The Librarians of Maryland Are the Measurement Mavens of the Month

If there were a competition for the U.S. state with the most librarians who are passionate about measurement, then the State of Maryland would win, hands down. Not sure what’s in that Chesapeake air, but there are dozens of librarians in Maryland who have come out and attended numerous lectures and workshops to learn how to measure their efforts in a way that matters. And much of this is thanks to Ashley M. Biggs, Marketing and Outreach Librarian for the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled.

In the interest of transparency, I got to know Ashley Biggs when the Maryland State Library was looking for a webinar on measuring results. Since then I’ve done a number of very well-attended workshops for them. So, as NPR would say, “the Maryland State Library is a financial sponsor of Paine Publishing.” Which is only peripherally related to why we’re making Ashley and her fellow librarians this month’s Measurement Mavens.

Ashley earns kudos from me because she is practicing what I was preaching. A few days after the most recent workshop I was asked to fill out a very well-designed survey about it. It was designed to evaluate both the content and the impact of the class, with astute questions about whether attendees felt more confident and intended to apply what they learned.

Like many of you, Ashley and her fellow librarians are more familiar with words than numbers. For them, measurement is still something of a mystery. Ashley admits that she constantly felt the need to be able to directly correlate social media clicks with an increase in people signing up for library cards. My answer, of course, was “Give up, chances are you can’t.” So she stopped trying to do impossible correlations and is now pursing her certification in integrated marketing. And, measurement is now one of her passions.

I have spoken to so many librarians in Maryland, all of whom struggle with similar challenges. Yet there is definitely a measurement-earnest/friendly/curious culture there. Something that doesn’t exist in many large corporations. So to all the measurement-seeking librarians in Maryland, congratulations, you are our Measurement Mavens of the Month! ∞

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