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Slide 1
Building Understanding of Library Value Through User Advisory Committees

  • Nancy Boyd
  • Deputy State Design Engineer
  • Design Office
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Leni Oman
  • Director
  • Office of Research & Library Services
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Kathy Szolomayer
  • WSDOT Librarian
  • Office of Research & Library Services
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • August 14, 2008
  • Transportation Librarians Roundtable
  • Webinar

Slide 2
Organization Chart

Images: Organizational chart

Note:
Where does the WSDOT Library fit within the Washington State Dept. of Transportation? We're part of the Office of Research and Library Services (ORLS). The Director of ORLS reports to the Assistant Secretary for Engineering and Regional Operations – also known as our Chief Engineer.

Slide 3
Office of Research & Library Services

  • Leni Oman
    Director
    • Kristy Turner
      Fiscal Analyst
    • Juanita Thedy
      Office Coordinator
    • Tim Carlile
      Business Manager
    • WSDOT Library
      • Kathy Szolomayer
        WSDOT Librarian
        • Mike Wendt
          Reference & Research Librarian
        • Andrew Poultridge
          Resource Sharing & Collection Services Specialist
    • Research Office
      • Rhonda Brooks
        Research Manager
      • Doug Brodin
        Research Manager
      • Kathy Lindquist
        Research Manager
      • Kim Willoughby
        Research Manager

Note:
Within the Office, there are two primary functions: Research Office and WSDOT Library. There are 11 FTEs. Four staff, including myself, comprise an administrative group that supports both functional areas.

Slide 4
The WSDOT Libraries

There are four physical libraries in WSDOT that comprise the WSDOT Library Network

  • Transportation Building
    (WSDOT Library)
  • State Materials
    Laboratory Library
  • Ferries Division Vessel
    Engineering Library
  • Ferries Division
    Terminal Engineering Library

Note:
There are four physical libraries in the department: The WSDOT Library in the Transportation Building; the State Materials Laboratory Library; and two libraries in the Ferries Division – one to support Vessel Engineering and one to support Terminal Engineering.

These four libraries form the WSDOT Library Network.

Slide 5
WSDOT Library Services

  • Ready Reference
  • Literature Reviews
  • Search Technique Training
  • News Alerts
  • Information Organization
  • Lending Books
  • Indexing support
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Library/

Note:
We've improved marketing of library services. We make sure we are aware of the information needs of management and do what we can to support them (the news alerts, Toolkits of information, quick response on information requests, understanding the common facts they need). We also seek to understand the services and resources needed by technical staff and work to fill those needs.

We provide reference services to employees and WSDOT contractors.

A popular service we provide is the news alerts. These are done daily for general WSDOT coverage, and at other intervals for custom topics. A current topic for which news stories are delivered to our agency leadership on a weekly basis is Public Private Partnerships.

Slide 6
WSDOT Library Content

  • Over 40,000 items in the physical collection
  • Over 80 full text journals available online
  • Bibliographic databases/e-resources:
    • LexisNexis
    • WestLaw
    • CivilEngineering Netbase
    • BioOne
  • Many standards, manuals and texts available online
  • Provide topical information “Toolkits”on our Intranet
    • Legislative
    • Climate Change
    • Reauthorization in development
  • Staff Development and Cost Risk Estimating collections
  • Collect and catalog agency publications

Pie Charts: Library Usage 2007

Note:
We have been expanding and reshaping services to meet agency needs. We use National Library Week every April to market the services to all agency employees. The Library is better known today and has a good reputation amongst users. The user base is growing and demand will soon exceed our current staffing levels.

Slide 7
The Case of the Missing Library

By Rebecca Christie

The story you are about to read is true (mostly). Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

This is the city. Olympia, Washington. I work here…I'm a librarian. It was Thursday, December 11. It was raining in Olympia. A middle-aged mustachioed man in a brown suit entered the Headquarters building. In the entryway, he asked a passing employee where the library was located.

"Oh, the library closed a few years ago," he was told by a tall, thin man with a bowler hat. Brown suit sighed, his shoulders bent inward a bit and he turned to go back out into the rainy Northwest afternoon.

"Wait!," the perky receptionist intervened with a smile. "We still have a library - it's in Room SC5!" Hope revived in his eyes, and to his great delight he discovered a wealth of information on the subject he was researching.

"Since the library was downsized and moved to the Service Level, some employees think the library was shut down," said librarian Stella Service. "On the contrary, the library is very much open and available to serve the information needs of all WSDOT customers."

Note:
The Research Office picked up responsibility for the Library on July 1, 2003. We began to develop a survey to gather information about library awareness and users. The WSDOT Librarian and Materials Lab Librarian suggested a story to introduce the survey: The Case of the Missing Library.

The story ends with Stella, mug of coffee in hand, saying: “We're constantly aiming to improve and expand library services. It's important to know if we're meeting the needs of the agency.  To help us better serve you, please take this short survey on WSDOT Library collections and services.

Slide 8
Why Create an Advisory Committee?

  • Developing a communications plan
    • Who's the target audience?
    • What do they think now?
    • What do you want them to think?
  • Connecting to business needs
    • Know thy customers
  • Know your needs
    • What are your barriers to meeting your performance goals?
    • Who can help address those barriers?
  • Know what you have to offer
    • What are your services?
    • What are your resources?

Note:

The story ends with Stella, mug of coffee in hand, saying: “We're constantly aiming to improve and expand library services. It's important to know if we're meeting the needs of the agency.  To help us better serve you, please take this short survey on WSDOT Library collections and services.

A continuing episode was published a couple months later to provide the results of the survey.

11% of survey respondents said they didn't know the department had a library. It was obvious that some marketing of services would be helpful so we turned to our Communications Office for assistance. They suggested we complete a Communications Plan:

What is the assignment or objective? What do you want to accomplish?
Who is your target audience?
What does your audience think now?
What do you want them to think?
What is the main message you plan to communicate?
Why should the target audience believe this?

Slide 9
What do we need?

To guide continued development of library services and promote a stable and vibrant information delivery organization within the department. Through:

  • Prioritizing information collection, management and organization needs in a manner that addresses critical department issues
  • Making recommendations for improved and expanded information services
  • Helping the department understand, from a high-level perspective, the importance of well-developed information organization and retrieval capabilities
  • Shaping an information management strategy that takes advantages of the national information network and develops appropriate information tools for the workforce of the future.

Note:
We wanted advocacy but like that old adage, “you can lead a horse to water…” Advocacy is really about the enthusiasm people develop for something. So we needed to work with people to improve awareness of the services and potential so they could become enthusiastic about the library services in the department.

Slide 10
Selecting Members

Who can help us? Who needs to know? Balancing representation amongst directly affected functional areas of WSDOT.

The Libraries and organizations they support.

The Partners

  • with whom we work to deliver information resources
  • who do similar work

Key customers

  • that had strong usage of library services
  • that we wanted to engage

Note:
We looked at the objectives and then started considering who had a piece of the responsibility for or a means to achieve the objectives. We looked at key audiences using the library and those we wanted to engage. We reviewed the supporters we had and those that seemed receptive to new tools. We considered who controlled the purse strings and the strategic change in the agency.

We talked with them and gathered interest and suggestions. And then we asked for their help.

Slide 11
Role of the participants

  • Represent agency goals, activities, and priority management issues in their office and the department from a multifunctional, multimodal perspective
  • Be able to discuss knowledgeably the relative urgency of library services, information organization and delivery needs across the agency
  • Have the time to proactively participate
  • Have the ability to influence budget decisions in support of library resources where warranted
  • Valuing their time

Note:
The role of the participants as we set out on our journey in the fall of 2006.

We also were very conscious of their busy schedules and asked for only two half day meetings a year.

Slide 12
WSDOT Library Advisory Board Members

Key Partners

  • Communications Office
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Administrative Services

Key Customers

  • Design Office
  • Government Relations
  • Strategic Assessment Office
  • Enterprise Risk Management

Libraries

  • WSDOT Library
  • Materials Laboratory Library
  • Terminal Engineering Library
  • Vessel Engineering Library

Note:
The membership of the Library Advisory Board started with 10 organizations within the department. Since then, we've added Enterprise Risk Management.

There are certainly other customers but we aimed for a representative group to help us with our objectives.

Slide 13
Activities of the Board

Six Month Action Plan:

  1. Continue marketing Library Services
  2. Continue to improve knowledge of agency information interests.
  3. Develop the concept for of an information clearinghouse
  4. Compare library salary rates with those of other libraries in the state, region, & nation
  5. Initiate an assessment of all the publications and photographs produced by the department
  6. Continue to improve the library resources

In addition, we've brought in speakers by web meeting:
Maureen Hammer, VDOT, on Knowledge Management
Amanda Wilson, RITA NTL, on the Science of Search

And, we've added work on a Collection Management plan

Note:
We did create a 6 month work plan our first fall and have made some progress and used it to have a continuing thread with the LAB, but we were also overly ambitious about what we wanted to accomplish early on.

Slide 14
Why Participate?

My first thoughts:

  • Some interest
  • Admittedly, some ambivalence

Why I agreed:

  • It helps to be flattered when asked

What I've learned:

  • Time-saving services
  • Better information
  • Related issues – knowledge management, etc.

What I'd tell others about participating:

  • Leni/Kathy/staff prepare well for meetings – they are interesting

Slide 15
Advice

  • Meeting twice a year is good
  • Members were thoughtfully selected
  • Marketing library services to mainstream engineers is difficult.
    Don't sweat it too much
  • But don't give up either

Dear Nancy, P.E.:

Help! We're a library within a transportation agency and we'd like to improve our connection with the engineers in the department. I mean some know that we exist and appreciate the services we have to offer but many don't even know we're alive! How can we get them to see us for what we really are – a tool to help them do their work efficiently and effectively?

Yours truly –
A Little Bit Lonely

Slide 16
Is it Worth It?

Absolutely! The LAB has helped with:

  • Prioritizing information collection, management and organization needs in a manner that addresses critical department issues
  • Making recommendations for improved and expanded information services
  • Helping the department understand, from a high-level perspective, the importance of well-developed information organization and retrieval capabilities
  • Shaping an information management strategy that takes advantages of the national information network and develops appropriate information tools for the workforce of the future

Note:
The Library Advisory Board has met five times since it was created. We've had good attendance.

We have not yet realized the full value of the Board , but we have certainly discussed all of our objectives and begun to see some changes. The Board members themselves have a better understanding of the Library and, through them, awareness has expanded. There is an awareness that there's a network and that network talks more about activities and common needs.

I think the Board has helped the Library be more aware of our the broad range of information needs, the limits of awareness, the usefulness of marketing approaches, and the feasibility or utility of approaches to information resources.

I'm grateful for the time they've provided and the thoughtful and interesting discussions we've had. Our agendas are always packed.

Slide 17
Lessons Learned

  • Take the initiative, there's much to be gained
  • Keep the meetings focused and interesting
  • Keep the activities appropriate to the level of decision-making
  • Bring in speakers, demos, specific issues
  • Use technology to extend your range efficiently
  • Brainstorm needs but set near term, reasonable objectives
  • Listen and use what you hear
  • Celebrate your successes

Slide 18
Where to Now?

  • Checking in: a survey of the members
  • Reviewing goals and activities
  • Revisiting meeting schedules
    • Frequency
    • Length
    • Diversity of topics
    • Subcommittees
    • Openness?
  • Following up on Tasks
    • The Action Plan
    • Knowledge Management
    • Findability

Wisdom: The capacity to choose worthwhile objectives
Knowledge: The ability to use information to achieve objectives
Information: Structured data
Data: Pure and simple facts
http://www.systems-thinking.org/dikw/dikw.htm

Slide 19
Moving from Data & Information to Knowledge

Knowledge Mapping
Documenting the who, what, when, where & why of required processes

  • Needs
    Identify Priority/At Risk Processes or Opportunites

    Map Network Structure

    Tweak Process as Needed

Communities of Practice
Technical area networks to share knowledge and improve procedures on the who, what, where, when, why, and how of processes.
Human Database

  • Needs
    Identify At Risk/Priority Communities. Organize
    Communication Tools- List serves, wikis, RSS feeds
  • Lessons Learned
    Tools to document and collaborate on experiences
    Electronic Database

New Knowledge

Developing new knowledge as needed

  • Research
  • Synthesis Reports
  • Lessons Learned
  • Reference
  • Technical Transfer
  • Needs
    Portal to New Knowledge

Information Access
Finding the information when you need When you need it

  • WSDOT Library
  • Data Catalog/Data Mart
  • User-Specific Tools
  • Needs
    Enterprise Data Portal

Information Infrastructure
Organizing information through a common structure so it can be easily found and managed

  • Websites
  • Databases
  • Documents
  • Photos/Images
  • Needs
    Indexing/Tagging Protocols
    User Interfaces
    Deployment

Note:
Aspects of knowledge management we hope to address over time. The concept is of interest to our leadership but resources have not yet been identified. We are, however, piloting some activities:

  1. We have a pilot project to develop knowledge maps for tribal and climate change networks underway
  2. We have conducted interviews with two departing employees to gather the undocumented practice in their work. This information is being transcribed and will be shared within their networks.
  3. We are working with OIT and Communications to try to improve findability and access to information.
  4. We do have several communities of practice – such as the network of statewide planners – but we don't recognize them as such. We may be able to improve the capture of knowledge by helping groups see some of the actions they could undertake to do this.
  5. We have a Project Delivery Lessons Learned database and participate in some sponsored by FHWA. Some connection between this system and communities of practice would be advantageous.