Library Planning Research,  Social Library Issues

REALM Update (five simple rules for managing uncertainty)

Imagine that we asked you to invent a new kind of library for a new society that lives online. The task is too vague for a team to build and yet that is what we are faced with today. The next 100 hundred days can be a productive time for your library. In fact, it is normal for a library consulting project to last 100 days. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD starts with our data gathering workshops, tools for building strategies and programs for the future.

Let’s pose a narrower question – How are you going to manage uncertainty during the pandemic?

The October Webinar for REALM was so popular people couldn’t log in. So, we provided the slides link HERE FOR REALM UPDATE SLIDES FROM OCT 8TH WEBINAR

    There are five simple rules for managing uncertainty:

  • Most data will be incomplete (there are always unknowns)
  • Different people interpret data differently. It is best to ask for feedback from different groups to determine the consensus.
  • We may never know the final answer to our questions. We have to use the data available to make good decisions. Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD says break them down, define and measure the results to confirm the evidence.
  • Use real world experience to complement controlled experiments
  • Acknowledge the complexity, admit your limitations and explore all options

In conducting its research, REALM learned that quarantine and isolation mitigate contamination of resources. It illustrated that this challenge is unlike anything in our 50 year history. The webinar showed that we need to think inside and outside of the box. It illustrated that library managers need to generate a list of solid ideas. They need to encourage their people to go wild and think outside the box, and they need a team focused on slicing and dicing the old boxes. The problem with this challenge is that most libraries don’t have a methodology to work through the issues.

The fact is, all pandemics violate the fundamentals of normal human activity. We need to work together and consider the challenges. Maybe we can’t gather in a room to discuss, but we can share knowledge, time and energy. Finally, because everyone knows you cannot force people to come up with good ideas, we can not settle and produce nothing. Should you want to be more strategic about the collections and services, you can start by developing a project using the library planning methodology / sample below.

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