Category Archives: professional development

NOTES: Project Management for Libraries

These are my notes from the webinar Project Management 101 presented by Emily Almond, from May 18, 2011.

  • A project is a temporary endeavor, having a defined beginning and end, undertaken to meet unique goals & objectives usually to bring about beneficial change or added value.
  • PMI – Project Management Institute
  • PMP – Project Management Professional
  • To do “proper” project management, you have to follow a really really really detailed process chart.
  • Most critical pieces of PM: 1) Initiating: identify stakeholders, document business need, identify stakeholders, 2) Planning: create project scope statement (triple constraint), develop schedule/budget (triple constraint), risk management
  • Librarians are good at mentally pushing over the first domino & watching what follows, good at predicting how things will happen. Librarians are natural project managers.
  • Identify stakeholders: who will affect or be affected by the project? who has influence over the project?
  • Document Business Need: justification, why is this project being done?
  • Determine Project Objectives: what specific product or outcome is wanted? what will be the end result of the project?
  • Planning: Create Project Scope Statement: where does the project begin and where does it end?
  • Project management triangle
  • Three sides of triangle: time – cost ($ + money) – scope
  • If one side of the triangle changes, they all change.
  • The triangle is sacred.
  • The triangle must remain equilateral.
  • Hand off completed product: this is your chance to shine.
  • Throw a party when you’re done with your project. Celebrate your accomplishment. (Triangle-themed party with pi!).
  • Prove you were successful!
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An Unquiet Birthday

Visitor Pass

Yesterday, on my 38th birthday, I drove more than an hour to meet Buffy Hamilton at the Unquiet Library, the aptly-named media center at Creekview High School in Cherokee County, GA.

The occasion of my visit was an open house for the public (though media specialists and librarians were the folks who showed up) to come see and hear the things she and her staff have accomplished.  Buffy aptly describes their great work regularly on her blog so I won’t go into that too  much here, but I have to say that meeting her in person was very inspirational for me.  She’s doing outstanding work there and is clearly overflowing with ideas about improving her learning and teaching skills.  Her infectious energy reflects her dedication to her students and her craft, and her ideas are applicable across the spectrum of librarianship, from media specialists to public to academic. I look forward to brainstorming and collaborating with her in the future.

Unquiet Library

It wasn’t the best birthday present I got (my four year old daughter got me Star Wars LEGOs for us to play with together), but it was a mighty fine one and one that I’ll cherish as I contemplate future professional projects.

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Buffy, do not pass it up!

NOTES: Ten Tips for Effective Mentoring Programs with Paul Signorelli

These are my notes from the webinar Ten Tips for Effective Mentoring Programs with Paul Signorelli (resource list / slides), from April 21, 2011. #mentorapr11

  • New book: Workplace Learning & Leadership by Lori Reed & Paul Signorelli
  • If you don’t set up goals up front, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  • Mentoring is essential to organizations.
  • Mentorship programs help staff develop leadership skills, could be a line item in a strategic plan.
  • Mentoring is not heirarchical, doesn’t follow the organizational structure.
  • A mentor needs to be part of community-building exercises within the organization.
  • For a program to be successful, it needs a leader.
  • Leaders don’t need to have leadership titles.
  • Asking questions shows initiative.
  • Shouldn’t be a problem to have a mentor younger than you.
  • Open doors equal open ideas.
  • Put yourself out there if you want to be a mentor, don’t wait for people to come to you to ask you to get involved.
  • A mentor won’t fault you for failing.
  • Learning does not happen in a classroom; it happens when people get out and do something.
  • Mentoring needs to be more than warm, fuzzy conversations.

NOTES: Libraries in a Transliterate World

LIBRARIES IN A TRANSLITERATE WORLD
Presenter: Bobbi Newman
www.librarianbyday.net

librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/

Presented to NGAL on April 13, 2011

If anything here inaccurately portrays Bobbi’s message, I blame a combination of bad paraphrasing on my part and / or my poor handwriting skills. That’s right, I can’t even read my own handwriting half the time.

Bobbi just started a new position as Learning Engagement Manager at the Richland County Public Library (Columbia, SC).  The position title was changed from Training Manager because, and I love this, “Learning is something you do; training is something that happens to you.”

Transliteracy is about the role of librarians in the 21st century. It’s the ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media.  It puts the focus on patrons, rather than ourselves. (For more on transliteracy in general, see the Transliteracies Project, though it is not library-focused. Many national conversations exclude libraries, even though the subject lies squarely in our areas of expertise, so it is incumbant upon us to insert ourselves into those conversations.)

Librarians have to be ready for the 21st century because things are changing quickly. Everything is moving online: insurance documents, gov docs, tax forms, homework help, bill pay, et al.  Online access is not essential to life but improves quality of life.  Social networking helps keep us connected to the world, both personally and professionally, and people need connections.  While the US Government should be lauded for instituting the National Broadband Planit is just laying broadband lines and doesn’t address the ability of people to access it.  Digital Divide: 65% of American households have broadband access, which has created a new second class citizen.

Transliteracy is not a destination. Identify your audience and the best way to communicate with them. How do people determine the authority of websites? It’s a critical skill to know when browsing the web, but not everyone knows it. Sometimes patrons feel like there’s too much information available, but as Clay Shirky says, “It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure.”

If libraries don’t address these issues, then who? Some people in the library profession like to grouse about how “I didn’t go to library school for this.” Well, it’s your job now, just like unjamming the copier is your job.  Stop fighting technology; it’s about what the patron wants and needs.

Change is hard.  You need to have a clear process with specific goals to move forward with transliteracy. 23 Things, developed by the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, is a fantastic framework for easing staff into transliteracy.  The 21st Century is no place for a timid librarian, so it’s time for us to be bold and tackle these new challenges head on.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.” – General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, USArmy

Choose Your Own Adventure

Management books share the same basic flaw as diet books: they ignore your uniqueness. They lay out plans and patterns and strategies in such general terms that they never quite seem to fit with the way you live and work. Sometimes they get close. Sometimes you can run your life successfully by following their advice, but it always seems like you have to tweak their advice to make it work for you or drop certain specifics of their plans. People are not plastic molds that can be mass produced, little management drones or fitness machines. The best leaders come up with their own personal management styles.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, as I consider my future in librarianship. I’m already on the management track in my library system and would like to continue to advance and get more involved with professional organizations. To prepare myself, I’m trying to shape my own personal style, using my former and current supervisors as models of what to do and what not to do. I want to use my skills and abilities to provide ideas, input, and services that no one else can, delivered in a way that no one else can.  I want to be a good enough leader that I can guide myself into the future that’s right for me. I want to write my own personal management book, shelved in the stacks of my brain.

Time to get started. Time to turn the page.

NOTES: Strategy for Blogging and Social Networking

These are my notes from Strategy for Blogging and Social Networking, part of the Carterette Series Webinars (archived here / additional materials here), presented by Casey Long of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, and Sarah Steiner of Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

  • Libraries need a plan for social media. If you don’t have a plan or buy-in from your staff and the organization, the patrons will not come.
  • Don’t just do it because everyone else is doing it. Be invested or don’t do it.
  • You can get started by blogging and having the blog content feed into Facebook & Twitter. Not a best practice, but it’s a way to get started. Better to use the strengths of each platform to push your message in a unique way.
  • Setting up a plan for your social media:
  • Consider Your Audience:
  • It’s important to speak to people in your community, in your library, find out how they want to interact with you.
  • Use focus groups (if you have funds, bribe with pizza! mmm… pizza) to determine how the community wants to interact.
  • Use small surveys or Census data.
  • Develop content to give people something to react to, more concrete.
  • Set Content Areas:
  • What do users of the library want to know?
  • What kind of content does the library have to offer?
  • What does the library want to communicate?
  • Content suggestions: interviews with users, reposts / retweets of relevant materials from patrons, highlighted materials, service launches
  • Use social media to create a community. Don’t just push content; work with your community to create content.
  • It’s vital to use a tagging system on your blogs.
  • Choose a Target Audience:
  • Show particular populations that they are valuable to you and you want to engage with them.
  • If you don’t put any time into posting things, no one’s going to come to your site.
  • Spread out the work among staff, and it doesn’t end up being too much work for any one person.
  • Assign posts to staff to write based on their own interests / strengths.
  • Have specific staff assigned to watching Facebook / Twitter streams.
  • Assess Your Success:
  • 1. Incorporate a cycle of assessment.
  • 2. Review data.
  • 3. Ask patrons.
  • Use Google Analytics to track your traffic.
  • Social media strategy best practices:
  • 1. Be honest about your time / ability
  • 2. Don’t try to do everything at once
  • 3. Be human
  • 4. Give the process time
  • 5. Use the platform that’s right for your library
  • 6. Don’t feel like you have to be everywhere,
  • 7. Set metrics for success
  • 8. Assign responsibility
  • 9. Create community / involve your users
  • 10. Try different things
  • 11. Don’t fear the reaper – if it’s not working, adjust your approach or abandon it.

NOTES: What is a Benefit Statement?

These are my notes from Pattern Research’s webinar I Cured a Cold, Passed My Test & Got a Great Job: What is a Benefit Statement & How Can It Help Your Library’s Customers Succeed? by Pat Wagner and Tim Sullard (archived here / handouts here).

  • Benefit Statements work, help attract support from community.
  • Rule #1: Our actions speak louder than our slogans.
  • Rule #2 We are all too close to our own stuff. You’re too close to your own work to write about it objectively. GET HELP.
  • Rule #3 Our best partners are our library’s customers.  Let your library customers do 75% of the work on improving library. Get their input into strategic planning, services, etc.
  • Rule #4 Write like a reporter.
  • The more we can share our successes, the more people will appreciate us.
  • How we define our worlds will show how customers want to use their library:
    • Age: +/- 20 years – one generation / different generations have different goals and priorities
    • Socioeconomic status – generally, there is a big difference in salary and education between library staff and customers.
    • Proximity & attention: who do you hang with?
  • Who Are YOU Thinking About?
    • What YOU want: More people to say “thank you” to me.
    • Think about customers not yourself.
  • Who Are THEY Thinking About?
    • What THEY want: a pleasant place to hide out, THEY keep their jobs, THEY find & read books
  • Education leads customers to life successes.
  • Have customers in the room when you’re writing benefit statements so that you don’t get bogged down in library-ese language.
  • Write Benefit Statements from the library customer’s point of view & use first person, what I CAN or HAVE accomplished.
  • What Works:
    • Use a graphic representation (cartoon, photo, painting, etc.)
    • “Show” that the library has changed people’s lives, don’t JUST “tell”.
    • Graphic can make reader smile and nod, connects to reader’s life, engaging, surprising, humorous, compels reader to action.
  • Get the person reading the statement to do something different b/c they were so taken by the example of what the library does.
  • Benefits Statement: What the library is already accomplishing. Strategic Plans are for future planning, what you WANT to do.
  • Gather input from customers all the time. “Yet” can be an important word. “Given our financial situation, we don’t know how to solve that problem YET. Do you have any ideas?”
  • The library is not more important than the people it serves.
  • Cathedral builder anecdote
  • Simplify your language: fewer, shorter, more succinct words.
  • It’s not about the cool things the library is doing; it’s the change in customers’ behaviors, how it’s changed their lives.
  • Keep it short. People unconsciously hold their breath while reading a sentence, so long sentences without commas will make them uncomfortable.
  • We love toys / gadgets for the sake of the toy, rather than for the purpose it can bring our customers.
  • Use concrete images, not abstract.
  • Typical Mistakes:
    • 1) Benign contempt for users. People who think they’re superior to others don’t write good Benefits Statements.
    • 2) Lack of respect for their expertise. People know their lives better than you do.
    • 3) Not taking the time to know customers (usually, we’re too busy). Need to find people interesting.
    • 4) Not continually inviting their input. It’s a librarian’s job to constantly gather customers’ input.
    • 5) Not allowing them to make decisions.
    • 6) Not aligning with their points of view.
  • Writing like a library user.
    • Focus strategic plan on users.
    • Connecting to larger community.
    • Selling the library’s relevance.
    • Demonstrating commonality.
    • Building trust & respect – treating users as equals.
    • Inspiring loyalty.
  • Acting like a user. Make customer-centered decisions:
    • strategic focus
    • staff behavior
    • create physical environments
    • resource allocation
  • Have the people making the decisions actually USED the library like a customer uses it?
  • Make physical environment friendly and welcoming.
  • Next Steps:
    • 1) Invite library users to help you
    • 2) Listen to what they have to say
    • 3) Make them important in the process
    • 4) Ask them to write for you
    • 5) Find out how the library benefits them, collect stories
    • 6) Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Use public domain art to demonstrate your themes. Flickr has lots of public domain & fair use art.
  • Use social media to gather input, when appropriate, but know your audience. Make it one piece of what you’re doing.

NOTES: Money Matters

These are my notes from Money Matters: Teaching Financial Literacy Skills, the GPLS Wednesday Webinar by Trudi Green and Teri Hanna (archived here / Powerpoint slides here).

(Thanks to Buffy Hamilton, whose tweets I shamelessly used to bolster my own notes.)

  • Money Matters: Because Your Future Matters
  • 33% of Americans carry credit card balances up to $10,000
  • Negative information stays on your credit for 7 years
  • FINRA Investor Education Foundation – FINRA Report: 1500 surveyed, half had trouble with regular expenses, no rainy day funds, non-bank borrowing
  • 52% – own financial knowledge is good, but many incur late fees and other expenses, fail to comparison shop, and cannot calculate interest.
  • Financial literacy is one of the competencies in the IMLS 21st Century Museum and Library Skills report.  IMLS report themes: financial, environmental and health literacy & global awareness
  • 54% of Americans pay their credit card balance in full each month
  • Georgia is 3rd in the nation in bankruptcies, 12% “Unbanked” (45% of those without a high school diploma)
  • Smart Investing @ Your Library – partnership w/ FINRA & ALA/RUSA, > $3m in grants, invitation only
  • OneAthens / Partners for a Prosperous Athens – community-wide forum, education key goal, better-educated workforce: more jobs & better-paid workers
  • Money Matters classes: community programs, 6 hours of basic financial instruction, “graduates” qualify for GED scholarships
  • Benefits of GED / diploma: increase earning power, more job opportunities, jobs with better benefits, financial security
  • Grant idea: partner with Athens-Clarke Literacy Council, library offers financial literacy classes, ACLC offers GED scholarships
  • Putting the grant together: Take Money Matters class; learn about finance, credit, banking, etc.; complete 6 classes; complete GED exam; get a job; earn good wages; manage money better because of Money Matters classes
  • Grant covers: salary, library materials, printing, publicity, LearningExpress
  • All consumers are legally entitles to receive a free copy of their credit reports annually from each of the 3 credit-reporting bureaus
  • In general, millionaires have money because they have made good, sound financial decisions, not because they inherited it.
  • Credit Card Act of 2009: new requirements phased in starting Aug 2009-2010.  Consumer protections: limited interest rate increases, right to opt out, limits on over-the-limit fee, subprime credit cards, protection of young consumers (limited credit to young adults, under 21), enhanced consumer disclosures (min. payments).
  • White House Fact Sheet: Reforms to Protect American Credit Card Holders
  • Credit card companies are required to disclose the consequences of only making the minimum payment each month.
  • Detailed disclosure on the new law
  • Comprehensive guide to the Credit CARD Act.
  • Morningstar: What New Credit Card Rules Mean for You.
  • What the new law means to you: higher upfront costs (annual fees), fewer “reward” cards, shorter grace periods, account closures & credit limit reductions (no advance notice required), no cap on interest rates, less accessibility for low income & bad credit
  • Credit Score Factors: 35% On-time payment, 30% capacity use, 15% length credit history, 10% types credit used, 10% past credit applications
  • FICO score – there are other scores available, but FICO is the gold standard
  • Course development: FINRA modules, Money Matters Advisory Board, GED pilot program
  • Grant allowed the library to put together a stronger financial literacy collection: the basics, retirement, mortgages, college, sophisticated investors, ValueLine & LearningExpress testing database
  • ACCL | Money Matters: Because Your Future Matters
  • Money Matters series: 6 one hour classes, GED scholarship opportunity, offered at GED program locations
  • Money Matters classes: managing your credit score, investing basics, investing II, Money Matters for Engaged & Newly Married Couples
  • Sustainability: establish the ongoing need for the program, evaluate to ensure needs are being met, determine cost to continue
  • Replicability: do your homework, start small, look for partners (credit union, local colleges), other grants

NOTES: Tech Tips

These are my notes from Tech Tips Training Series, the GPLS Wednesday Webinar by Karen Douglas (archived here).

GPLS Wednesday Webinar Series

  • Web 1.0 was about reading and learning.
  • Web 2.0 is about collaboration and making connections. Web 2.0 incites people of all ages to participate with emerging technologies!
  • “Tech Tips” are presentations for both staff and patrons at Athens-Clarke County Public Library.
  • How do you advertise your libraries programs?  PSAs to local radio stations, online calendar, library homepage announcements, signs in branches (always in the same place).
  • How often should you have library programs and when? Monthly / every other month / quarterly. During the day, during lunch, sometimes evenings.
  • What equipment will you need? A laptop or desktop computer, internet connection (wired is faster but wireless is okay), projector, screen, speakers connected to computer.
  • Who makes a good presenter?  Library staff, volunteers, board members, local college students, Friends of the Library, other professionals (esp. in technology fields).
  • “A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, alos known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration.” – Wikipedia
  • How do you archive your presentations? Use Camtasia Studio to produce videos, upload to www.screencast.com or YouTube, or burn to CDs to send to branches.
  • Can also use Audacity to capture audio.
  • Training videos are available online 24/7. Staff can enjoy this training at any time.
  • Camtasia will assist in burning to CD – their video player is included in the file, so you don’t need to worry about the trainee having Real Player or Windows Media Player, etc. already on their machine.
  • Sample screencast from Karen’s library, Athens-Clarke County Public Library
  • Free options for creating screencasts: CamStudio, Screencast-o-Matic, Jing, AviScreen
  • What do I need to create a video?
    Screencasting software
    Microphone
    Quiet room with no interruptions
    Presenter’s notes
    Internet connection
    Familiarity with the software
    Lots of patience
    Plenty of time for recording
    Ample time for editing
  • How can I get more ideas?
  • Create a survey for staff and patrons.
    Mashable
    Common Craft
    WebJunction
    Library bloggers, such as David Lee King
  • Should you offer captions for the hearing impaired? Yes, if doing for an unknown audience. If you know your audience (staff, for instance) has no hearing impairment, it’s probably okay to leave them off.
  • Evaluations after presentations can get good information from participants.
  • Public library wants to provide good training for staff and public for the common good, not as a revenue-generator.
  • With Camtasia, you can convert a PowerPoint presentation to video. Not sure about the free tools.

NOTES: Free Learning

Wednesday Webinar Series

  • eLearning = Free Learning
  • “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.” – Jonathan Swift
  • eLearning is not just about technology… it’s about people (Steve’s caveat: unless you’re training robots)
  • Three Blended Learning Components:
    1. Learning environment
    2. Instructional practices
    3. Media
  • Learning environment can be synchronous, asynchronous, or a blend of the two.
  • Synchronous learning is real time so gives you a chance to communicate (examples of synchronous media: live webinar, webconference, video streaming).  Synchronous learning is structured and requires a dedicated instructor.
  • Asynchronous is a self-paced course (examples of asynchronous media: course modules, screencasts, podcasts, video capture).  Asynchronous training typically has lower completion rates.  Use self-paced courses for teaching lower cognitive levels.
  • Many libraries don’t have the resources to have a staff member dedicated to training, esp. synchronous training.
  • This webinar was synchronous as it was happening, but it will be asynchronous when people view the archive.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the bells & whistles in training products. Don’t get distracted by the bright shinies. Identify the behaviors you want your class to learn and concentrate on that rather than the shinies.
  • Eureka moments: wake up in the middle of the night with a fantastic new idea (and wife tells you “Shut up! No one cares!”).
  • A.D.D.I.E.: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation.  Most libraries don’t have staff or funds to do much analysis.
  • Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • You’ll get the most dollar value from asynchronous media, specifically course modules and screencasts.
  • eLearning Utility Belt (free resources): Screencast-o-matic, udutu, HyperCam Screen Recorder, Audacity
  • Jay generally uses commercial products but combines elements from some of these free resources.
  • “Making online courses can become like digital crack!”
  • Screencasts are good at capturing knowledge, combining text with video. Screencasts should be short, not for in-depth info (don’t try to answer “Why?” questions).  Use screencasts for “see and do” learning.
  • 10 Commandments of Screencasting:
    1. Discuss only one topic per screencast.
    2. Introduce topic within first 60 seconds.
    3. Keep it short.
    4. Include audio.
    5. Storyboard your screencast but do not script. It makes you sound better, especially if you make last minute changes to the presentation. Don’t sound like a robot (my caveat: unless you are one).
    6. Speak conversationally. Change your inflections and talk slowly and clearly.
    7. Demonstrate, explain, and repeat.
    8. Utilize special effects sparingly (if everything’s special, nothing is).
    9. Annotate when possible.
    10. Test your product before making it public.
  • Screencast example from GCPL, Jay’s library (and mine, too!)
  • When making a course, humanize it. Use humor and real world examples.
  • All you have to communicate is your computer screen. Use it to captivate your audience.
  • Work from a template so that all of your learning courses have a consistent look.
  • Start your course with a bang – it should be gangsta!
  • Design your classes with the end result in mind.
  • Resource packet