Passing on the benchmarking baton — welcome to our workshop in Cardiff

We are delighted and honoured to see that the interactive workshop we will facilitate on Wednesday 11th July from 14:00 to 15:30 in Studio 2  in Cardiff is already fully booked. Maybe it is not so surprising when we only accept 20 workshop attendees because the required level of participant activity is very high.

The title — and topic of the workshop — is Passing on the benchmarking baton: workshop on cooperation methods, using new indicators, finding partners, and reporting results. The methods will include speed-dating, brain-storming and brain-writing.

Our workshop aims to

  1. Share methods and tools;
  2. Encourage cooperation and new partnerships between libraries and librarians;
  3. Build on new indicators that were identified during the Dublin workshop;
  4. Identify themes and methods for new benchmarking projects;
  5. Find methods and channels to report to colleagues.

As a participant, you will have the opportunity to meet new partners for future benchmarking projects and to learn and practise tools to use in your workshops.

Why do we want to pass on the benchmarking baton?

For about five years, we have collected and tried to compare plenty of data and statistics, had dozens of online meetings and a few live meetings, made site visits to each of the participating libraries, interviewed library users, interviewed library staff, discussed  library as a place, marketing, information skills training, and many other aspects of our work. We have also maintained this blog where we have shared experiences and thoughts on benchmarking issues.

We have also had a focus group session in EAHIL+ICAHIS+ICML 2015 workshop in Edinburgh, prepared and presented a paper at EAHIL 2016 conference in Seville, moreover, facilitated an interactive workshop session in ICML+EAHIL 2017 in Dublin. Most importantly, we have learned a lot.

Now it is not only finally the time to pass on the benchmarking baton to you, but we also need to move on — to new projects and roles, to different challenges and experiences.

Part of a workshop planning document

Part of a workshop planning document

So, what we are proposing, is that you start benchmarking! Our benchmarking project brought us to compare different ways of organising library area and services, of managing staff and coordinate relationships within the institution and outside, and how to train users to information literacy and establish and maintain connections with faculty and hospital. Current and traditional statistics did not help us. They could be compared but did not provide us with handy information, partly because they do not cover the same reality (e.g. economics, mostly). ISO indicators were difficult to use because our countries, working cultures and usages are different.

We came to the point where we wanted to investigate the value of the library, and what we needed was new indicators to compare this value. Impact of our project was that EAHIL members took part in our benchmarking and collaborated in our workshops to propose these new indicators, which could better address our goals. We hope this last workshop will help you to set your goals and encourage you to start something as rewarding as our project.

If you have not attended our previous workshop (or participated in the focus group or heard the presentation) or read this blog before, please, take a look at the background, the participating libraries, and the About page, in addition to reading at least some of the linked posts — most of them are shorter than this one.

We would also really appreciate it, if you could shortly comment who you are, where you work and/or study, and why you have chosen our workshop.

See you in Cardiff!

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Outcomes from ICML+EAHIL2017 workshop

At ICML+EAHIL2017 we facilitated a workshop called Cooperation and benchmarking – finding the value and impact together.

We invited the participants to take part in our benchmarking project. We wanted them to help us to identify more future oriented indicators* and also to discuss how — or if — benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship. The goal of the workshop was to find some new and exciting ideas to take further. We used brainwriting as a tool to find and refine the ideas.

working

Preparations the day before.

The first part of the session was spent on identifying new ideas for indicators to help measuring impact and value for international (health) library benchmarking.

The best ideas for indicators — quotations from post-it notes — from this brainwriting sessions were:

  • Number of high “grade” student essays/exam papers in relation to librarian time spent teaching/tutoring
  • How has the literature search been used to change practice?
  • Impact on national health policies index/indicator
  • When host organisation cites the library’s contribution in press releases or publicity
  • What is the new role of a librarian? Non-traditional work
  • Publications from the faculty; visibility in altmetrics
  • Can the customer get the grant he/she applies
  • Time saved by faculty e.g. lecture writing, student remediation
  • Proportion of knowledge syntheses that reach publication
  • Increase in application usage after a conference
  • Chocolate/biscuits/cards — how many gifts (you get from customers)
interactive workshop

Identifying new indicators

During the second part of the session the participants discussed how (or if) benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship. There were five questions and the participants came up with lots of ideas and then voted for the ones that they liked best. Here are the ideas and proposals that were most popular — again quotations from post-it notes:

1. How can benchmarking provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship?

  • Develop indicators which are clearly articulated and detailed to enable consistent application across different services.

2. How can cooperation and benchmarking be seen as research activities?

  • Will help develop “industry standards” to be adopted by the profession.

3. How can cooperation and benchmarking be used for measuring the impact of libraries and librarians?

  • It will give you “evidence” by comparing both qualitative and quantitative measures.

4. How to inspire staff for change?

  • By empowering them, trusting them, and giving them freeway to make decisions.

5. Something else?

  • More national and international collaboration.
WOWs

The best ideas

We are very grateful for all the participants for working hard and being so active. We hope everyone got something to bring back, some food for thought, found new connections and were able to extend their professional network.

* ISO 11620 (2014) definition of indicator: Expression used to characterize activities both in quantitative and qualitative terms in order to assess the value of the activities characterized, and the associated method.

Benchmarking workshop in Dublin

ICML+EAHIL2017 Wednesday 14th June, 2017 15:00-16:30 Workshop 5  — Cooperation and benchmarking – finding the value and impact together.

In this workshop we invite the participants to take part in a benchmarking project of three health libraries. We want you to help us to identify more future oriented indicators* and also to discuss how — or if — benchmarking can provide tools for creating evidence base for health librarianship. The goal of the workshop is to find some new and exciting ideas to take further. We will use different brainwriting tools to find and refine the ideas.

postits

What is brainwriting

Brainwriting is an idea-generating method that involves the participants in a group activity. In the more familiar brainstorming a group generates creative ideas verbally, on the other hand brainwriting enables the group to generate ideas and solutions on paper. It is easier for the less vocal people to participate in brainwriting. In the process, the  participants build on each other’s ideas, and that gives an extra dimension to the discussions.

The basics are a group of people sitting together to write down ideas on index cards or Post-It notes. Participants are invited to consider out-of-the-box ideas. At the end of a set period of time (e.g., 5-10 minutes) the ideas are collected, organized into groups, and presented to the rest of the group.  Then there can be a second (or even more) round to generate and present more ideas.

There are different variations of brainwriting – we plan to use two methods:

  • BrainWriting 6-3-5: The name comes from the process of having 6 people write 3 ideas on Post-It notes in 5 minutes.
  • BrainWriting Pool: Each person, using Post-It notes or small cards, writes down ideas, and places them in the center of the table. Everyone is free to pull out one or more of these ideas for inspiration. Group members can create new ideas, variations or piggyback on existing ideas.

Workshop on benchmarking

 In our session you will discuss and develop two themes:

  1. Identify new kinds/types of indicators – future oriented instead of based on what has been done – in order to measure impact and value for international (health) library benchmarking.
  2. Our profession benefits from an evidence-based, research-focused foundation. We want you to discuss how (or if) benchmarking can provide tools for creating an evidence base for health librarianship.

If you will be attending our workshop session in Dublin, please, before Tuesday 13th June, 2017, introduce yourself very shortly (name, organization, main tasks) by commenting this post. If you want, you can also very shortly explain why you chose this session.

And remember to bring your brain!


*According to ISO 11620:2014, an indicator is an expression (which can be numeric, symbolic, or verbal) used to characterize activities (events, objects, persons) both in quantitative and qualitative terms in order to assess the value of the activities characterized, and the associated method.