Maybe you’ve heard about KDL’s new quality standards achievement project. I want to tell you what this “multi-year effort to document performance strengths and gaps against national indicators of excellence” means to you.
First, it means simply that we want to always be doing better. Our patrons and the library industry have told us we do a great job, and now we’re asking a third-party organization, the Michigan Quality Council — a 19-year-old organization that helps businesses and organizations improve their products and services — to weigh in.
KDL is the first public library in Michigan to engage their review process. Why? Ultimately, the process will address whether we’re giving you, the taxpayer, the most for your dollars.
The effort will help us answer questions such as, are the materials we’re buying and circulating truly what our patrons want? Which of our programs reach the greatest audiences and do they align with our strategic plan — for instance, to promote early childhood literacy? Are we buying enough eBooks to meet the growing demand?
It will also measure whether we are doing all we can to build and maintain an effective team, and that we’re training our employees in the areas they need to best be able to serve the public. One recent example was the training of our branch staff to help patrons use and troubleshoot eReader devices. That’s a value-added effort to put us ahead of the technology curve, something libraries have done so well for so long.
KDL is not the same organization we were 10 years ago, and we won’t be the same organization 10 years from now that we are today. In a nutshell, this voluntary effort will let us know whether we’re truly, measurably, meeting our goals.
These are questions we have always asked, but the MQC effort is a concentrated way to ensure we’re always asking the right questions. Having an outside group measure that is a way for us — and you — to really, truly know.