6.2 Optimization

The previous sections have identified how to troubleshoot challenges using the strengths and assets of your library and surrounding community. In this section, we will focus on how to optimize your library’s current capacity with the resources your library already has.

How to Make it Work

You have the ability to run strong programs with the resources that you library already has. Knowing your library’s unique capacity allows you to leverage your resources in new ways that can feel like the library just got a new operating budget–when in reality it was because of the intimate knowledge of your current resources!

Making it work with what you have includes two key processes:

  1. Regular capacity assessment
  2. Deep knowledge of your team

Regular capacity assessment helps you to maintain and update your knowledge of your library and its resources. While some things will remain the same, knowing the differences in your capacity year to year will help inform you about what new strengths your library has to offer and what community needs you can address. This will also help you to track trends in your library’s year to year operation.

Deep knowledge of your team makes staff capacity assessment easier, but also helps you to fully understand the strengths that each one of the workers in your library brings to the mix. With the complex needs of your library community, any small skill or interest can be a great value. An example might be a staff member who loves to tie knots. If your library is in a community with a large fishing population, a small seminar on knot tying could be a strong technical job skill for a teen looking for summer employment. If you did not know that a staff member had that skill, your library would not have been able to meet the need of the teen patron looking for a summer job.

By pairing regular capacity assessment and a deep knowledge of your team with our troubleshooting techniques, you will find that you have the resources and knowledge to make your library’s current capacity work for you. By smart use of your space and leveraging your community partnerships, the current strengths of your library will be enough to take those next steps in implementing connected learning.