A dynamic dashboard driving decisions to improve building closure communication process and planning to create better stakeholder experiences inside and outside BPL.

Small group reviewing building plansOverview

One of the core values of libraries and BPL is providing free and open access to information. Imagine patrons, students, and partners showing up at a library location only to find out that it’s unexpectedly closed; there access is denied even if temporarily for a short term or longer term. This might be the reality soon. BPL is undertaking an ambitious facilities improvement and upgrade plan in the coming years. In addition to closing for those planned upgrades, in any given year, many locations or rooms within branches and Central go offline for a host of anticipated and unanticipated events. Closures of course are necessary to keep library buildings in good repair, but our current processes aren’t sufficient to minimize the pain the public feels. While steps are taken to communicate closures to various stakeholders, many stakeholders often feel sufficient notice was not provided to plan for the closure. This can be especially damaging for grant funded and partner lead adult education classes that require students receive a minimum amount of instructional hours before they can be assessed for educational gains. If several classes are impacted in any given year, the program may receive a failing grade on its report card from the funder and jeopardize its current and future funding. Outside of the Adult Learning department, other public service departments including Children and Family Services, and Outreach Services are negatively impacted when they have to scramble to salvage a disrupted program. Other stakeholders including Government Affairs and Strategy have been clamoring for a better tool and process to allow them to plan especially for key stakeholders like elected officials. If there was a cost calculated on the closures BPL would be losing millions of dollars every year. More importantly, we would be eroding our most valuable asset--the trust from our public, partners, and funders. On Top of the Building is a broad vision for an improved tool and process to improve communication, collaboration, and planning around building closures. The dynamic dashboard process will offer color coded geographic mapping and timeline features that update on a daily basis sending alerts to all of the appropriate stakeholders to improve planning within and outside of the facilities team. The facilities team will own the dashboard and will feed it with information that will be transparent and clean for various stakeholders to view and even run reports. Some features of the system include mapping upcoming closures, changing status from tentative to confirmed with dates and or date/ranges when possible. The dashboard will also contain a checklist that the facilities team will run before closure decisions to ensure considerations are given to programs that would be impacted permitting the facilities team to adjust schedules of closures to limit negative impacts on programming. This project poses an adaptive challenge and as such it will require not only a technical fix like a platform but also a process improvement. What we are proposing fits in with a longer term goal of BPL in FY20/FY21 to acquire a building management software. This project will provide the necessary groundwork to inform what the eventual dashboard platform will be by offering a core prototype description and process. This project has the potential to solve a long time institutional pain point that will lead to better patron experiences and community relations. The time is right for this project given the number of planned renovations and the number of aging buildings in our portfolio.

Desired Outcomes

• Produce a detailed report containing a needs assessment, workflow processes analyses, stakeholder interviews, prioritized master list of requirements

• Design prototypes of both the staff available dashboard interface that will eventually feed a public dashboard.

• Map out the data input process and data output processes for various stakeholders

Longer term outcomes include:

Improve stakeholder knowledge about closings--pre and post survey about current process and knowledge of closings

• Display and disseminate information and alerts--number of alerts sent to stakeholders regarding closures

• Provide facilities team with context and content to aid in the decision making process to close a location--number of checklists and program information emails and documents shared with facilities team

• Reduce/minimize the number of public services disrupting closures--decrease in the number of branch/offline hours that impact public services

• Sensitively alert all stakeholders of upcoming urgent repairs so they may give facilities team input on scheduling needs while planning for closures while preventing alarming staff and patrons over non-threatening, but potentially hazardous condition--number of alerts

• Rapidly alert all stakeholders about emergency conditions at a branch that require an immediate closure that cannot be delayed due to hazardous conditions, with an expected date of reopening.--number of alerts

•Allow partners to react with more agency than they can currently-pre and post survey of stakeholders impacted by closing

This proposal was prepared for the Central Library. Next ⇒

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