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Research Libraries Develop Scorecards

Posted May 20, 2009 7:40 AM by Ted Jackson

Ascendant has teamed up with the Association of Research Libraries to help several of its members build Balanced Scorecards for their organizations. This initiative kicked off not a moment too soon as one of the libraries was notified of a 12% cut to its funding next year. The idea of a library scorecard is not entirely new.

One of the group's members, University of Virginia, has had a Balanced Scorecard since 2003. Their case is well documented. There is a Library Excellence blog that includes the topic of Balanced Scorecard quite frequently. Further, searching for "library scorecard" produces four relevant results on Amazon. For one, this much activity validates the idea that a Balanced Scorecard can be useful in the library business.

This working group includes libraries from the US and Canada, and the group gets together monthly to talk about particular issues related to the Balanced Scorecard. They worked together to build strategy maps that reflected their own strategies, and they are currently working on measures that reflect their unique operating environment. We have future agenda topics on governance, meeting management, program management, and budget integration.

As budgets are being cut in universities and elsewhere, these organizations are able to describe their strategy of how they deliver value to the students, faculty and university. The Balanced Scorecard is a great tool to allow these libraries to align themselves to the universities where they operate as well as align their staff to the strategies that they must execute. You should be asking yourself if you have that capability within your organization.