Should our training module concentrate on the impact of public or on academic libraries? It is easy to respond both at the same time, – and there is clearly a need for both capabilities “out there”. But then we face a pedagogical problem. Should we plan for a “mixed audience” – of public and academic library staff – with the same curriculum for both?
Our task is to design a one day course on statistics based advocacy – within a broader IFLA program – aimed at library associations. But should we teach library impact assessment in general – regardless of context – or would it be more effective to develop context-specific courses – one for public, one for academic, and maybe one for school libraries, say?
In the public library field, we would mainly be interested in the impact on the local – and regional – community, I presume: which may include literacy, health, employment, economy, social participation and institution building, and other dimensions of local development. In the academic field, the focus is more on the library’s measurable contribution to learning and research production. School libraries fall somewhere in the middle, since schools and their libraries are educational institutions – but generally with strong connections to their local communities.
We need to have a free and frank discussion about this before the meeting in Hague, I feel. Below I provide some views from the e-mail discussion so far.
In a letter to the network I wrote – not as a conclusion, but requesting comments:
- The task of the working group (WG) established in Milan is
- to design a teaching module within the IFLA advocacy training program
- to support its practical testing in the field during the spring 2010
- The module – and the corresponding one day course – will (at least initially) be focused on the use of statistics for advocacy in public libraries
- Are we agreed that it’s only focussing on public libraries? Remember the primary target audience is library associations who will have a wider remit.
- [TH] On the public versus all libraries, I’m not sure – and hope Fiona [Bradley] (or others) can clarify IFLA’s intentions – in the shorter and longer run .
- [FB] The training course would focus on the use of statistics for advocacy by library associations on behalf of public libraries and others, using global library statistics as a basis. This may also need to include a component on how public libraries are themselves trained to collect such statistics, and how to develop statistical measures to meet local needs.
- I would suggest that we focus on advocacy, lib associations as a vehicle for advocacy, and then in terms of all libraries. Public libraries will of necessity be the largest component probably but categorizing right now might limit our thinking a bit – when we are still in a creative and formative stage. We want to prepare people to gather info on libraries and literacy wherever it can be had!
- We must focus on advocacy and added value (economic value) of libraries. Public libraries should be probably associated as a way for us to optimise any outcomes on the comunity and for which we have to evaluate the impact by appropriate statistics.
- As an academic libarian I an aware of the fact that (at least in Italy) we need a great advocacy action in academic libraries too.
- I agree that academic and school libraries should be included. Of course, in each country there are differences, but usually academic institutions tend to require their librarians to have professional library training. Academic librarians should be able to bring their knowledge to the workshop.
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See the comment by Markku Laitinen