Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
Finding a Roadmap for Outstanding Project Creation
Section 1 of 4:
An Introduction to What Competency D Means to Me and to Library and Information Science
Definitions and Background Knowledge:
-Planning: Information professionals need to be able to create and participate in long-term planning in order to successfully grow their profession, their user base, career opportunities, and professional relevance (Miller, 2018).
-Management: There are many applications of management theory in the information sciences. There is collection management, database management, resource management, time management, or managerial positions with staff. There can also be significant overlap between managerial responsibilities. A branch manager at a library is managing staff, collections, time, and budgetary issues. A remote-based researcher is managing deadlines, access to subscription databases, time management, and prioritizing project workloads. Effective time management, resource management, and the ability to communicate effectively are important skills for all aspects of management.
-Marketing: Different organizational settings are going to have an impact on the application of marketing techniques, in other words, knowing one’s audience is key. A graphic designer working on a project in which they market a children’s book is going to create designs and illustrations that will appeal to and be appropriate for children. They are also going to display these graphics and concepts in arenas that will reach the appropriate audience: children and caretakers. A graphic designer working to create website templates for a design platform is going to create an entirely different deliverable, marketable to a different audience. Their initial deliverable would be to their supervisory contact, to evaluate, provide feedback on, and approve the template for publication. Both the graphic designer and their supervisor would be evaluating the template for its marketable application for its intended audience, such as small businesses or students.
-Advocacy: The American Library Association provides a designated section of their site to provide official statements of support for historically excluded groups of people who have faced significant levels of increasing discrimination and hate crimes in recent years. The ALA provides their official, public, stances of support and encourages libraries across the country to actively advocate for their patrons facing inequity. The current areas the ALA is providing support and advocacy for are:
Protecting and Supporting Transgender Staff and Patrons” (ALA, 2020).
Why Competency D is Important to Me as a Professional:
Planning, management, marketing, and advocacy are so deeply interwoven when creating effective programs, services, and deliverables that to falter in one aspect drastically affects the overall goal. For instance, advocacy is an extremely important issue to me. The majority of my work and research centers around themes of equity, diversity, and inclusion and that largely means advocating for historically excluded peoples. Yet to effectively advocate for others and myself, I need a long term plan, I need effective management skills, and I need to reach my intended audience. I can advocate all day everyday but if I don’t reach my audience, I’m not achieving my goal. I can receive amazing commissions or opportunities to create resources and deliverables, but if I poorly manage my time and can never get projects completed, I am not only failing to effectively advocate, but I am risking my income. Not having a stable and dependable income means I spend more time trying to figure out how to effectively support myself and not advocating for people. If I don’t have a well thought out and developed long-term plan, I am less likely to create a long-term impact.
Why Competency D is Important to the Profession as a Whole:
Information professions (librarians, researchers, designers, managers, teachers and many others) center around the providing of knowledge. To excel in that endeavor, outstanding planning, management, marketing, and advocacy skills are paramount. The four elements are important tools in providing relevant, timely, accurate and needed information and in getting the information to the audience it is needed by. Excellence in these four elements allow the information professions to be some of the most highly relevant and sought after professionals in today’s world.
What Excellence in Competency D Looks Like to Me:
When I think of information professionals who excel in the area of long-term planning, I see researchers whose projects support and build on one another, such as creating content for websites that provide overarching themes. When I think of information professionals who excel in the area of marketing, I see graphic designers who can create outstanding children's books and outstanding templates for small business websites because they know how to design projects that reach their market and audience. When I think of information professionals who excel in the area of management, I see remote-workers whose productivity levels exceed expectations because they exceed in managing their own time. When I think of information professionals who excel in the area of advocacy, I see librarians in routine dialog with their community, working to create services, programs and collections that support historically excluded patrons. Information professionals who rise to the top of their field are often individuals who understand and apply the importance of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.
Section 2 of 4:
The Discussion of My Evidence
As my “Evidence A”, I am presenting the Early Childhood Literacy Program that I designed for a public library.
How and Why I Created Evidence A:
For my “Information 269: Early Childhood Literacy” course, I was tasked with designing a year-long Early Childhood Literacy Program for a public library that included programs, activities, staffing, and literacy training.
The Process of Creating Evidence A:
I was able to “work smarter not harder” for this assignment. With the professor’s permission, I actually chose to modify a previous programming plan that I had created for them in my “Information 260A: Programming and Services for Children” course several semesters ago. I started by making a copy of my “A Children's Librarian's 12-Month Programming Plan” website. This would allow the original website to remain intact and unchanged. I then used the copy website as a base from which to work, going through and modifying the site to the new project’s focus and specifications.
I made my introduction more academic focused, as the previous one was very informal. I altered the information presented on the site’s home page to be relevant to new pages and features I would create based specifically on early childhood literacy. I added a research page, reorganized the menu bar options, and although I kept a bright colr scheme reminiscent of a library children’s department, I geared the site towards an adult audience with my language, tone, and presentation.
The most important aspect of my site renovation was the creation of two programs that provided a year's worth of training to caretakers, and also to staff, on important elements of ECL. I chose to design the staff training topics to follow along with the caretaker training topics, so that the subject matter would be fresh in the minds of all involved at the same time. I also chose to mandate that all staff, regardless of department, were required to take the ECL training. This allows a more holistic approach to growing lifelong library users. The caretakers' ECL program also specifically encouraged all caretakers to come, and was understanding in its implementation: the same caretaker may not be available for all of the classes, so other caretakers were always welcomed to step in as well.
The ECL plan I designed included programming such as StoryWalk that embraces nature, as there is much research on the benefits of nature in child development. I believe libraries can play a large role in that development. Tying these nature-positive elements into the programming plan repeatedly, to offer consistency, development, and a set expectation, was important to create an ECL plan that expanded holistically throughout the children's department. Research from the ECL field was presented and synthesized into the programming options presented, as well as into a specific section of the ECL plan designated to describe research highlights. I also chose to include a section of the site dedicated to transparency regarding how all programming would be evaluated and assessed in order to ensure it was meeting goals and expectations.
An especially meaningful goal of my ECL project was to provide informed, inclusive, and supportive programming to patrons who are struggling with issues of inequity. I accomplished this through using library programs to provide equitable access to nature, using family-inclusive language throughout the site, focusing on topics of representation in ECL classes, and by providing a years worth of cost-free, all-resources-provided, welcoming, expert-level ECL training to any who wanted to attend.
Why I Chose to Feature Evidence A and How Evidence A Shows Competency:
Evidence A demonstrates high-level planning skills throughout the project from start to finish. I was able to save myself time and effort by realizing I had already created a very similar resource. I also had the foresight to save all of its working parts and administrator capabilities for potential future application, and I had the ability to easily modify it to meet new requirements. I was then able to utilize the skills, information, and resources I had cultivated in creating the original site to develop two additional programming plans that spanned the course of a year.
Evidence A demonstrates high-level management skills in my management and utilization of available resources, my structured organization of past projects, my ability to think critically about potential applications of available resources and time management, and clear communications to ensure approval on a project before initiating it. Evidence A also demonstrates management skills in my presentation of information, friendly and informative tone, clear instructions and communications provided for program participants, as well as a focus on providing beneficial services to staff and patrons.
Evidence A demonstrates high-level marketing skills in my ability to address specific audiences and to recognize when and how changes in tone, language, and presentation need to be made. The original website was designed to appeal to an audience of library patrons, children, families, and librarians. There was a distinctly more informal tone used throughout most of the site. In Evidence A, I went through the entire site and made changes to wording, phrasing, audience, pronouns, and presentation to present the site in a more academic and adult-focused manner. I chose to leave some elements, such as a bright and colorful aesthetic, as the ECL plan was still designed to take place in a children’s library and it showed an appropriate approach.
Evidence A demonstrates high-level advocacy skills in its recognition of issues faced by patrons struggling with issues of inequity, such as representation in literature and equitable access to nature, and by addressing them in its programming design. I chose to incorporate routine StoryWalk programs into the ECL plan, as they embed ECL skills into a nature-setting. I chose to dedicate an ECL course entirely to examining issues of representation in children’s book for both caregivers and staff, so that more individuals involved in the library and in ECL could be aware of and recognize its importance.
Section 3 of 4:
How Creating the Evidence Helped Me Gain Expertise in Competency D
How Creating Evidence A Helped Me Gain Competency in the Area of D:
Creating Evidence A allowed me to really focus on incorporating planning, management, marketing, and advocacy skills into one project and final deliverable. I really enjoyed building these important aspects into my ECL program. The year long ECL training program that I designed for staff really showcases my planning and management skills. I designed the monthly training topics to follow along with the training topics in the ECL for caregivers program I also designed. This long-term planning allows for a unified focus in the patron and staff groups. The “Important Details” section below the staff training topics provides important managerial oversight and demonstrates my ability to provide necessary information in a clear, concise, and straightforward manner. I also chose to specifically focus some of the ECL training workshops on issues of representation. Understanding why representation in children’s literature is important creates both a staff and a patron base that can help push the cultural conversation forward and better advocate for underrepresented peoples. Evidence A also allowed me to consider how I wanted to market my ECL program, which was in a way that was accessible and helpful to library patrons, families, and staff.
How Creating Evidence A Changed My Way of Thinking on Competency D:
Designing my Early Childhood Literacy Program allowed me to think about how interwoven these four elements (planning, management, marketing, and advocacy) are in the information sciences. I’ve said it many times throughout my coursework and even throughout this e-portfolio, but all of the amazing research and resource creation in the world is not going to benefit anyone if it is not accessible - be that through tone, presentation, or by reaching the desired audience. In creating Evidence A, I was able to see the elements of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy as a kind of roadmap, blueprint, or scaffolding from which to work off of when approaching projects, career goals, or any other number of nuanced components in the information sciences. Having that scaffolding in front of me is a wonderful way to ensure that the work I do in the information sciences creates meaning for its audience.
Coursework That Has Prepared Me for Competency D:
Demonstrating an understanding of the impact organizational settings have on the application of marketing and advocacy techniques, in my “Information 244: Online Searching” course, I created a LibGuide, Using the Civil Rights Digital Library database, that was marketed to a specific audience who would significantly benefit from it. The LibGuide, the database it is designed for, and its audience all center around issues of EDI and advocacy. The strong correlation between the user base, resources, and audience demonstrate significant planning skills. In my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I designed a text set as a teaching resource for examining issues of representation with 9th grade students. This demonstrates significant planning, resource management, marketing, and advocacy skills.
In my “Information 260A: Programming and Services for Children” course, I created “A Children's Librarian's 12-Month Programming Plan”, which further demonstrates my ability to participate in long-term planning. In my “Information 204: Information Professions” course, I wrote a Management Response Paper, detailing a hypothetical incident. I also completed a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis on a hypothetical library branch. These assignments demonstrate my understanding of how management theory can be applied in the workplace.
Demonstrating my ability to market my work to users within or outside of the organization, In my “Information 263: Materials for Children” course, I did a study on illustrators and author/illustrators of children’s books, and marketed it for an adult audience which included academic or professional interest. In my “Information 237: School Library Media Materials” course, I designed a similar project, “Children’s Books with Amazing Illustrations!” (even using some of the same page layouts and information) but I marketed this site towards an audience of children. In my “Information 263: Materials for Children” course, I also designed a website to provide information on Children's Non-Print Resources from the Library, but marketed it towards an adult audience of caretakers. I also included information on the site about resources that advocate for issues relating to EDI. In this course I later created an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and White Privilege Study in Children's Books that further examined these important issues of advocacy. This shows my understanding of how an information professional can be an advocate for specific entities.
How I Have Changed From the Person I Was Before These Courses, to the Person After, to the Person I Am Now:
Before I took these courses, completed these assignments, and designed the evidence, I understood how to best complete projects in the information sciences, but I had less of an understanding of the individual elements involved. Having the specific roadmap of “planning, management, marketing, and advocacy” to work within really allows my entire approach to be holistic, effective, elevated, and sincere. I am now equipped to expertly apply these important principles across a wide range of scenarios, such as designing teaching resources for high school students, creating LibGuides for civil rights activists, designing early literacy training for libraries, or incorporating issues of advocacy into any framework. I am now a more versatile and effective information professional, who has a valuable map for her approach to any project.
What I Have Learned:
I have learned the importance of marketing resources towards the audience they will most benefit. Creating LibGuides, teaching resources, information websites, and different studies taught me the value a resource brings by marketing itself to its user group. I have learned that “working smarter” can be an important skill in long-term planning and management. I learned this through using resources I had already created, such as A Children’s Librarians’ 12 Month Programming Plan and my study on illustrators, as a base from which to work to create new resources marketed to new audiences, such as my ECL training plan and my website about children’s books with amazing illustrations.
Section 4 of 4:
How the Knowledge I Have Gained Will Influence Me in the Future, as an Information Professional
What I Bring to the Position, in Terms of Competency D:
I bring the ability to think in long-term planning capacities when designing and implementing programs, services, reports, research, studies, and communications. I bring the ability to impeccably manage electronic and physical resources such as databases, projects, and collections, as well as strong time management skills. I bring the ability to assess and discern the correct and most effective audience a deliverable or service should be marketed to, as well as the ability to creatively find ways to reach that audience. I bring the ability to strongly and effectively advocate for historically excluded peoples, and the ability to apply strong themes of advocacy to any project.
How My Learning in Competency D Will Contribute to My Professional Competence in the Future:
I am an outstanding information professional because I hold a comprehensive understanding on the interconnectivity and importance of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy, and I hold the ability to apply these principles in a variety of environments. I have attained this knowledge base and these skills by creating a year-long, comprehensive, early childhood literacy program for public libraries. Designing this program in its entirety taught me the importance of long-term planning, strong managerial skills, appropriate marketing techniques, and consistent advocacy skills. My understanding of how these elements, when woven together, can create highly effective information deliverables (such as programming plans, reports and studies, and research strategies) make me an outstanding candidate for this position.
American Library Association. (2020). Libraries respond. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/diversity/libraries-respond
Miller, L. N. (2018). What is Helpful (and Not) in the Strategic Planning Process? An Exploratory Survey and Literature Review. Library Leadership & Management, 32(3), 1–27. http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=129583539&site=ehost-live&scope=site