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The Goldilocks Method: Demonstrating Your Value in Small, Medium, and Large Bites
Annual Meeting of the Medical Library Association (2019)
  • Heather J Martin, Providence St. Joseph Health
Background : In an era of financial constraint hospital libraries are facing closer scrutiny and must prove their value in order to survive. Leadership at a large health system library found the traditional written annual report lacked the impact needed to capture the attention and the imagination of administration. Taking different approaches over the years, this library has found a solution that is “just right”, creating three very different documents – small, medium, and large – to demonstrate its worth.

Description : Library leadership moved away from the traditional written annual report toward a one-page infographic that depicted the library’s scope, scale, and impact. This visual representation of library statistics captured the attention of administration and patrons in a new, compelling way. As it didn’t allow for telling deeper stories of special projects and partnerships, the library later added back in a written supplement and a “Selected Thanks” section that directly quoted satisfied library patrons. But, when the library’s very existence was at stake, the need for a much more comprehensive value-case was necessary, and a 20-page white paper tied to the organization’s strategic plan and key initiatives was created. Providing an annual report in 3 different formats – small, medium, and large, allows the library to tell just the right story, to the right person, in the right place.

Conclusion : Reporting on library usage statistics, initiatives, and successes in different formats has allowed the health system library to tell its story in just the right way at the right time. The posted infographic provides a lasting snapshot that draws people in. As such, it has been viewed by far more people than reports in the past. The written supplement tells stories from our patrons, and is delivered to key leadership. The value-case effectively tied ALL the work the library does directly to the institution’s strategic goals, and this past year effectively convinced senior leadership to stave off cuts.
  • hospital libraries,
  • medical libraries,
  • annual reports
Publication Date
May 5, 2019
Chicago, IL
Citation Information
Martin, H. J. (May 5, 2019). “The Goldilocks Method: Demonstrating Your Value in Small, Medium, and Large Bites”. Lightning talk at the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association, Chicago, IL.