. In contrast, the same day their executive director was quoted in the LA Times as saying it was an outrage that he was not a librarian (she is now pursuing “new opportunities”).

Some respected library leaders objected that they were not personally consulted about the statement (well, that would have taken a few years to get all of the words right, and what did you elect these people for anyway?).

There is even pressure that he should get an MLIS degree while state librarian and apparently one school has suggested that they would work with him. Really? Really? Do I want my primary state advocate wasting his time taking LIS courses on nights and weekends? To what end? I would rather take an hour or two and inform him of the issues and the benefits that could accrue to residents with his support and let him have the time to do the work for which he was hired.

Work Together To Make It Work

He has the job. Get over it. Make it work.

Couldn’t we follow the simple rules of influence?

Welcome him and support him.

Get to know him and inform him, simply and respectfully.

Offer our expertise. Connect with his deepest values and beliefs.

Build a network of colleagues for him. Ensure that he knows the best and the brightest of the other state librarians.

Identify our unique value proposition and unique contribution.

Offer our support yet again.

He may not be a librarian but bleating will not make it so, and will destroy any possibility of good will and support.

Just shoot me in the foot again.

 

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About the Competitors http://kenhaycock.com/competitors/ http://kenhaycock.com/competitors/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 13:21:34 +0000 http://kenhaycock.com/?p=1938 Wandering down the streets of Washington. Thinking about libraries and competitors, for time, for service, for convenience. Saw this place. Makes you stop and think. Busy, and still in business…

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Wandering down the streets of Washington.

Thinking about libraries and competitors, for time, for service, for convenience.

Saw this place.

Makes you stop and think.

Busy, and still in business…

photo

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