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					  Montana’s Libraries: Good Neighbors
          A pre-planning document and white paper:
                 A case study in rural libraries

          Bruce Newell, Montana Library Network, bnewell@mt.gov




http://montanalibraries.org/MLNNews/RuralLibrariesWhitePaper.doc
Outline
•   Summary
•   Introduction—What do rural libraries want?
•   Change + Values
•   Montana in a nutshell
•   Montana Library Environmental Scan
     – Activity
     – Materials
     – Staff
     – Funding
     – OCLC membership
•   Work for ‘our’ customers
•   Work smart
•   Work collaboratively, sharing users
•   What does it all mean?
Montana’s public libraries:
• Are less busy, ranking 35th in visits, 34th in
  circulation, 51st in reference transactions

• Spend near the least on books, ranking 48th

• Have an average number of books, ranked 25th

• Have fewer audio materials, ranking 36th

• Do an average number of ILLs, ranked 26th

• Spend less on everything per capita, ranking 45th

• Have fewer MLS-level staff (ranked 49th)
Work for ‘our’ customers

•   Plan to put customers first
•   Offer self-service option
•   Rethink fulfillment chain
•   Manage libraries more like a subscription
    service than like a warehouse
•   Add value to data and information by turning
    them into knowledge
•   Build more channels for our library users
•   Build local infrastructure
•   Provide convenient access to quality library
    content and services
Work smart
• When in doubt, err on the side of service
• Look outside of our library world for promising technology and
  practices
• Be where users spend their time online
• Implement standards-based solutions
• Communicate
• Use the right tool for the job
• Rethink our workflows for both cost and efficiency
• Measure outcomes against customers’ needs
• Hire and retain trained and qualified staffs
• Fund libraries adequately
Work collaboratively
•   Seek new partners (library and non-library)
•   Think consortially
•   Include schools (we’re all in this together)
•   Share your catalog
•   When in doubt, give customers what they want
•   Maintain existing working relationships with libraries
•   Share your collections
•   Develop shared collections
•   Grow courier services
•   Buy and develop more shared digital content
•   Think “statewide (why not regional?) library card”
•   Partner up!
What’s it all mean?
•   Seek shared financial tides to float all our boats
•   Plan user-centrically
•   Partner up
•   Hire more smart, freshly trained librarians in our libraries.
•   Market to users and funding bodies
•   Measure outcomes
•   Think about libraries as a place of knowledge and learning
•   Make content accessible
•   Make quality content and services convenient (authentication is
    the missing link)
•   Extend common and uncommon courtesies to other libraries’
    users
• Libraries are successful to
  the extent our customers are
  successful

• All libraries must collaborate
  to thrive

• Libraries, if successful, will
  cost their communities more,
  not less; but will increase
  their value

• Our users are worth it

				
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