Posted by: Ali | December 15, 2009

MAXIM #5 Importance of maximising impact

(from earlier notes)

How is impact maximised?
can be done in several ways
– common way is to promote services using marketing – to increase awareness, increase usage and thereby impact on users
– impact can also be maximised by “adding value” to services: making services as effective and efficient as possible; encourage friendliness and courtesy; introducing new or extending library services

a) how has your library or information service attempted to maximise the impact of its services to users

1. Publicising our services and resources to users via our blog (utlisiing it as a marketing and communication channel)

2. Reviewing the subject guides on our library website – undertaking a review that looks at the content and the coverage of the guides – with a view to making them more effective i.e. useful to users. This is a project that is still underway, and has involved surveying both library staff and students for feedback.

3. Producing online tutorials to assist students with using databases and other resources – this could be seen as adding value to an exisiting product (databases) by providing tools to help users use them effectively. The tutorials will also provide a way for students who can’t attend classes (either because their course doesn’t have a scheduled library component, or they are extramural) to access library tutorials and advice on using resources.

b) did these impact maximising activities have any effect on your library or information service?

This is tricky to say, and for points 2 and 3 these projects are still underway so it’s not yet possible to analyse their impact. That said I think it would be difficult to evaluate effectiveness as we don’t have any metrics that specifically look at measuring impact. We can certainly get an idea of usage rates from web statistics etc, but this wouldn’t measure impact. Some feedback might also be obtained from our customer feedback slips and student surveys that we run.


Why working on this I thought it might be interesting to utilise a model to undertake a gap analysis relating to what impact the library thinks it has, and what impact customers think it has.

 The model I was thinking of was this one from Yoo Seong Song (1) :

Library positioning model (Song, 2009)

(1) Song, Y. S. (2009). Designing library services based on user needs: new opportunities to re-position the library. Paper presented at the World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Council. Retrieved  from

You could modify this to create quadrants representing value/impact, and then get customers (regular users/non-regular/non-users) to see where they would consider the library fits on the quadrant (maybe also where they think it should fit) , and then plot where the library considers it is. Presuming their will be a gap (!) you could then think of strategies for closing the gap i.e. increasing impact.


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