Head’s up, readers. Look for a name change to our blog on May 1.
That’s the day the NN/LM Outreach Evaluation Resource Center will be replaced by the new NN/LM Evaluation Office, a.k.a. NEO. The NEO will have the same staff (Karen Vargas and Cindy Olney) and same location (headquartered in University of Washington Health Sciences Library) as the OERC; but it has a new and evolving role in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM).
This time last year, Karen Vargas (evaluation specialist) and I (acting assistant director) began writing a proposal for this new NN/LM office. The University of Washington Health Sciences Library submitted our proposal as part of its larger one for a five-year cooperative agreement to fund the NN/LM Pacific Northwest Regional Medical Library. (Spoil alert: UW HSL won the award. See the announcement here: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/nlm-rml-coop-agreement-2016.html.)
Our new name reflects one of a number of changes in NN/LM’s funding, organization, and management. Leaders of the NN/LM are re-envisioning what it means to be a national network of organizations that work together to advance the progress of medicine and public health through access to health information. The NEO staff will contribute our evaluation expertise to help the leaders focus on key outcomes and measure progress and accomplishments.
The vision set forth in our proposal is to influence NN/LM’s use of evaluation to engage and learn about its programs, make good decisions, and enhance the visibility of its successes. Our proposed strategies were organized around five main aims. First, we will support the NN/LM leadership’s ability to make data-driven decisions. Second, we will collaborate with the regional medical libraries to increase use of evaluation in their regions. Third, we will provide quality evaluation training opportunities to build evaluation skills of network members. Our fourth aim is to increase visibility of NN/LM’s program successes. Lastly, we plan to provide new written materials about effective and emerging evaluation practices and trends.
The exact nature of our services will be determined by the needs of the NN/LM as we all develop new approaches to working together. We do know that the NEO’s scope will expand beyond health information outreach evaluation to include other areas, such as organizational development and internal services to users and clients. We also want to put more emphasis on evaluation use, both for decision-making and advocating program value to stakeholders. As a teaser, Karen and I plan to develop our own expertise in evaluation reporting, participatory evaluation methods, and digital story-telling. (In fact, Karen’s blog post next week will describe our recent participatory evaluation experience at the Texas Library Association 2016 meeting.)
The most important news for our blog readers, though, is that our URL address will not change for the foreseeable future. So in spite of the name change that’s coming, you will still find our weekly blog posts here. So “see” you next week.