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Tagged with "advocacy"
LISNPN Competition Winners Announced! Tags: CILIP Advocacy

Over the last couple of months, LISNPN has run an advocacy competition in association with CILIP. The aim has been to promote libraries, and the prizes are attendance at a couple of excellent CILIP conferences. We can now reveal the winners, as judged by CILIP CEO Annie Mauger, Past President Biddy Fisher, former New Professionals Coordinator Chris Rhodes and LISNPN admin (and New Professionals Support Officer) Ned Potter. 

We had several entries but three stood out and went into the final judging section. An honourable mention must go to one of these, which didn’t ultimately win but nevertheless made a big impression: Katie Birkwood’s excellent library knitting pattern. You can read more about it on Katie’s blog. The judges were impressed by the pure off-the-wall originality of the idea, the high quality of its execution, and the potential reach on the Ravelry platform. Ultimately it just lost out on a prize during an extremely close vote. 

Winning 2nd prize was Annie Johnson with her ‘Putting the pieces together’ project. This brilliant idea consisted of small custom made jigsaw puzzles, beautifully packaged and featuring quotes about libraries – Annie left them in coffee shops, railway station platforms, and even airport departure lounges. (The top of the box is see-through so as to avoid any security alerts – see the pics on Annie's blog linked above...)

The judges loved the innovation and ingenuity of this and felt that is very well presented. They felt that the idea could be taken on and expanded in the future, with information and URLs as well as quotes. Annie wins a pass to the New Professionals Conference taking place in Manchester, in June. She said: "I'm delighted to have won a place at NPC11. The standard of the other entries that I have seen was extremely high, so I'm very pleased and proud that the judges liked my entry. I'm really looking forward to meeting other new professionals at the conference so thanks to LISNPN and CILIP for giving me the opportunity to attend this event."

First prize went to Jacqueline Barlow for ‘That’s Not Online!’. This project currently consists of a blog and twitter account detailing “Library collections, archives and other information that aren't accessible online, and how to find them.” The judges were impressed by a brilliantly simple and valuable idea, and the huge potential it has. You can view That’s Not Online! here, and follow the project on Twitter here. Annie Mauger commented: "The standard of all of the entries was fantastic with some really innovative and creative ideas. I wish we could promote all of them! What stood out about ‘That’s not online!’ was the presentation and also the potential scale of appeal of it. Also because it is such a good tool for advocating how brilliant information professionals are at letting people know what they don’t know. A real information literacy advocacy tool as well as a brilliant idea in itself."

Jacqueline wins a full pass to this year’s Umbrella conference, including accommodation at the event. She commented: "The honour of winning the competition, great as it is, is secondary to the pleasure of finding that my interest in print information is shared by so many others, inside the profession and out of it.  My participation in LISNPN has led to what may be an exciting, long-term project.  For this I am very grateful to LISNPN, my Twitter and Tumblr followers, and any other audience I've gained along the way.  If I could, I would bring you all Umbrella swag."

We’d like to thank everyone who entered! And huge thanks to Annie Mauger and the rest of the judges, to Jason Russell and Mark Taylor at CILIP and Franko  (the current New Professionals Coordinator) for making the prizes happen…

You'll be able to read about the competition on CILIP's website here.
 

Opening my (business) mind Tags: advocacy courses

 

 

‘Bringing a business mind to non-profit services’

As soon as I saw this course advertised in the CILIP course list, I knew I had to go.  Not only do I work for a not-for-profit (Mimas), but through my involvement with Voices for the Library I know how ‘business language’ can be used as a stick to beat the public sector.  What’s your ROI? Have you done a cost-benefit analysis? Who are you benchmarking against?

Library and info services are expected to be able to answer all of these questions - and not in a ‘give me a couple of hours, I’ll go away and find out’ way.  We’re being trusted with public funds, and a blank look in reply to a financial/business management enquiry is as good as an admission of incompetence.

Information professionals pride ourselves on being able to talk the language of our users – to adapt to them, so they don’t have to adapt to us.  The SLA Alignment Project is an excellent recent example of how important it is to find the value terms of our stakeholders, and use them in our communication with them.  The only way we can effectively advocate for our services is to speak in terms that resonate with our users and stakeholders; if they have to struggle to understand what we are saying, they simply won’t bother listening.

We may say that ‘the value of what we do can’t be measured’; and yes, it is difficult to put an arbitrary financial value on what we provide to society.   But all of our services ultimately depend on business systems, and we simply cannot afford to stick our heads in the sand and ignore them.  None of us became librarians to handle budgets, but without a library budget, there can be no library.  And if we have to do it, by gum, we’d better do it well!

Knowing something about how the business mind works is also vital when we’re being asked for targets and measurements. Why is the idea that footfall determines your service’s worth a fallacy?  If you tell me that it’s because we provide a lot of intangible benefits, that there are other things that are important, I am not going to approve your request for funding.  If, however, you mention that in the Pareto model, footfall and book loans are the 20% of services that generate the 80% of use, I might start listening…

This isn’t something that is only important once you’ve moved into management.  Just like interoperability, business-awareness is a state of mind, and all new professionals would do well to cultivate it from the start of their career. Just like learning any new language, it takes time, practice, and effort to fit it all into context: do this early in your career, and you are less likely to find yourself blubbing over balance sheets in your first managerial role.

But it’s not just personal development at stake. If we don’t start thinking with business minds, opportunities for advocacy will pass us by; we either won’t recognise them or won’t be able to take advantage of them.

So dust off the notes from your library school management module. If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend the next running of this course in September, do it! One of the most valuable parts of the day for me was sharing stories with other attendees: this is what we need to do, this is what we need to show, this is why we’re doing it.  And if you’re even luckier, and are already comfortable with thinking this way, share it with the rest of us! We’re learning a new language, and need a few natives to help us along the way.

Register your LISNPN competition entries by April 1st! Tags: LISNPN CILIP Library Advocacy

Only a few days left to register your entry for the LISNPN advocacy competition. All you need to do to enter is fill in the registration form by the end of April 1st - the actual piece of advocacy you've created will be judged over the month of April. So for example if you create a poster or a slide deck or an article or whatever, its impact and success don't have to have happened by the time you enter.

So please get your entries in! The whole point of this competition is to get people thinking about library advocacy, so no idea is too small to enter - just do something, anything, and you've got a chance of the prize. Any piece of library advocacy that you've created for this competition is elligible.

Don't forget entry is only open to LISNPN members but you CAN join especially to enter.

The first prize is a pass to Umbrella, CILIP's massive two-day conference, and second prize is a trip to the New Professionals Conference. This has been confirmed as taking place in Manchester, at the University, on June the 20th.

You can read all the terms and conditions, and more info on the prizes, on the Competition Page. Good luck!

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