Because competencies have become such a large part of my plans, it seemed a natural transition that I start talking about competencies for my organization. There are a million ways to measure the effectiveness of an organization, and I researched many. In the end I decided that the first step for my library will be to concentrate on Edge Benchmarks. Last year, before I knew of its existence, I started to put together something very similar. When I saw the Edge Benchmarks I nearly wept with joy at the amount of time it was going to save me. So I did what any guerrilla librarian would do and I started putting this stuff into a spreadsheet.
If you look at the Edge Benchmarks overall, it is overwhelming. However, start piecing it out and it is manageable. What I want to stress here is that accomplishing these things is not easy. I look at the pieces and wonder how I'll have enough resources (money, staff, etc.) to make this all happen. But what I do know is that it has to happen.
It is no secret that the biggest issue I have with libraries and the people that run them is that we have victimized ourselves. It is much easier to say "Sorry, we don't have the money for that" than to go get the money. We want people to feel bad for us because our budgets have been slashed. I don't think that I've ever used the budget excuse for a legitimate request. I might say, "That's not in the budget. Let me work on a way to get the funding for that." And then I work on it. And I get the money. This is what is going to happen with our Benchmarks.
I want to know that other libraries think it is as important as I do. While I've been consulting on staff competencies, I have been thinking that even if you have a great staff, you still need to have a progressive organization to go along with it. It's like putting a brand new engine and brand new tires on a car full of rust. My 2013 goals will be to get rid of the rust and make sure that the organizational structure that surrounds the competent staff can support it.
That being said, I am putting out a call to all you guerrilla librarians out there. If you want to embark on the benchmarks with me, please get in contact. This is a great opportunity to share some resources and experiences and make libraries better - no matter location or size.