Competency D

Apply the fundamental principles of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy.

Competency Definition

In our current information age, information professionals and organizations now compete for attention from their users. Successful information professionals know how to navigate an ever-changing information landscape of societal and technological trends to provide for the information needs of various user groups. Yet marketing this strength of the information professional is difficult in an age of supposed “one-stop-shop” searches using Google. Information professionals need to identify and leverage information on societal and technological trends to learn more about their users and to target and direct information products and services relevant to them. This information should be kept concise and communicable to all kinds of users, yet in line with an organization’s strategic mission and goals. The key element in planning, management, marketing, and advocacy of an information organization’s services and programming is the need to demonstrate value.

The need to demonstrate value results from an information organization’s various functions and interactions with their users (Stenström, 2015). This happens as employees propose new programming to their supervisors, employees assist patrons with their information needs, and the organization as a whole seeks funding from external sources (such as a parent institution, in the case of academic libraries, and external grant agencies), among other scenarios. Information organizations need to establish what they are and what services they can offer in relation to other similar organizations, which is grounded in the leadership’s planning and management practices. Leaders in information organizations must determine meaningful, feasible, and measurable objectives in light of their mission, vision, and values (Golden, 2015), an organization’s statements of intent that determine its identity, behavior, and direction in providing services (Begum, 2006; Salisbury & Griffis, 2014). Planning and management involve numerous considerations when deciding to implement a plan, including its rationale, its timeframe, its impact, the degree to which resources and personnel should be allocated, and its longevity in relation to its ongoing assessment (Golden, 2015). There are differences in planning, namely strategic planning versus long-range planning. Long-range planning determines an organization’s direction, in the form of mission, vision, and values statements; strategic planning is an ongoing process that determines where an organization is in relation to its mission, vision, and values, assessing and adjusting as needed (Golden, 2015). Accountability and evaluation must be installed at every stage of the planning process, which informs an organization’s decision making in relation to its strategic direction and show the value of their organization’s work to its users (Stenström, 2015; Golden, 2015).

Planning and management are further supported by the organization’s efforts for marketing and advocacy of their services. Product (or service), price (or value, in relation to the patron, organization’s finances, and external financial stakeholders), place (location and timing), and promotion (visible in-person and online interactions towards target audiences) are four important considerations for marketing an information organization’s services to a wide variety of users (Koontz, 2015). These considerations also play into an organization’s promotion and advocacy, consisting of the actions an organization takes to increase visibility, which in turn affects the overall awareness and support for an organization’s goals and services (Golden, 2015). In a time when many information organizations are forced to make do with less funding, staffing, and time, advocacy is necessary to generate resources to supplement an organization’s overall functioning. Social media can also play a cost-effective role in marketing an organization’s services, yet it cannot be used and measured carelessly. Tracking return on investment (ROI) of social media activity with metrics such as “likes” and “follows” is not enough. Social media marketing must be focused on a target segment in order to determine objectives and subsequent ROI in terms of ease of use, cost savings, and increase in social relations with followers and active users (Koontz, 2015). Ultimately, all efforts at marketing and advocacy must be strategic in line with an organization’s goals, circling back to the importance of setting a strong foundation of planning and management by an organization’s leadership.

In my coursework here at the iSchool, I engaged in hypothetical planning and management in a group project for INFO 204: Information Professions, in developing a proposal for revising a library’s mission, vision, and values and its corresponding strategic plan, built upon the work of an environmental scan. I also engaged in an exercise in marketing and advocacy developing a hypothetical social media strategic plan in INFO 246: Web 2.0 and Social Media (an advanced topic in Information Technology Tools and Applications). I see the necessity for an information organization to engage in a deliberate process of planning and management in order to market and advocate its services to its users. Understood together, information organizations have the opportunity to showcase their value through establishing and acting upon their mission, vision, and values statements, leveraging social media in a strategic plan that markets and advocates for an organization’s services and programming.

Discussion of Competency Supporting Evidence

Evidence 1: INFO 204 Group Project Documentation

Part 1: Mission, Vision, and Values Statements Proposal

Part 2: Strategic Goals Proposal


[Note: Though I am presenting the group project documents in their entirety here (two word documents comprising of an environmental scan, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis, a proposed revision of mission, vision, and values statements, a strategic goals proposal, and an annotated bibliography), in discussion of this evidentiary item, I am emphasizing the “Mission, Vision, and Values Statements” proposal section in the Part 1 document (pp. 26-29) and the “Strategic Goals” proposal section in Part 2 (pp. 3-13).]

In a semester-long project for the iSchool core course INFO 204: Information Professions, I explored an information organization alongside four other group members. We conducted an environmental scan of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library (ML), the academic library at the University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, Montana, evaluating the state of ML with a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis. The synthesis and analysis of this collected information led to our proposal for a strategic plan comprised of concrete, actionable objectives, with their respective action plans and methods of assessment. [For more about environmental scans, see Competency C; for my reflections on what I gained from the course and my thoughts about the information professions, see Competency B]; for further discussion about the group dynamics of this project and my experiences as “lead organizer,” see Competency M.]

Our work was initially motivated by a review of the literature about mission, vision, and values statements. Vision statements are an organization’s succinct manifestation of foresight into its future, while mission statements, varying in length, support an organization’s vision and should be reviewed every three to five years (Begum, 2006). Mission statements in particular can provide a conceptual framework to show various constituencies how an organization has specific goals and values that align with the goals and values of the institutions and individuals they serve, which in turn can ensure the continued, vital, financial support received from external sources (such as the parent institution to an academic library; Kuchi, 2006). They can also be a source of advertising for an information organization, in communicating its purpose to stakeholders who may not see the value of the organization in adapting to provide information to its patrons across a variety of services (Nooshinfard & Ziaei, 2011; Kuchi, 2006). Ultimately, mission, vision, and values statements should serve a specific purpose (Bartkus, Glassman, & McAfee, 2004), providing direction to an information organization when faced with pressures of potential obsolescence from various sources.

ML had already composed its own mission, vision, and values statements in its published 2014-2017 strategic plan. Our group argued that the language describing the relationship between ML and UM could be more explicit, to reflect how ML was aligning itself actively with UM 2020 (UM’s strategic plan) and its goals for students to become “global citizens” and interact in a global community of the future. Taken from our project, we proposed the following statements:

Mission Statement: In support of UM’s mission for quality, unique, academic excellence (see University of Montana, 2016b), ML promotes the pursuit of continued learning through access to timely and relevant resources and services so that the campus community will become engaged, global citizens navigating in an information-rich world.

Vision: Beyond its academic imperative to provide for the academic needs of the University through relevant collections management and services, ML will enable the campus community to have the skills and resources to forecast changes in an information-driven world; and therefore, the community will embrace that change through technological integration while preserving its past and having greater proactive collaboration as members of the university and of the world.

Values: In addition to supporting the University’s values for a stronger global community of the future, ML also upholds the values that form the acronym SPADE:

  • Service: At the heart of all library services, the staff strives toward working in service for others, from providing basic reference services; ensuring that collections are maintained and remain relevant to its users; and involving themselves more in student success and the community beyond the University. Accountability and integrity are also inherent in this work of service to others.

  • Preservation: No future exists without the past. Archiving and maintaining records of our shared history is integral to live in a future where information is needed to respond to global issues. Unique cultural ideas and artifacts should be preserved so future generations will be able to enjoy and learn from them.

  • Access: Information access is necessary in order to develop critical thinking skills and address critical issues both inside and outside an academic context. Increasing access involves continuing expansion of technological resources, developing physical common areas, strengthening social media presence, and maintaining electronic and physical accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

  • Diversity: In line with the University’s diversity mission, ML welcomes and respects the diversity of all people who use its library services. ML strives to facilitate creative collaborations across academic disciplines, institutions, and beyond, especially in relation to historically marginalized groups still underrepresented in the campus community.

  • Education: ML fosters a commitment to lifelong learning for all university members. An ongoing education plays out on a global scale, beginning in the mind and heart of the individual, expressed through interactions with the community mediated by ML’s resources and services.

The rationale behind the acronym SPADE is also integral to understand the values as a whole. Like a spade that is used to break new ground to establish a building’s foundation, SPADE is a metaphor for ML’s vision for breaking new ground in technological integration in proposing new services and strengthening existing ones. Also, as seen in these proposed values, ML can create a foundation that respects and preserves historical information. These components support ML’s mission to “promote the pursuit of continued learning” in connecting its patrons to opportunities in learning skills and having access to resources as engaged, global citizens.

We saw that ML was arguably underplaying its strengths, as ML’s various departmental functions are integral to UM’s goals of the development of its students, faculty, and other members to become active, engaged, global citizens. By making such relationships and connections explicit, we argued that ML would benefit from active and creative promotion of its services and be able to pursue various concrete, actionable objectives, with their respective action plans and methods of assessment that aligned with five goals that were a refinement of the SPADE values discussed above:

  • Service: To increase customer satisfaction through better customer service.

  • Preservation: To preserve and promote shared history and culture.

  • Access: To improve access to all library resources.

  • Diversity: To encourage diversity through a stronger library infrastructure that inspires creative collaborations.

  • Education: To foster a commitment to lifelong learning in the UM community.

As I saw in this group project, having mission, vision, and values statements can lead to strategic plans with concrete, actionable goals that an information organization can achieve. Having a mission statement alone can ensure that information organizations like ML can market their services and advocate to external departments and organizations for collaboration. Many of the objectives we proposed would involve collaboration at all levels, from within the library’s departments to external departments such as UM’s IT department and Office of Alumni Relations. Such connections would allow ML to pursue initiatives such as the development of workshops and services targeted at student and faculty, strengthening existing physical and network infrastructure, and promotion of accessibility to e-resources and ML’s digital oral histories collection. Each objective also had plans for timely feedback on library services and programs to make progress towards ML’s goals, which would assist in both further planning and management of services, and future efforts to market its value to the wider UM community and advocate for additional financial support. In sum, mission, vision, and values statements can provide the material, focus, and drive to generate feasible strategic plans that promote the value of an information organization to its users, potential collaborators, and external stakeholders.

Evidence 2: INFO 246 Social Media Strategic Plan Proposal

Screencast Link | Supplemental: Showcase Video Sample Link

This social media strategic plan (SMSP) video proposal is the culminating project of INFO 246. After a semester of exploration of various social media tools towards evaluation of the potential marketing and advocacy benefits they could offer to information organizations when used appropriately, I generated a plan for the use of a Web 2.0 or social media application to achieve a hypothetical objective for a real information organization. I focused my SMSP on the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives (OHBA) at Oregon State University (OSU) Libraries, an archive that was established in 2013 that is part of OSU’s Special Collections & Archives Research Center. My objective in my SMSP was the marketing of OHBA’s collections to the community outside of OSU through screencasts posted on OHBA’s social media sites. Throughout the SMSP, I discussed the target population’s patron demographics (the general Oregon community outside of OSU) in relation to my marketing objective of OHBA’s use of the tool Screencast-o-matic to generate screencasts that highlight various features of OHBA’s collections on their YouTube and Twitter accounts. I then provided points regarding the planning, management, marketing, and advocacy aspects of this proposed endeavor in terms of costs and potential impact. I also created a sample application of my SMSP in the form of a short video that highlighted a particular OHBA digitized photo collection.

As discussed in my SMSP (also recorded using Screencast-o-matic), OHBA is a community-inspired, OSU-driven archiving project that collects, documents, and provides access to records related to hops production and craft beer brewing industries in Oregon. Its diverse collections includes papers by world renowned beer historian Fred Eckhardt, materials generated by state agencies and OSU’s food science and fermentation science programs, oral histories with growers, brewers, and scientists, and photographs, advertising materials, and art from Oregon breweries. OHBA has distinct online presences: it is accessible through OSU’s Oregon Digital, ScholarsArchive, and MediaSpace sites, LibGuides maintained by the onsite librarian/archivist, as well as its photo collections on Flickr. OHBA also has a Facebook page, periodic Tumblr blogging with the handle thebrewstorian (with guest blogging by its interns), and a Twitter account with the handle @brewingarchives. From my observation that OHBA’s Twitter has more interaction compared to the rest of its social media accounts, I proposed the expansion of OHBA content and social media activity to YouTube via the creation of screencasts with Screencast-o-matic.

The target audience of these screencasts is the community members in the Oregon area outside of OSU, particularly amateur home brewers and beer aficionados that are not interested in the academic study of brewing and beer history. The proposed purpose of creating these screencasts is to showcase OHBA’s various collections in a more dynamic manner instead of static pictures and text descriptions, as seen on OHBA’s LibGuides, Tumblr, and various online photo collections. This will help people outside of academia interact more with the collections, increasing visibility of OHBA and its mission of collecting materials related to brewing history. These screencasts will be used to showcase and discuss OHBA’s collections to this non-academic audience, and provide beer facts and tips for their own craft brewing processes as applicable. I then proposed an actionable plan of a bi-weekly upload schedule, on the second week and fourth week of each month, with two kinds of videos that will be created and posted:

  • Showcase video (1-2 minutes), provides a brief overview of a specific collection, a way to navigate to that collection online, and one quick beer tip or fact learned from this collection.

  • Discussion video (generally 3-5 minutes), provides some more in-depth discussion of a collection and applications into craft beer making when applicable, which may or may not have been introduced in a Showcase video.

I then discussed the financial and personnel costs to my SMSP proposal alongside potential ways to measure impact. I proposed that OHBA could defer to using the free version of Screencast-o-Matic until the need arose for more video editing features such as the removal of the watermark and editing the sound volume. Additional considerations included upfront investment in a high quality microphone and/or headset (economically priced ones can go up to $150). For personnel allocation, this project can be something that incoming interns can take on to supplement their research projects, under supervision from OHBA’s librarian/archivist. I then presented how OHBA would measure the impact of my proposed SMSP in collection and monitoring of data from YouTube, Twitter, and the OHBA site, using analytics such as YouTube’s metrics (audience engagement, video performance, retention), Twitter’s “Tweet Impressions” (profile visits, mentions, likes, retweets), and web traffic counts to the OHBA page and LibGuides redirected from Twitter and YouTube. I then concluded arguing that my SMSP would help in increasing OHBA’s visibility in alignment with OHBA’s mission to collect and provide access to the “agricultural, scientific, farm labor, and cultural components of hop and brewing history” (“OHBA’s Mission,” 2017).

From a financial standpoint, my SMSP has reasonable start-up costs; from a personnel standpoint, it requires a strong time commitment and enthusiasm for OHBA’s collections to create quality videos that showcase dynamically the OHBA’s diverse collections. From this SMSP, I realize that the effective use of social media for marketing and advocacy purposes requires a high degree of planning and management. Marketing and advocacy on social media requires working with a specific objective, targeting a specific population, implementing a reasonable tool or application, and making time to engage in assessment and evaluation. Marketing research, of an organization’s current social media presence and of potential applications and their implications in terms of financial and time costs), allows the information professional to leverage social media towards making an organization more visible to a wider population of users in building up an organization’s services and goals.

Future Directions

Information organizations need to engage in planning, management, marketing, and advocacy in order to demonstrate the value of their services to the people that they serve, as well as stakeholders and potential collaborators that can support their successful functioning. These actions entail observation, deliberation, implementation, and evaluation, grounded in what an information organization has to offer its patrons (Koontz, 2015). All this begins with information professionals in leadership positions, who need to see what services are possible for implementation in their organizations while supporting their employees to engage in possible risks in decision making to explore new possibilities and avenues in service to the organization’s patrons (Golden, 2015). This needs to be followed by assessment, which must be multifaceted, rigorous, and meaningful in advocating for and demonstrating the value and impact of information professionals’ and their organizations’ services (Stenström, 2015). [For more discussion about assessment, see Competency N.]

As an aside, in many of my assignments where I had to discuss a concept in relation to an actual library context, I found that few libraries had publicly published mission, vision, and values statements. They may have some sort of direction guiding their everyday workflows, but from an outsider’s perspective, I found it personally difficult to gauge how successful those organizations will be in adapting to future situations if there is no posted documentation regarding those organizations’ vision for future practice and service implementation. If I find myself in a position of leadership in an information organization in the future, I would revisit that organization’s mission, vision, and values in the ways how I approached the ML strategic plan group project to determine what feasible actions could be taken in light of the organization’s history of service. This in turn would motivate how I could propose tangible marketing and advocacy strategies and deliverables (e.g., pamphlets, emails, videos) akin to what I proposed in my OHBA SMSP.

In summary, the application of planning, management, marketing, and advocacy is iterative. As an organization comes together for planning and management to explore its user base and new ways to serve those users, it proceeds to implement a marketing strategy and advocacy efforts to increase awareness of its services. Assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness of this messaging to its targeted audiences will allow an organization to circle back to the planning and management stage to revisit or improve upon the process. With mission, vision, and values statements to guide their work, coupled with the effective use of social media and other emerging applications, information organizations will be able to plan and manage current resources and services with a forward-thinking mindset and effectively take advantage of social media to augment their marketing and advocacy strategies to ensure their successful functioning and services well into the future.


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Begum, H. (2006). Academic library mission statement: Indispensable viewpoints. Pakistan Library & Information Science Journal, 37(3), 27-35.

Kuchi, T. (2006). Communicating mission: An analysis of academic library web sites. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 32(2), 148-154. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2005.12.006

Nooshinfard, F., and Ziaei, S. (2011). Academic library websites as marketing tools. Library Philosophy & Practice, 64-68.

“OHBA’s Mission.” (2017). Retrieved from

Golden, J. (2015). Management skills. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction [Kindle version] (pp. 209-219). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Koontz, C. (2015). Managing communications, marketing, and outreach. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction [Kindle version] (pp. 262-270). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Salisbury, P., and Griffis, M. (2014). Academic library mission statements, web sites, and communicating purpose. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 40(6), pp. 592-596. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2014.07.012

Stenström, C. (2015). Demonstrating value. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction [Kindle version] (pp. 271-278). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.