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“Straight to the Heart of Things”—Reflecting on Library Metaphors for Impact and Assessment

Richard A. Stoddart
Assessment Librarian
Oregon State University and Press

Abstract

This paper explores the use and creative application of library metaphors. Unfortunately, the facts aren’t always able to speak for themselves. Simply stating reference statistics, gate counts, and resource circulation numbers are not persuasive narratives in and of themselves. Voice and context needs to be given to these forms of evidence in order create connections within our communities. These connections create pathways for stakeholders to draw meaningful conclusions and thus transference of the story libraries are trying to tell.  Uncovering the words and stories that resonate within our communities is challenging work. One simple and dynamic tool to begin to tell the story of our libraries is through the use of metaphor.

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