2021 Conference Reflections – Benchmarking

In this blog post, Luca shares a reflection of Colleen Cable’s session on leveraging benchmarking and using data to demonstrate the value and impact of a library to stakeholders.


Finding myself writing an annual report for the first time in a law library, I was looking forward to the talk by Colleen Cable during SLA Europe 2021 Conference on how to use data to promote library value, which was tailored for law libraries.

I used her suggestion to reflect on the following when reviewing the report:

  1. Measurements need to be meaningful to people outside of the library service – granularity is useful only to a certain point for the busy stakeholder of a law library
  2. Information must be simple and concise
  3. The data presented must refer to organisational strategy and its objectives to be valuable
  4. Storytelling is key: it inspires action in the reader and it makes data relatable

Presenting a report is like selling a product, and conducting a reference interview with yourself helps to better understand stakeholders’ requirements.

So I asked myself: what do I want to achieve; what am I selling (time-savings and efficiency); and how is it relevant to my audience?

Reviewing the report prepared with this in mind has already helped in rekindling a few points. Lastly, I highly recommend reading the very useful resource Colleen mentioned during the talk, which is ‘Defining ROI white paper’.


Our 2021 SLA Europe Conference was held from 30 June to 1 July. Over the two days, our delegates heard from a range of speakers and experts on the theme of Reflect | Redesign | Reboot

You can follow conversations from Day One of the Conference on Twitter and LinkedIn, either by following us @SLAEurope or by following the hashtag #ReflectRedesignReboot