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Staff challenged to find new ways of telling the story of the Libraries’ transformation

July 3, 2018

At their quarterly meeting on June 21, Libraries staff came together in the Dragons’ Learning Den to discuss a unique challenge: finding new evidence that effectively demonstrates the Libraries’ contributions to Drexel.

“We have done a lot to transform the Drexel Libraries over the last five years, but we haven’t changed how we talk about that transformation,” Danuta A. Nitecki, Dean of Libraries, explained during the Libraries’ spring all-staff meeting. “Traditional metrics [like input/output statistics] are not capturing the full extent of the how we support the Drexel community to be life-long learners. We must move away from only measuring what the Libraries has and what we do, to instead focus on how we make a difference in preparing students and promoting Drexel research.”

A group of people sit at round tables in a large while one woman speaks to them.
Libraries staff gathered in the Dragons' Learning Den for the June all-staff meeting.
During the meeting, Libraries staff were challenged to do just that. As a group, they examined the five-year input and output statistics included in the Libraries’ FY17 annual report to identify what messages those data convey about the Drexel Libraries. The report shows a decrease in Libraries outputs like items borrowed or downloaded; number of questions posed and number of consultations held, indicating dramatic changes in how people now find and engage with information. Staff members agreed traditional input and output data alone does not effectively demonstrate the Libraries’ contributions to the University.

“If these traditional metrics no longer capture the extent of the Libraries’ activities, how should we be talking about what we do?” Dean Nitecki asked the group.

Libraries staff responded with stories about new projects and events they have introduced to engage Drexel students, faculty and staff, including the recent Two Truths & One Lie event—a non-traditional activity to promote information literacy—and the Library Explorers, a new program that provided a group of five students the opportunity to advise the Libraries through brainstorming, designing and testing ways to engage Drexel students.

The meeting ended with a charge for staff to continue thinking about new evidence for telling the story of the Libraries’ ongoing transformation. The Libraries will host another round of Kitchen Table Talks throughout the summer to generate more ideas on this important issue.

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