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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do You Know How Your Faculty Members Use Info?

Stephen Abram (left, moderator) and Terry Huwe 
Here are more great thoughts from the Computers in Libraries Conference. I'm not much for live blogging because I like to digest info and think about how to frame it. But I want to share a few key points quickly between sessions here... 

Terry Huwe from the University of Calif-Berkeley did a wonderful session on Faculty Information-Using Behavior. If you never studied how your faculty think about, use, and recommend information, you're missing out on essential data. When you consider that faculty greatly influence the way their students study and research, you realize that they're an important market to understand and influence. 

Faculty are also important because "We can engage in a dialog with them to affect the academic library." Huwe cited one study statistic that said that measured professors' belief that "Libraries are less important because of online information." Only 14% of faculty "strongly agreed" in 2010 (and I think even that's too high a percentage), and that was up from just 8% in 2006. So even the very learned are falling for the myth. These influential people need to be one of the markets you target with your messages about why, in fact, libraries matter now more than ever.

Huwe also highly recommended studying ACRL's "Value of Academic Libraries Report." When he asked the large audience how many had read it, only Stephen Abram & I raised our hands. This is scary! This is data that you need to know if you work in this environment! At the report's site, you can listen to a podcast about it, download the Executive Summary or full report for free, or order print copies from Amazon or B&N. It's important. It has a pretty cover. Please look at it!

Finally, Huwe recommended that listeners publish and speak in higher-ed venues other than those related to libraries. (In other words, get out of the "echo chamber.") 

All good stuff that matter if you want to convince stakeholders that academic libraries still have great value today. 

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