Concentration: Handouts and Slide Set


Here are the handouts and slides from my October 22 workshop at the Waterloo Public Library. The topic was concentration: the strategic practice of aligning a library collection with the interests and needs of readers and the community, so that the collection is strongest in those areas that are of most value to its stakeholders.

On October 29, we will finish the Concentration unit, and then move on to Selection. We will talk about ways to streamline and focus selection practices, so that selectors have time and resources to maintain and concentrate the collection.

Some of the topics we covered in the Concentration session:

  • Concentration leverages the strategic power of availability.
  • Organize concentration activities around flexible, responsive “rhizome” networks, not fixed, “arboreal” Tree of Knowledge subjects.
  • Librarians need to find methods to solve the “apples and orange juice” problem: evaluating and comparing the value and use of physical and electronic media.
  • Transactional budgeting compares cost per use of a range of media, although it still lacks direct comparability.
  • Use a 2×2 decision matrix to clarify your analysis of media that are not directly comparable with standard use measures.
  • SOAR is a planning exercise based on the principles of appreciative inquiry that helps participants uncover strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results in relation to an organization’s purpose.
  • Once a year, conduct a SOAR exercise with all staff who work with the public to select rhizomes and collection practices that are candidates for concentration.


Transactional Budgeting | Worksheet for calculating the cost per transaction of a rhizome.

Format Matrix Workform | A workform that facilitates the comparison of “apples and orange juice” rhizomes: those with characteristics that are not easy to measure or compare directly.


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