6 ways to get things done for your academic library in 2014

Three yachtsWhat direction are you going to take in 2014? What is the destination and is everyone aligned and on the same path to get there? I have listed my six points that could help make your 2014 vision a reality.

  1. Envision and experience where you are a year from now. Where would you like to be a in a year’s time? What would your typical working day look like? And your conversations with academics and senior institutional management? Envision that.
    I suggest that you do the following exercise either individually or with your team to help focus on what you really want. You might decide to think of the library as a whole or rather focus on a particular area. Try not to judge this until you’ve tried it for yourself. Be open; it won’t take long.
    In a quiet and undisturbed place, close your eyes and go into your imagination.

    It is the end of 2014: See the things around you, your staff, your academics, your students: what are they doing, saying about you and your library and its services? You are financially healthy. What images do you see, what colours, what lighting; what words come up, what sounds, and what feelings? Just immerse yourself for a couple of minutes in that moment, and experience it.
    You have captured what you really want. The next step is to immediately use this positive energy to plan how to make this real.


  2. Set down the steps to make your end of 2014 vision a reality. After using your positive experience and visualisations as your basis, list the big and small steps you need to get there and make those changes together with your team. Who is going to do what, when with what result? Your team will be more motivated and committed to thinking with you on how to make this really happen when engaging with you in this process. Develop your strategy and concrete objectives for 2014 together.

  3. Make your objectives SMART to make your strengths and successes more transparent. Use SMART objectives (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) to help achieve your goals. You will get more in focus what specifically you want to achieve and how during the process of developing your measurable objectives. Formalising these SMART objectives and sharing them (on any level) and thus making yourself accountable to them, will further motivate you to achieving them. In addition, having SMART objectives will make it easier to report on your successes. For more information on how to set up SMART objectives, see the Chartered Management Institute’s Setting SMART Objectives Checklist 231


  4. Look back to look forward. Whilst thinking about how to make this year a great one, you need to look back to look forward. Where did things go well, and where did they not? When was the last time you evaluated your services together with the team who created and maintained them? Consider a workshop to look at how you do things now and how you could do them differently. It is also a good way to motivate your team to do more in the future by starting with where you are now, building on their work and then moving forward.
    Proud2Know facilitates such workshops: mail info@proud2know.eu or skype “vanessaproudman” to find out more.

  5. Consider some of the areas that you’d like to master more effectively or where you’d like to innovate. When considering what you’re good at and where you need to do more this year, a whole range of areas for further development could come to mind:

    You might want to make your processes more efficient to enable you to use your valuable and stringent resources more shrewdly. What tasks need more people and which need less? Which internal process are you going to improve through automation in 2014?
    Alternatively, you may want to help your institution to save costs by contributing more effectively to efficiency across your institution. You could spend some more time in 2014 acquiring more business intelligence on what is going on amongst other service institutions at your organisation further building relations with them, identifying opportunities and avoiding the duplication of effort.

    In these hard economic times, you may need to think of creative new income streams through new pathways for sponsorship or crowdfunding. For example, see Forbes’ Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites for Fundraising. Select at least one asset (collection or knowledge) you or your institution has that could be of interest to a particular group. Can you make that more easily accessible to them where they’d be willing to pay for that access?

    Alternatively, what causes do you and your stakeholders believe in, e.g. open scholarship in open access or data? Would certain groups be willing to contribute in kind with personnel or financially be they from within the institution or external to it to help you make faster progress? How are you going to support your researchers with Horizon 2020 and open access?
    Have you invested in valuable membership to SPARC Europe, LIBER, ARL or CNI whose strong networks and expertise can help you make faster progress? Renew your membership or take out a new one to give you access to more specialised knowledge.

    And last but not least: What training programme will help you make the best of your staff in 2014?

  6. Consider drawing up an innovation strategy for more growth with less stress. How are you going to keep up with new academic demands within the current financial climate? By having a well-considered strategy, you can take some of the stress off dealing with new ideas and areas of opportunity. Having a budget line to address innovation or having a policy where a certain of amount of personnel or other resources must focus on innovation will help your library deliver.

    176979199How does your staff currently get informed of the latest developments in new service areas, e.g. data management, is everyone doing it in their own way? Do you have dedicated staff just for innovation or an innovation day for the library?

    As far as new service development is concerned, a first step is to specifically define the resources you have to invest in which of your strategic areas, e.g. open access or data management. Pinpointing what you are really good at, reminding yourself of the project experience and experts you have in-house will help you make choices and target your efforts. What goes beyond that can be resolved by forging partnerships with other service providers or libraries. Which partnerships are you going to forge or nurture in 2014 to allow you to experiment with new ideas at lower risk?

    Also consider that if you are short of time, whether using current staff or other institutional partnerships are the most effective way of getting something done. Using short-term external impartial expertise might save you money, time and effort in the long run. Proud2Know can help you make things happen: mail info@proud2know.eu or skype “vanessaproudman” to find out how.

Let me end by wishing you all A Happy New Year.

What is your strategy for getting things done in 2014? Do share it with the community below.

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