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The Balanced Scorecard in libraries

I recently re-read a great piece from a previous edition of AALL Spectrum entitled Gaining Perspective: Using the Balanced Scorecard for strategic planning and performance measurement in law libraries by Marsha K. Stacey of the McKusick Law Library at the University of South Dakota School of Law, Vermillion.

The Balanced Scorecard is part of many strategic management toolkits. It was rendered famous, though not invented, but Robert Kaplan and David Norton in the 1990s, and is a model that can fairly easily be adapted to different business scenarios.

Talk of the strategic role of the library is popular and getting louder. Not least in recent events mentioned on this blog, such as the opening keynote from the NY SLA Conference and as a key theme in the AALL Annual Meeting this past summer. To simplify the recurring message: the library of an organization is moving to provide more than a reactive or task-driven role, to position itself as part of the strategic direction of its organization. Librarians are embedding themselves in to management round tables and multiple departments of their businesses.

As they do this, libraries need to show more than just efficiency of time and money: they have to demonstrate efficacy as well. How the library and the library teams are driving the law firm, company or school strategy forward with their own work.

Marsha gives some examples of balanced scorecards used in law firms, some of which have adopted this approach. She mentions that her survey results do not reveal any academic libraries using this yet, but she lays out some suggestions. Read the whole piece at the link above.

Topics: Productivity AALL Business strategy