6 October 2013

Transparency AKA Partnership

Listening to the lecture I concluded that the transparent library is one that works in partnership with its community.
“A partnership is an arrangement in which parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.” – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partnership
Libraries are all about the advancement of their communities interests right? If they aren’t there is a problem. So, libraries should be actively working in partnership with their communities. It would be extremely difficult to build a partnership without sharing information about processes, programs, policies and plans and actively listening to feedback from a partner. While most members of the community would be bored witless by much of the minutiae of library processes, many would have an interest at a higher level in how those processes contribute to the community’s advancement, and would be willing to offer their thoughts, and even expertise to inform library planning. Then I read the following…
“Your customers are going to poke around in your business anyway, and your workers are going to blab about internal info - so why not make it work for you by turning everyone into a partner in the process and inviting them to do so?” – Clive Thompson. The See-through CEO http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/wired40_ceo.html
There’s that P word – partner.
Community engagement activities do not have to be all over the world-wide-web, although that can be a powerful medium. They may be in the form of advisory committees, round-table forums and the low-tech suggestion box – yes a physical box with a hole in it, through which hand-written suggestions are inserted – remember those?
I think one of the biggest challenges for libraries is managing to strike the right balance in openness to align with their larger organisation’s approach. If approaches are mismatched then actually conducting business will probably be fraught with difficulties!