Holding Our Ground at the Edge: Influencing Perceptions of Library Value
Timms, Geoffrey P.
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KeywordPerception, communication, library administration, library orientation, information literacy, training, marine scientists, graduate students, building layout, volunteer workers in science.
Who judges the value of our libraries? Administrators look at costs and benefits, so librarians generate reports about the use of library spaces, resources, and services to demonstrate return on investment. But potential library users simply decide if we can satisfy their needs. Some people form a judgment based upon an initial perception or brief encounter, some hold fleeting opinions, and others become entrenched in a specific perspective – sometimes for years. A perception may be opposite to reality, but it is owned by the perceiver. Influencing perceptions is a strategy that can support the success of a library. If researchers do not perceive that the library can help them achieve their goals, they will not use it; if administrators perceive that the library is not supporting the institutional mission, they will not fund it. Managing a library in which perceived value is struggling is challenging, especially for a solo librarian who recognizes that “I am the library, the library is me, and as such we are both judged.” Strategies to create positive perceptions include demonstrating commitment and relevance, which are often necessary to establish recognition of value. Perceptions may be formed at orientation and they can be made or unmade in a passing conversation with an administrator. Here we explore some strategies used at the Marine Resources Library in Charleston, South Carolina to demonstrate relevance and commitment, and to create a positive perception of the library’s worth to graduate students, professional researchers, and administrators.
Suggested CitationArticle: Timms, Geoffrey P., "Holding Our Ground at the Edge: Influencing Perceptions of Library Value", https://hdl.handle.net/1912/25187
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