Category Archives: Librarians, Libraries & the Profession

News: Download “The Transparent Library” e-book here!

TLCoverI am very happy to share that over the past few weeks Michael Casey and I have edited together all of the Library Journal “Transparent Library” columns into an e-book that we are making available for FREE to readers of TTW.

Here’s the description:

The “Transparent Library” gathers 29 columns from Michael Casey and Michael Stephens. Originally published in Library Journal from 2007 – 2009, the column explored concepts related to transparency, management, engaging communities, social media, strategic planning and constant change. The e-book includes supplemental essays and columns, and includes a new conversation “The Transparent Library Revisited.”

We’ve wanted to assemble the “Transparent Library” columns for some time. Including a few extra pieces from my “Office Hours” columns – including a piece called “The Transparent Library School”  – and Michael’s post from Tame the Web concerning participatory service, we believe this collected group of essays offers insights, conversation starters, and roadmaps for improving the openness of an information organization. Thank you for downloading. Please share far and wide.

By structuring the transparent library for constant and purposeful change we reduce the negative impact that change has on both the staff and user. Incorporating change into the organization through creative teams and open lines of communication allows the transparent library to add new tools, respond to changing community needs, and move ahead with new initiatives without shaking up the foundation.

PDF Version: TheTransparentLibrary2

Kindle Version: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/239835/The%2BTransparent%2BLibrary.mobi

transparent

Are you my mentor? Twitter & Mentoring – A TTW Guest Post by Abigail Willemse

Are you my mentor? An exploration of the intersection of Twitter & mentoring relationships.

In the real world mentors are usually organic relationships without specific titles, goals, or responsibilities. Mentors are simply experienced people you get to know and look to for advice, informally and organically. They’re people you go to coffee with, people you ask for guidance, and people you call when there’s a big decision to make. (Barr, 2013, para. 14)

Ideas about mentors and mentoring have changed a lot over the years, particularly with the advent of social media. As an avid Twitter user, I was curious as to how mentoring relationships may be formed and cultivated on this medium. I personally had experienced a lot of support, encouragement, and inspiration from other library and information professionals on Twitter and was keen to find out if this was the case for other people.

My research used a variety of methodologies, including a literature review and some qualitative questions, to explore this topic. Responses were received from fourteen librarians from Australia and New Zealand, and the results were then grouped thematically.

Five overall themes emerged which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Hung up on mentoring?
    There are a lot of different concepts of mentoring out there ranging from the more traditional concept of a hierarchical relationship of a student & teacher, to a more informal concept as described by Barr (2013). The participants’ responses indicated a spectrum of viewpoints of this concept.

  2. A rose by any other name…
    There are a variety of other terms such as PLN (Personal Learning Network), e-mentoring, and networking, that also describe the support and mutual encourage you may receive on Twitter. However, I feel that while relationships on Twitter are not always defined and announced as such, mentoring definitely features as part of active participation in my PLN through Twitter. It involves giving and receiving guidance, advice, support and expertise in a whole range of professional and personal issues.

  3. We’re all in this together!
    Twitter allows for an ‘flatter playing field’ (as described by one participant) in which peers can learn from and share with one another.

  4. Have you got a minute?
    Hurt (2013) recommends “mentoring moments” as formal mentoring relationship may stifle a good relationship. Instead of feeling you have to commit to a full-on relationship; what about just taking a moment to talk, find out where the other person is at, and offer input in that moment when they need it? It’s a lot like Twitter where you can ask for help or “crowd source” and often within minutes (once you have a bigger network) someone will give you a helpful answer or link.

  5. Twitter + other platforms.
    Twitter is a really useful place to find contacts and experts in the industry; it’s great for small bite-sized conversations, but longer more in-depth conversations are better to take place on other platforms such as email or blogs, or even face-to-face. Twitter is a really useful tool in breaking the ice; finding something in common with other people and experts and spending some time with them helps facilitate relationships & communication in other media as well. One participant noted that:

    Ideally a mentoring relationship could operate across multiple spaces, changing whenever the needs of the people in the relationship change. Ultimately, yes, I think Twitter can provide a good platform for conducting a mentoring relationship, with the proviso that it can move to other platforms or formats as necessary.

You can read my full research published in the New Zealand Library and Information Management Journal (NZLIMJ) here:

Willemse, A. J. (2014). Librarians using social media: The role of Twitter in forming and cultivating mentoring relationships. NZLIMJ, 53(3). http://www.lianza.org.nz/resources/lianza-publications/nzlimj-e-journal/librarians-using-social-media-role-twitter-forming-an

 

Sharon Cornwall_Abigail Willemse_01Oct2012_0003m-compressed-just-AbigailAbigail is a young and enthusiastic information professional hailing from New Zealand, currently employed as Electronic Resources Librarian at Wintec. She has worked in a variety of libraries & on a number of projects, including co-leading ANZ 23 Mobile Things. Her interests include social media, mentoring, new information professionals, and promoting all things library at every opportunity. You can find her on Twitter @ajwillemse91 or blogging at www.octopuslibrarian.wordpress.com

References

Barr, C. (2013, February 25). How to find a mentor [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinktraffic.net/how-to-find-a-mentor

Hurt, K. (2013, April 30). Mentoring moments: Just in time support [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://letsgrowleaders.com/2013/04/30/mentoring_moments/

 

Embracing Creativity and Play at CityLibraries Townsville

Warren Cheetham writes:

I am very proud of this, because it’s taken a cultural change of about five years to allow something like this video to be produced.

How so?

Digital storytelling is relatively cheap and easy to do, using the tools that most people carry with them each day – tablets, digital cameras and smart phones. Encouraging staff to take time to play with those devices at work has taken a lot of encouragement and support. It was seen as something outside of the ‘real job’ and the idea of taking work time to play seemed a bit wrong.
The second part of the journey involves the wider organisation understanding the opportunities social media can offer, to engage with our community, and not just communicate one way, in a formal, corporate voice using media releases.

In a world where 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, the production of this video might not seem too significant, but for me, it represents the end of old ideas and methods, and the releasing of staff to embrace play and show creativity in their daily work.

And don’t miss this post about Makerspace “rules:’ http://stainedglasswaterfall.blogspot.com/2013/09/make-good-things-make-things-good-our.html

News: Karen Schneider Wins the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst For Change Award

A heartfelt congratulations to Karen!

From http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/02/karen-schneider-wins-elizabeth-futas-catalyst-change-award

CHICAGO – Karen G. Schneider, university librarian at Holy Names University, Oakland, Calif., is the 2014 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award. This award is given biennially to an individual for making positive changes in the profession of librarianship and consists of a 24K gold-framed citation and $1,000 contributed by the Elizabeth Futas Memorial Fund of the American Library Association.

“The 2014 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award jury chose to honor Karen G. Schneider for a career noted by risk taking, inspiring and mentoring colleagues, and making opportunities for change out of the challenges to librarianship,” said Ann Symons, committee chair.

Throughout her career Schneider has served as a leader and innovator, creative thinker and writer, librarian and technology expert. As a member of the American Library Association Council, she has served many terms providing insightful and constructive discussion to issues facing the organization. While sometimes seeming outspoken, she has always been an articulate proponent of accountability, change and action.

Her blog, Free Range Librarian, was one of the earliest in the profession and her book, “A Practical Guide to Internet Filters,” resulted in her being selected as an expert witness in the Mainstream Loudon First Amendment case. Both serve as examples of her groundbreaking and life-long commitment within the library community.

“The Futas jury was unanimous in its choice for this award,” Symons said. “The committee was impressed by her unusual combination of integrity, skill, intellectual energy and commitment. As an innovator and catalyst for change, she has developed one of the earliest training programs for the Queens Library, wrote one of the first regular columns on Technology for American Libraries, and  founded both the Resource Sharing Committee of the Statewide California Library Consortium and the first rapid delivery network for California’s private academic libraries. It is this energy and passion for change that make Ms. Schneider the perfect recipient for the Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award.”

Members of the 2014 Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award Jury are: Ann K. Symons, Chair, Douglas, Alaska.; Holly Clark Carroll, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, Colo.; Judith J. Field, Wayne State University, Northville, Mich.; Samantha Schmehl Hines, Missoula College Library, Mont.; and Denise M. Zielinski, Joliet Public Library, Ill..

The Futas Award will be presented on Sunday, June 29, at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

A New Logo for TTW

A shout out to John LeMasney this Monday morning as I finish spiffing up our new look here at Tame the Web. An email from ILI prompted me to ponder a new logo for TTW last week. I asked for thoughts from Facebook and John, a designer and technology consultant/trainer, messaged offering to work with me for free!

I follow John’s work on FB and must admit I was thrilled to get to work with him.

I filled out a “Design brief” at his site, we had a phone chat and then finished the process via Facebook chat. The Red Heart image above was an early iteration that I appreciated, but it felt a bit “nostalgic” to me.  If I was the type who got tattoos… :-)

His creative process is highlighted here:

http://lemasney.com/consulting/2014/02/01/32-365-designing-logo-tame-web-michael-stephens/

The finished logos are here:

ttw_block

 

cropped-ttw_horizontal1.png

 

Please click through and checkout John’s design work and checkout his presentation/training topics. I recommend his work highly.

Thanks John!

The User is Still Not Broken by Brian Kenney

Don’t miss Brian Kenney’s new column:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/60780-the-user-is-still-not-broken.html

Meet People Where They Are—Not Where We Want Them to Be

Libraries are very good at organizing and presenting content in anticipation of users’ needs. From cataloging resources to creating booklists, to offering workshops and classes, we’re all about meeting people where we think they may be. The trouble is, not all individuals fit into our elaborate schema.

It’s difficult to genuinely meet people where they are. It’s far easier to set up a system that we think might help most users—and a whole lot cheaper. Meeting people where they are can take a serious commitment of staff time.

In the past decade, libraries have experimented with creating alternatives to their “build it and they will come” paradigm. Teen librarians, working with teen advisory groups, have encouraged their users to help determine teen programs and services. Letting the public have a role in ordering materials is one way to open a library’s collection to its readers. Book-a-librarian programs allow us to focus on our users’ needs in more depth than is possible at a reference desk.

For several years, my library provided drop-in e-reader help. But in the past 12 months, interest in e-readers has taken a nosedive, so we expanded the program to offer help for other types of devices. The response has been enthusiastic: the public has hauled in cameras, phones, laptops, and iPads. No amount of handouts, FAQs on our Web site, and classes could begin to address the variety of questions we have received, and few programs have generated gratitude.

Technology isn’t something we offer, it’s something we do, and helping people understand how to use their technology is perfectly in line with what libraries do best: respond to people’s needs.

News: Library Effect Launches

Jan Holmquist shared this with me:

There is a new attempt to break out of the echo chamber and share the many different sides of library activities and the positive effects they have  on the communities they serve.library-effect-600 The goal of The Library Effect is to share stories about the many facets of library activities — and their outcomes — with a general audience. Good luck to Shannon K. McDonough (@shnmcd) with this fine initiative.

Read the first edition of The Library Effect here: http://thelibraryeffect.com/ – Then share with your library and non-library friends.

https://twitter.com/libraryeffect

From Michael : In the first edition you can read why Jan Holmquist thinks the library is the hummingbird (http://thelibraryeffect.com/2014/01/16/the-library-is-the-hummingbird/). You can also read about the library as community living room and mobilizing a volunteer army. Good luck to all involved with this initiative.

Congrats to Corinne Hill, LJ’s Librarian of the Year

“Honestly, I simply wanted to manage a library the way I had always wished I had been managed,” says Hill, with a laugh, when asked to describe her management style. “Coming up in this field, you get so tired of hearing ‘No,’ or ‘Let me tell you why that is not going to work,’ or ‘We tried that years ago; it didn’t work.’ ”

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/01/awards/corinne-hill-ljs-2014-librarian-of-the-year/