Librarians Library: Businesslike Management

By Muller, Karen | American Libraries, May 2014 | Go to article overview

Librarians Library: Businesslike Management


Muller, Karen, American Libraries


Anyone who has worked in nonprofit management for any length of time and participated in planning meetings has heard the exhortation, "We should be managed more like a business!" The following selections offer guidance to libraries that want to heed that call.

In Recognizing Public Value, Mark H. Moore, professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, uses seven case studies to highlight the problems of recognizing and measuring social value. Publicly supported agencies and institutions gain social value not just for the good they do but because the public has agreed to be taxed to make that good happen, whether directly or indirectly through government support. Moore acknowledges that the value propositions by which a public agency might be judged can be difficult to articulate and shift overtime. Nevertheless, determining a way to measure that value is still needed. The accountability measures in turn become a driver of improved performance and even greater public value.

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INDEXED. HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2013. 496 P. $59.95. PBK. 978-0-6740-6695-3

Bringing the complex concepts of measuring value discussed in Moore's book to practical implementation in a library setting, Sarah Anne Murphy has collected 11 essays in The Quality Infrastructure: Measuring, Analyzing, and Improving Library Services. The case studies, mostly from academic institutions, describe efforts to track the library's performance in meeting user needs; to develop an agile organization that can be responsive to shifting needs; and to implement quality measurement systems informed by business models but adapted to a library's needs.

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INDEXED. ALA EDITIONS, 2014. 200 P. $60. PBK. 978-0-8389-1173-0

After spending time with the budget, a librarian might conclude that more resources are needed to achieve the value proposition confronting the library. Beyond Book Sales: The Complete Guide to Raising Real Money for Your Library, edited by Susan Dowd, begins with a discussion of why fundraising is more necessary than ever. The first portion of the book covers fundraising basics, including assessing strengths and weaknesses; understanding the value of the library to potential donors; the intersection of marketing, public relations, and fundraising; and the role of advocacy in securing the base. The second portion takes a look at some of the mechanisms: annual appeals, tribute gifts, planned giving, events, online giving, corporate support, capital campaigns, and grants. …

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