Best Value and Better Performance in Libraries

B: Putting the model into actions

B5: Services that contribute to delivering aims

This is where library service managers usually start development planning; it is also where consultation with users is usually undertaken. Most library user surveys are based on existing services and receive very positive responses (95% and higher satisfaction rates are not unusual) – from users! Where the focus is on potential services under consideration, surveys usually demonstrate the axiom of market researchers that if you ask people if they would like or use a service – the answer is yes! We have already suggested that a more fruitful (and more challenging) approach is to consult over aims/objectives rather than services.

If our starting point for planning – that is your service aims or objectives – is adopted, it should not take you long to decide on the main services needed to meet them. At this point though, the ‘challenge’ element of the Best Value review should again kick in – are the current services really meeting your stated objectives and could this be better achieved in other ways? What additional services may be required to fully meet the objectives?

You may want to ‘brainstorm’ other ways of meeting your objectives or ‘get out of the box’ in the current government jargon. If you try this, make sure that you get away from the constraining presence of your normal workplace and remember that, in the madly sane words of a Swedish group facilitator “When you are brainstorming, 50% of your ideas should be silly ideas” or rather, ideas that may not look realistic at the outset.