Measuring What Matters to Your Stakeholders Workshop

December 19, 2016 at 10:41 am | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Brenda Green, Head of Education, Research and Clinical Services at the Biomedical Libraries, Dartmouth Libraries writes about a NAHSL CE course she took at the 2016 NAHSL meeting.  Brenda is another of our Professional Development Award winners. Thanks you for sharing  your experience, Brenda and congratulations on winning a PDC award!


I attended the 2016 NAHSL meeting and attended the Measuring What Matters to Your Stakeholders workshop. Cindy Olney, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Evaluation Office and Michelle Eberle, Massachusetts Library System taught the workshop.  The instructors presented the content in four step 1) Know Your Stakeholders 2) Focus on Valuable Services 3) Highlight Value Through Evaluation, and 4) Spread the Word.

For this blog post I will discuss Step One: Know Your Stakeholders.

During the workshop the instructors asked participants to write down everyone they considered is a stakeholder of their library. After completing this exercise, everyone was asked to stand. I identified the following stakeholders before and following our discussions: Dean, Dean’s cabinet, students, faculty, staff, patients, internal colleagues, external colleagues, hospital Chief Executive Officer, Patient Safety Quality Assurance, Information Technology Services, Chief Information Officer, Chief Medical Officer, nurses, doctors, social workers, physician assistants, registrar, and mental health workers.

This exercise helped to demonstrate libraries need to be aware of who has influence over their resources, budget, finances, and, in some cases, survival. We were also provided the insight that, regarding budgetary and fiscal matters, often times the librarian is not in the room when decisions are being made.  With that being the case, it is important to cultivate relationships with opinion leaders as well as those who have the ear of the opinion leaders—those who can influence the opinion leaders.

Stakeholders who control the budget and people who influence those stakeholders are all important to libraries of all types. When presenting your case to this group of stakeholders, think in terms of staging a house for sale. If you watch HGTV, you get an idea of what goes into staging a house. What attracts buyers to a home? Does the home have ‘curb appeal’? Think about the entrance to your library, what does the entrance convey about your library?

To further bring this point to bear, units within an organization fall into one of three categories.

  •  Category 1 – You are generating revenue, or supporting those who do.
  •  Category 2 – You are helping to control operating costs, or supporting those who do.
  •  Category 3 – You are creating expenses that must be controlled or eliminated to reduce overhead

Too often libraries are viewed in Category 3 – creating expenses. One way to offset this is by identifying and measuring your library’s contributions. You begin this process by 1) knowing your stakeholders 2) focusing on valuable services, and 3) highlighting your higher value to institutional goals.

The instructors provided the following reference for additional information on this topic:

Abels, E.G., Codgill, K.W., Zach L. (2004). Identifying and communicating the contributions of library and information services in hospitals and academic health sciences centers. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 92(1): 46-55.

Submitted by:

Brenda Green, MLS, Head of Education, Research and Clinical Services, Biomedical Libraries, Dartmouth Libraries, Geisel School of Medicine


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