Looking back (and forwards)
I always find it a bit of a struggle to compile the annual report for the Information & Library Service I run. I’m not lazy, in fact I’m relentlessly motivated – some might say irritatingly so, so why is it such hard work? I think the reasons are three-fold:
1. For some reason the statistics my team take never exactly match the statistics I need for the report, plus some of the ways the stats are formulated change from year to year so we’re not always comparing apples with apples;
2. I know its not read as widely as it could or should be internally. I’m sure the front page of highlights (a light executive summary) will get a glance but how much beyond that?;
3. I’m not a great one for looking back, not at work anyway.
Having said all that, I am convinced that the benefits far outweigh these niggles. For the sake of symmetry let’s go for 3 points again :
1. Compiling the report is a great reminder to myself and my team as to how much we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come in a year. This year the most striking change was how much more teaching we’d done, and how much the overall tone of our service has changed – conversational and informal – in line with my ‘call to arms’ to ‘embrace the informal’ (incidentally the topic of my next blogpost).
2. We can record statistical progression of our service so I have facts at my fingertips rather than feelings when we’re required to account for our activities (see my previous post on stats collection).
3. It helps me to reflect on next steps and new priorities. Looking back helps one to look forward.
The full report is available to download here. Go on, make my day and read it! Better still, comment on it.