Understanding social media and working to build an audience via social networking tools such as Facebook or Twitter can be a bit a challenge for librarians and other organizations who want to start a presence in these areas. In May American Libraries published the article Understanding Social Capital by librarian and social media expert Laura Solomon. Solomon explains the value of social capital and that in many ways social capital is akin to credibility. To start a social media presence with no followers can be frustrating but building your credibility through the development of social capital is an important step to gaining followers and sharing your message.
Solomon points out that one of the pitfalls many organizations suffer in early attempts to engage users on social media is posting and sharing information that is only about their organization. Building social capital takes time and requires work. Solomon stresses that “building a social media reputation means giving back.”
Solomon provides details on several tips for engagement with users that can be used to build social capital through social media. She recommends the follow:
Thank your patrons
Ask for opinions
Offer links to other sites of interest
Retweet your followers (Twitter)
Always give credit
Provide information people care about
Monitor and respond to posts
Solomon goes on to provide some advanced tips for building social capital through the use of photos, customer service, and contests as tools to further audience engagement.
One of the main takeaways from the article for anyone looking to build social capital is understanding that in order to build social capital there is a demand for reciprocity. While promoting your organization’s programs it is equally important to use social media as a tool to promote other programs and highlight information that your audience is interested in, even if it comes from other sources. Pointing people in the right direction and engaging with users is an important part of growing social capital and earning creditability.
Are you looking for ways to demonstrate your impact to your administration? This is Part 1 in a 3 part series on demonstrating your impact.
The NN/LM MidContinental Region (MCR) has created three online tools that can be used to enable a library to put actual figures to their importance within an organization http://nnlm.gov/mcr/evaluation/tools.html.
CBA/ROI Calculator: Sometimes it’s a good idea to speak the language of the administration. Cost/Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Return on Investment (ROI) are measures used by financial managers to indicate if their money is going in the right place. In a cost/benefit analysis, the goal is to show how much benefit the organization receives for the cost of the library. For a cost/benefit analysis, the result is actually a number: the benefit to costratio. If $50 was spent and the benefits to the organization could be seen as worth $25, then the benefit/cost ratio would be $25/$50 or 1/2 (50 cents of benefit for every $1 spent). This would obviously not look good for your library. However, if you could show that for the $50 that was spent, the benefit to the organization could be valued at $150, then the benefit/cost ratio is $150/$50, or $3 of benefit for every $1 spent. This could make your library look like a real asset!
Return on Investment is a very similar concept. In order to get the final percentage, the benefit of an investment (minus the original cost) is divided by the cost of the investment. So using the figures from the second case above, if $50 had been spent and a $150 benefit was achieved, $50 is subtracted from $150 to show a total return of $100. Then dividing that by the original investment ($100/$50), equals 2.00 or 200%. A 200% return on investment would make your library look very good!
“How can I apply this to my library” you might ask? The CBA/ROI Calculator from the MidContinental Region does most of the work for you. You simply fill in the blanks with the cost of books, cost of staff time, time saved, etc., and the final costs, benefits and ratios are determined at the bottom.
Database ROI Calculator: The calculator above is mostly designed for the books in your library’s collection. The MCR also provides a CBA/ROI calculator for databases. Getting statistics for databases can be a little more difficult than for other library services. Databases are often bundled with other products, and vendors define use statistics in multiple ways that make if difficult to compare across databases. Nevertheless, the MidContinental Region has some helpful tips for deciding which statistics to enter.
Valuing Library Services Calculator: Isn’t this what we all want – to explain that our library services have a financial value to the organization? Using this calculator, you can assign a dollar amount to the services you supply based on their retail value. You type in the number of times a particular service is used, and the calculator multiplies it by the retail value of that service. And at the bottom, it sums up your library’s total retail value.
The MCR is gathering data for advocacy purposes. If you would like your data included, be sure to fill out the form completely including the CAPTCHA box, and hit “submit data.” Librarians everywhere will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
The NN/LM MidAtlantic Region (NN/LM MAR) is offering a webinar on the value of libraries, entitled, Making the Most of the Value Study
• Joanne Gard Marshall, Principal Investigator, Alumni Distinguished Professor, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Kathel Dunn, Coordinator, Associate Fellows Program, National Library of Medicine
This session will provide an update on new specialized reports that have been created using the Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care Study results, as well as how to access and use the data set from the study. All the items discussed will be made available on the Value Study website. Joanne will also share the results of some advanced data analysis that demonstrate the added value of using the services of the librarian and the searching the library-provided resources in patient care.
The second part of the presentation will discuss ways of mining and using the Value Study data. Kathel Dunn from NLM will share the results of data mining that they have done on users of PubMed/MEDLINE and related resources. The study gathered extensive data on each of the information resources used to answer the clinical questions.
Participants in this session will be encouraged to share their own stories about how they have used or would like to use the study results.
Patient safety in hospitals is a topic important to everyone, but it can be difficult to understand all of the issues involved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network provides a series of Patient Safety Primers to guide people through key concepts in patient safety: http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primerHome.aspx
There are over 20 Primers available. Some of the topics are:
Adverse Events after Hospital Discharge: Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=11
Checklists: Though a seemingly simple intervention, checklists have played a leading role in the most significant successes of the patient safety movement, including the near-elimination of central line–associated bloodstream infections in many intensive care units. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=14
Diagnostic Errors: Thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. While clinicians’ cognitive biases play a role in many diagnostic errors, underlying health care system problems also contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=12
Disruptive and Unprofessional Behavior: Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures. This stereotype obscures the fact that disruptive and unprofessional behavior by clinicians poses a definite threat to patient safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=15
Error Disclosure: Many victims of medical errors never learn of the mistake, because the error is simply not disclosed. Physicians have traditionally shied away from discussing errors with patients, due to fear of precipitating a malpractice lawsuit and embarrassment and discomfort with the disclosure process. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=2
Nursing and Patient Safety: Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at patient’s bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede nurses’ ability to detect and prevent adverse events. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=22
Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery: Few medical errors are as terrifying as those that involve patients who have undergone surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or had a procedure intended for another patient. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=18
Patients also have a part to play in ensuring that they have safe healthcare, as described in the following Primer:
The Role of the Patient in Safety: Efforts to engage patients in safety efforts have focused on three areas: enlisting patients in detecting adverse events, empowering patients to ensure safe care, and emphasizing patient involvement as a means of improving the culture of safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=17
Public libraries play an important role in the community year round, but during or after an emergency or disaster the public library is also an important resource for first responders. Public libraries provide important information centers in a community and are often equipped with computers, meetings spaces, and possibly access to the internet. After an emergency or disaster first responders working with their community public libraries can provide safe shelter spaces for survivors. In addition, public library technologies including computers, phones, printers, and internet access may serve as vital communication tools for survivors and first responders.
The video below was created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Center Region (NN/LM SCR) to demonstrate how public libraries and first responders can work together to ensure community well-being and safety before and after a disaster or emergency.
This week is National Library Week: April 14 – 20, 2013. The theme for this year’s observance is “Communities matter @ your library.”
Public, school, and academic libraries are busier than ever serving the people in local communities. They help people fill out job applications, provide homework assistance to students, offer public access to the Internet, assist small businesses in conducting research, and much more. Yet libraries face funding crises in many communities. Without proper funding, libraries are forced to decrease or cut resources, reduce the number of librarians and library workers, and reduce hours of operation. Even worse, some libraries face closures.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) is pleased to introduce online applications for many of our most popular funding opportunities. Nine different award types now have online application options. Applicants for these awards may review all guidelines on the NN/LM SCR Funding Opportunities page and then click on the “apply online” link where they will find the online application for the award.
The NN/LM SCR Online Applications Portal is powered by Submittable. Users will be asked to create an account or link Submittable to their Facebook account to log on. Creating an account with Submittable will provide online applicants with the ability to save and return to a draft of the application before making the final submission. Users can also upload attachments or supporting materials (Word, PDF, Excel, and images) to their application. The online system also allows users and the NN/LM SCR to promote the award opportunities through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Traditional downloadable applications are still available for all awards. Either form of application will be accepted for review.
The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the latest round of funding opportunities:
Disaster Preparedness Award ($10,000):
The purpose of the Disaster Preparedness Award is to help libraries prepare for disasters so that they can assist their communities with health information and other recovery needs after an emergency. Approaches can include, but are not limited to, activities that will integrate the library into their community’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery plan; equipment that will allow the library to have more flexibility in responding to the Internet needs of the community; and partnerships with city emergency planning groups, hospitals, public health organizations to enhance health information access in library settings.
Electronic Consumer Health Outreach Award($25,000):
The goal of this award is to connect health professionals, their patients and the general public to the health information resources from the National Library of Medicine. This solicitation will focus on projects designed to improve access to electronic health information for such groups and organizations as consumers, the underserved and minority health care professionals, public health workers, public libraries, and community-based and faith-based organizations.
Express Outreach Award ($5,000 per project):
The purpose of the Express Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases to improve access to health information.
Health Disparities Information Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Disparities Information Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases by populations which experience significant health disparities, including, but not limited to minority, rural and other medically underserved populations.
Health Information Literacy Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Literacy Award is to support Network member projects, particularly those from community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other organizations that serve minority populations, to develop innovative and creative ways to promote health literacy to these target populations.
Health Information Needs Assessment Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Needs Assessment Award is to improve health information outreach through increased knowledge of community needs. Thorough needs assessments serve to analyze community needs in depth, with respect to the community’s cultural, social, economic and physical situations. This award is designed to give organizations an opportunity to study a community in detail and to subsequently design strategies that promote the National Library of Medicine’s databases.
Hospital Library Promotion Award ($5,000):
The purpose of this award is to support projects that promote the value of the hospital library to the hospital administrators and staff. As hospitals expand their services and programs, hospital librarians can play a significant role in areas such as: education and training to address knowledge management, clinical information systems, patient safety programs, electronic health records, health literacy, or patient education.
Library Student Outreach Award (funding will cover all costs related to meeting attendance):
The award provides funding for students to attend the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) Annual Meeting in Fort Worth TX and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.
Mobile Applications Project Award ($8,000):
The purpose of the Mobile Applications Project (MAP) Award is to provide an opportunity for Network members to provide outreach services and increase access to health information by utilizing mobile technologies. Projects may target health professionals, public librarians, public health workers, consumers, or the general public.
Professional Development Award($1,500 per event):
The purpose of this award is to enable individuals at NN/LM SCR Network member institutions to expand professional knowledge and experience to provide improved health information access to healthcare providers and consumers.
Technology Improvement Award ($5,000 per project):
The Technology Improvement Project (TIP) Award is intended to improve access to and increase use of free high quality health information including National Library of Medicine’s databases. It is designed to meet the health information needs of “underconnected” communities and increase access to health information services within the community.
See the NN/LM SCR Funding page for more information and for deadlines.
Share Your Story: The Importance of Being a Team Player
At a previous job, I was not funded to go to MLA for many years until one year when my boss administrative assistant left. In the VA it often takes a while for positions to be filled and this was one of those times. My boss was the Associate Chief of Staff for Education and as such had responsibility for paying residents, determining who was going to be paid for travel, etc. He asked me if I would consider doing the most important things that needed to be done. Because I had a technician who could handle the day to day work of the library I agreed. I still did the searches, and all the administrative things but I spent several hours a day in my boss’ office. I learned a lot about what he did and even learned how to use Excel – my first time to really use it. He saw that I was a team player. As a reward (though it was not put that way), when I requested funding for MLA, I was given it. Because I had gotten funding that year, I usually received at least partial funding for the remainder of the years that I was at that facility.