Statement of Competency 4
Competency 4: Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
The future of any information organization relies on its ability to sustain itself, evolve, and respond to the changing needs of its patrons. Information professionals are actively involved in aspects of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy, and therefore must possess an understanding of related fundamental principles. Regardless of his or her position within an organization, an information professional must take on the role of a leader, who “influences others to adhere to his or her ideas, values, and models of behavior” (Golden, 2015, p. 209). The ALA includes Administration and Management as one of the eight Core Competencies required of graduates of master’s programs in library and information studies (ALA, 2009, p. 4).
The management of an information organization entails the responsibility “to recognize the signs as to whether or not the organization can and should be improved” (Golden, 2015, p. 211). This involves a careful assessment of the current situation, identification of the changes that need to occur, and a decision as to a course of action to be taken. The planning stage is “a process of determining meaningful, achievable, and quantifiable objectives that an organization needs to pursue and then identifying what is needed to implement them” (p. 213). Strategic planning takes long-range goals into account, and focuses the efforts of all members. It includes assessment and evaluation tools that guide performance and make necessary adjustments (p. 215).
The function of advocacy and marketing is “to increase awareness and support for libraries and other information organizations through increased visibility” (Golden, 2015, p. 216). Librarians must build relationships with key stakeholders, and employ marketing methods to demonstrate the value of the library and increase support. Advocacy depends on relationships with decision makers, practical service, an awareness of impact studies, evidence of impact in the community, and a vision for the future. In order to maintain their positions and secure the future of their libraries, “librarians need to demonstrate and publicize their importance” (Haycock, 2014, para. 5). Stakeholders and decision makers must be made aware of the impact of library programs and services for continued support and funding.
The following examples of my work demonstrate my skills in Competency 4:
- Strategic Plan for Buffalo & Erie County Public Library: Part 2, a group project from INFO 204 (Information Professions)
- Community input review, an assignment from INFO 233 (School Library Media Centers)
- School library vision, a project from INFO 233 (School Library Media Centers)
- School library newsletter, personal professional advocacy
This paper is the second of a two-part group project for INFO 204 Information Professions. The second part of the project is a four-year strategic plan based on information supplied by the environmental scan and SWOT analysis from Part 1 of the project. The strategic plan is expressed by specific goals, objectives, and assessment criteria, and is founded on the principles of goal setting theory. As a member of a group of five students, I was responsible for writing the introduction and developing Goals 1 and 2 (pages 3-7).
The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library was chosen because one of our group members is a current employee. I was particularly interested in the project, having been born and raised for 21 years in the area. Although our plan was never presented to the administration, I feel that it is a viable strategy for the organization, and could be taken seriously by the board of directors. The plan is clear evidence of my mastery of long-term planning, and the application of theory to real-world management.
I applied the knowledge and experience I gained in this assignment to developing a strategic plan for an international school library in Switzerland. The plan was well received, embraced, and is now in the process of being implemented. I have since been hired by the school, and am currently working very hard to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in my plan.
INFO 233 Community input review
This paper, which was an assignment for INFO 233 School Library Media Centers, is one component of the vision project below, although it does not appear in its entirety in the final version. The review explores the establishment of a Library Advisory Committee (LAC), and defines and plans its purpose, members, type of input sought, activities, and the documentation and sharing of its input. The LAC constitutes a form of advocacy and marketing to and by its members. Through their involvement, members of the LAC become aware of the impact of the information organization, and themselves become advocates for the continuation and improvement of the organization. This exercise demonstrates my understanding of the importance of building relationships with stakeholders to increase investment, awareness, and support of library services and programs.
INFO 233 School library vision
The school library vision presentation is a culminating project for INFO 233 School Library Media Centers. Developed using Prezi presentation software, the project incorporates various components of planning for the future of a school library, including community input, mission, vision, budget, and assessment. The assignment was to create a presentation of a school library vision for a specific audience. My presentation is aimed at the board of directors and parent organization of the school where I work, although I changed the name for considerations of privacy.
I feel that the presentation is extremely thorough, fulfills all the assignment requirements, and is visually appealing. In fact, I received a grade of 100%. However, I find it far too long to present to a real-world audience. I was asked to speak to the parent organization at my school in September 2017. I did not use my tailor-made presentation because it was too long and boring. Instead, I prepared an outline of talking points and ad-libbed my speech, which was extremely effective. The parent group is now inspired by library plans and developments, and has pledged their support and funds. Although I am proud of my work for this assignment, I am not sure about its usefulness in a real-world situation, where frank discussion and genuine enthusiasm seem far more effective. In any case, this presentation demonstrates my mastery of Competency 4. (But my speech was better.)
Professional school library newsletter to parents and staff
I created this school library newsletter in September 2017 for parents and staff of the international school in Switzerland where I am employed. This work demonstrates my understanding of the impact the organizational setting has on the application of marketing and advocacy. Parents and staff need to be made aware of library programs and services that positively affect the educational environment and outcomes of students. Information presented needs to be visual, concise, and appealing to the audience. Additionally, advocacy efforts should be youth-focused, welcoming, warm, and friendly, rather than cold, fact-oriented, and business-like. This evidence is proof that I understand the point of advocacy, and can apply fundamental principles in a professional setting.
The above work is conclusive proof that I understand Competency 4, and have mastered principles that can be applied in professional situations. My professional experience, although still in its infancy, has built on this knowledge. I am now able to adapt my skills to suit specific organizational settings and target audiences.
American Library Association (2009). Core Competencies of Librarianship. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/sites/ala.org.educationcareers/files/content/careers/corecomp/corecompetences/finalcorecompstat09.pdf
Golden, J. (2015). Management skills. In Hirsch, S. (Ed.), Information Services Today: An Introduction (Chapter 21). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
Haycock, K. (2014). Dr. Ken Haycock on advocacy BEYOND the school library studies. For Whom the Bell Told. Retrieved from http://drmabell.blogspot.ch/2014/11/dr-ken-haycock-on-advocacy-beyond.html