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Research Review: Examining The Adaptable Cycle of Engagement: A Win/Win Model for the Library by Sheryl Kaye

February 25, 2016


Back in 2013 I was doing my ALA due-diligence and keeping tabs on trends and broad conversations and was struck by a call, in one of the Strategic Objectives of their updated Missions, Priority Areas & Goals, for an “increase public awareness of the value and impact of all types of libraries and the important role of librarians and other library staff.” This shift to a more finely tuned consideration of the public/user perspective, much like the one transpiring in Human Information Seeking Behavior studies over the past 2o years, is critical to evolving with your user base and is increasingly driven by habits and info-seeking behaviors shaped by the better funded and ubiquitous commercial service areas. For most users (call them patrons, students, consumers, etc.), the expectation of what happens after they click on your resource or walk through your front door is inevitably shaped, initially at least, by expectations built from the service areas encountered in previous experiences. It stands to reason, then, that looking to the private or commercial sector for benchmarks and best practices in reaching and best-serving the shared user base makes sense.

Enter Sheryl Kaye’s work developing the ACE—Adaptable Cycle of Engagement. Shaped by her years as a Journalist and Business Consultant in various for-profit industries and the resulting observations on how varied approaches positively or adversely affected public engagement, this six-stage model proposes active steps to achieve tangible, measurable increases in the effectiveness of your public engagement strategies. Further, these six steps are cyclical…meaning that, if wielded effectively, positive action and public engagement only serves to reinforce and feed the next initiative in your agenda.

ACE Model
Figure 1: ACE Model from

I encourage you to read Sheryl’s work, and brush up on how your projects and priorities line up with those driving the ALA. Following her sense-making, yet effective steps will not only help you better design your outreach strategies, but the more engaged your user base, the more demonstrated value exists behind you and your library. In an era with melting budgets and an evolve-or-evaporate/ROI driven organizational review, fewer aids are more powerful than an engaged and well-served user base there to demonstrate and reinforce your real-world value.


KAYE, Sheryl. The Adaptable Cycle of Engagement: A Win/Win Model for the Library.Journal of Library Innovation, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 66-72, dec. 2015. ISSN 1947-525X. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 14 feb. 2016.


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