Five Ways to Build a Case for Your Library Website

Workflow | February 24, 2020

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Proving your library needs a new website can seem like a difficult dance. These five tips from Stacks can help.

You spend a substantial amount of time researching, meeting with vendors and evaluating the best library website platform to help your library succeed. Now, you’re faced with convincing your academic institution of the best approach for the library website - bringing it into the fold of the library and removing ownership from IT departments or even third parties. How do you ensure that you’re hitting the right points when building a business case? Consider starting with these five tips to build a case for your library website.

1. Demonstrate the ROI

The financial information should be all-encompassing. Provide considerations on what a library website solution(s) may cost. Showcase that by taking the library website “in-house” costs can be avoided. Breaking down items like the average time and cost to make an update to the library website, or potential usage impact if elements are broken and are awaiting their turn in the IT line.

If your library implements a library website platform that is self-serving, estimate how much time the staff gets back to focusing on their specific job area.  While “anecdotal” data is interesting to provide, try to find a way to quantify lost time, usage impact and IT dollars dedicated to fixing or improving the library website.

2. Confirm the Need

This is where your users need to be placed front and center. Highlight not just user behavior you have identified, but also trends and insights provided from the market itself. For example, Internet usage on phones has surpassed usage on desktop. How does this type of user behavior work in the context of your current library website? Are there solutions that provide a better mobile experience without development or IT work needed?

What does this change look like one year, two years and five years in? What specific strategies or improvements are you looking to achieve during the time frame and how do those strategies relate to resource usage, staff work and perceptions of the library?

3. Outline the Plan

An executive summary provides a high-level overview of your business case. But the plan outline should include an actionable timeline, established goals and performance indicators, as well as team members and project leaders and roles within the project. You’ve established the need, cost − now the “how” and “who” must be addressed. By outlining the implementation plan, goals and timeline, you’re providing a roadmap to keep your library on track for launch date.

4. Identify Risks

Any change or shift risks are inherent. Try to categorize these risks into major blockers, minimal business impact, etc. Make sure to include how your team or if the platform vendor will address these risks.

5. Set the Strategy

What does this change look like one year, two years and five years in? What specific strategies or improvements are you looking to achieve during this time frame, and how do those strategies relate to resource usage, staff work and perceptions of the library?

Building the case to bring the library website back to the library can seem daunting. But if you are equipped with the right information in your business case and have a platform solution that works for your staff; your library will be doing a service to end-users, staff, IT and the bottom line. Download the free e-guide on how to build a business case for your library website.

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