Which Comes First – Strategic Plan or Technology Plan?

Last week at the Future Tech Strategies for Libraries symposium, Rebecca Jones (of Dysart & Jones Associates) spoke about digital strategy. She always has good things to say, so I always listen closely.

She said this (my summary of it): Technology drives what the organization does. So, should the organization’s strategic plan come first, or should the technology plan come first? It’s starting to shift to the technology plan.

On the one hand, if you have a good strategic plan that is including technology … meaning that your tech manager is with it and has helped develop those strategies … then following a good organizational strategy makes sense. That’s how I’ve always operated. There’s no need for a real technology plan, because it’s embedded in the plans of the library.

On the other hand, today’s technology is driving the organization in many ways. Even something as “traditional” as new computer purchases, updating an OS, or replacing a telephone system (doing that this year!) can have a big impact on the organization’s budget, on planning, on training, and on organizational capacity for the year.

Then, when your “new phone system” is moving from an out-of-date system to a VOIP system with unified messaging, hand-off capabilities to a mobile device, internal chat messaging, etc … that can have a HUGE positive impact in how the organization does its work, and can … yes … have a big impact on the library’s strategic plans.

So – what do you think? Chicken or the egg? Strategic plan first, or technology plan first? Please share!

Pic by Kyle Van Horn

Change, Adaptation, and Revolutions in Libraries – my MLA2014 talk

Last week, I gave the opening keynote presentation at the Missouri Library Association‘s annual conference. Fun stuff! My talk swirled around the topics of changes taking place in the library and the technology world; services and processes that we need to adapt in order to be a modern library; and how to start small and larger revolutions in your library and in your job.
Here are my slides – enjoy!

What’s Missing?

Ever wanted to know what your customers think is missing from a service point in your library?

There’s an easy way to find out … just ask! Post something that asks “what’s missing?” and start gathering answers. For example:

  • Want to find out what’s missing on your public PCs? Tape a form to the table by each computer and ask for comments.
  • Have a teen room, and you want to find out what’s missing there? Put up a white board that asks “what’s missing?” (and be prepared for some snarky responses. They’re teens, after all).
  • Have a mobile website or app? Do what my library did. The last link on the main page of our mobile Boopsie app is “What’s Missing? Send us a Suggestion.” Clicking that link leads to an email form that gets sent to me. And believe me, people fill that out!
  • Ask through your library’s social media channels.

You can ask a similar “what’s missing” question on a website, in a room of the library, or even in the stacks. The point is this: if you want to make improvements in the library, you need to find out what’s missing … and fix that stuff.

Pic by crdotx

Google Reader is Going Away – We Will Survive!

Google just announced the demise of Google Reader – a tool I use to read RSS feeds with, and am in pretty much every single day. That’s probably how many of you guys read my blog, too – darn that Google!

But never fear – Stephen Abram is here to help! He has gathered some relevant stories, blog posts, and alternatives together, so you and I don’t have to – go read his post. Looks like I’ll be checking out Feedly, NewsBlur, and The Old Reader for sure.

Here are some other ideas for subscribing to my blog and others:

  • Get a new feed reader (see above).
  • Subscribe with email – great if you don’t subscribe to too many blogs and news sites.
  • Subscribe with Twitter or Facebook. Many blogs and news sites (mine included) post a link to Twitter when a new article is posted. Sort those into a “geek library” list, then go visit it once a day or once a week. Problem solved!

Other options? Let me know in the comments. And – thank you for reading! You’re awesome!

Pic found at Silicon Valley Business Journal

Commit, Already

I attended a vendor presentation last week, and one of the reps said something very interesting about getting a library to 100% self-check. Here’s what he said:

“100% self-check is really easy to get to. You just eliminate any other way. It’s not rocket science.”

For self check and libraries, I know of more than one library “working towards” 90% self check, or they have a goal of a certain percentage. Or they just continue to offer both, with no real goal to stop either of them.

Some questions for you, if you’re in this boat – how much do you want to reach that goal? Is it really a goal? If so, do you know WHY it’s a goal? Is it what your customers want, or does it work better for the organization (not necessarily a bad thing). Is something holding you back? And if so … why?

Obviously, this works with more than just self checkout!

Are you trying to make a change, but you still really have the old way AND the new way still fully functioning? Maybe it’s time to set a deadline for the old process to go away. Maybe you need to rethink the project, ask customers about it, or ask staff how to improve it.

Maybe you simply need to commit, and take that next step.

Pic by Richard Masoner