Exactly what is the next generation library? Importantly, it requires an understanding of knowledge management and the development of communities of practice. We know libraries function differently depending on their collections, social capital and services.
The major problem developing a modern library, intranet or new research portal concerns coordination. According to Dr. Katelin Tucker Cultivating Communities of Practice, CoP is defined as a “group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.” We use Appreciative Inquiry as our methodology to provide knowledge management services.
We are constantly studying how libraries are changing to help design for the Next Generation. We help modernize the libraries, institutions, reduce waste, and improve coordination and communication with library users. We help libraries improve their services. We want you to share your thoughts on CoP at your organization.
Getting the Project Started
At most corporations or startups library consultant coordination includes getting the service planning project started. This may involve sending and receiving benchmarking reports. It may include community engagement workshops, following up suggestions, contacting the right agencies. It may include a review of IT technology, architecture, government policies and/or corporate requirements. It also may involve creating a budget, keeping it in line, then working with the leadership, architects, IT, engineers and marketing communications specialists. It includes researching vendors, directing the development of the library, and generally, throughout the job keeping defining and updating the requirements as much as possible.
For service planning projects a library consultant may perform this work. In most cases the Library Consultant is very important at the beginning of the process, either right before the architecture, IT integration and collection development efforts are considered. It is good to get the consultant onboard just when budgeting is about to begin. The bigger the project, the more likely the library consultant is to be hired at an early stage.
Someone must be responsible for shaping the library community of practice. This includes keeping lines of communication open between all those involved in a group. This is true for most library planning projects. In special cases, such as at a small research library, the project might be conceived, planned and implemented by an individual. It’s a strength when your project team has practical project management experience.
The skills of a variety of people must be utilized during the course of any library reorganization, renovation and service planning project. Administrators/staff members, marketing consultants, IT professionals, stakeholder groups and vendors/contractors as well as a host of others may be required to work on the job at one time or another. Lisa Jeskins from CILIP, UK provided a Webinar at the 2019 American Library Association Meeting. It is a good resource to help you build your project management skills.
Developing a new library? We have been researching accelerated information for years. A librarian can preform as the subject matter expert. Since even minor integration of library services have a tendency to become quite demanding, for this type of work someone at the organization may have to put “work as usual” aside. Basically, any library service project will require someone with an MLIS; a library science researcher and/or project manager. Staff help define and validate the service plan. Otherwise, the end result will be confusion.
Aaron Cohen Associates, LTD studies modern digital library systems and asset management software. We have implemented user strategies to develop online library services. For example, when we work on Digital Asset Management planning projects, the wise leader designates a high ranking staff member as coordinator that works directly with the library consultant.
What to learn more about why libraries matter? 5 Laws of Library Progress