George & Joan, Thinking Out Loud: Why Do We Count What We Count – And Does It Matter?

In this episode of Thinking Out Loud, George and Joan and their guest Jennifer Baker take a hard look at what libraries count, how they do it, why they do it, and ask whether the info we gather is accomplishing what it should. me.jpg Jennifer Baker has been a public services librarian for 12 years, seven of them in California. She has worked in most areas of the library at one point or another as a shelver, circulation clerk, library secretary, children’s librarian, reference librarian, adult services librarian and branch supervisor. She has worked for county systems and municipalities with service areas as large as 1 million and as small as 6,000. She is currently the director of the St. Helena Public Library in Napa County.
George, Joan and Jennifer cover a lot of ground in this podcast: do hash marks on reference sheets do any good anymore, are we actually measuring the real things we do, and how relevant are the numbers we gather? What’s the history behind the sorts of statistics libraries are mandated to collect each year? George makes special note of Jim Collins’ monograph, Good to Great and the Social Sectors, which is a response by Collins to questions raised by readers of his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t.