Advocating in tough economic times: the story, the data, or both?

When many organizations are competing for limited resources, the importance of communication cannot be overemphasized. The LLAMA MAES (Measurement, Assessment and Evaluation Section) Discussion Group will tackle the question of how to convey the value of libraries at its session on Saturday, July 11, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in the Lake Huron room of the Hilton.

Dr. Larry Nash White, Assistant Professor and Library Science Program Coordinator at East Carolina University, will present an overview of the concepts behind the “springboard story.” As espoused by leadership consultant Steve Denning in the private sector during the last decade, the purpose of the springboard story is to catalyze understanding and subsequently drive change. Dr. White, who can draw upon a background that includes management experience in retail and in libraries, will help the group explore whether the springboard story can be an effective approach for libraries during the current environment of retrenchment.

Dr. Neal K. Kaske, Director of the NOAA Central & Regional Libraries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is well known in library assessment circles as a researcher and a faculty member. He will offer an example that focuses on turning data into information by quantifying the value of online database and journal use.

Information will also be distributed about a pilot project being conducted at North Carolina State University by Cory Lown, NCSU Libraries Fellow, and Hilary Davis, Assistant Head of Collection Management. Lown and Davis have constructed a database that generates data-driven profiles for academic departments and the level of support for library resources that can be used for evaluation, assessment, and decision-making.

Join the group for a lively discussion and exchange of ideas about approaches to take in communicating the value of libraries. The LLAMA/MAES Discussion Group co-chairs are Ken Wise, University of Tennessee Libraries ( and Kathy Brown, North Carolina State University Libraries (

Background reading:

John B. Harer and Larry Nash White. 2007. “Using Stories to Manage

Libraries: Adapting the Springboard Story from the Private Sector for Managing Library Services.” Technical Services Quarterly, vol. 25 (1):


Neal K. Kaske. 2008. “Turning Data into Information: Details behind Telling the Library Valuation Story.” Library Assessment Conference 2008 Workshop, Seattle. (

Cory Lown. 2009. “Using Data You Already Have to Demonstrate Value.”

LAUNC-CH Research Forum, Chapel Hill, NC, May 20, 2009.