Library Revolution ponders “one point that kept coming up at Computers in Libraries is the importance of not asking for feedback unless you actually intend on doing something with it.”
When you ask your staff, users, and colleagues for feedback, are you prepared to do something with that feedback? Do you have a mechanism in place for handling suggestions in a productive way? Are you ready to encourage the development of the ideas offered up, constructively criticize, and put forth the effort necessary to transform raw ideas into effective, creative, and innovative efforts? How do you prove that the suggestions you’re asking for will be taken seriously… even if they involve bad 80’s dance-pop one hit wonders?
This kind librarian agreed to let me publish this email in response to our talk at CIL2008:
I attended the presentation about transparency given by you and Michael Casey at CIL2008, and I wanted to share a comment I had directly with you.
As you talked about transparency, the one concept that seemed intrinsic to all you said, but I thought should have been said is
I think it needs to be said because so few people actually do it when it comes to libraries. When I worked as a paraprofessional in a large library, I saw it from the other paraprofessionals. The library did a libqual survey where customer service was the only low score. This same library had an article written about the ‘rude library staff’ in the student paper. Yet all I heard from anyone was “Well, they’re not talking about me”, even though I knew exactly who it was.
Not only did one person not want to admit they could be nicer, but no one above her took responsibility for those under them and directly took notice of their interactions. If everyone had taken responsibility, everyone would have treated the patrons better, and the patrons would have treated us better, and everyone would be better off in the end.
In contrast to the large library, where you could avoid taking responsibility through anonymity, I now work at a very small library where taking responsibility is even more important. One of the first things I learned from working in a small library was that if I don’t pull my weight, the other librarian becomes overworked, and vice versa.
So if I screw up, and the other librarian catches it – there’s no one to blame but me. That’s a quick lesson in owning up to your errors! Fortunately, the other librarian and I have a great working relationship, so if we call one another out on something it’s easy to say “I’m a knucklehead” and take care of the problem. But can you imagine the frustration if we didn’t have that?
At any rate, I just wanted to share that experience with you. My husband attended a work seminar once where they had a guy whose big thing was “See it. Own it. Do it.” I think if librarians would take that approach more often, and stop being passive aggressive, libraries would be better overall.
One of my goals for the summer is to get a handle on Drupal. I’d like to incorporate it into LIS753 Internet Fundamentals and Design at Dominican. I’d like to assign workgroups the task of creating a library Web site with the OSS app. How’s the learning curve folks?
To get started, I’ll be listening and watching tomorrow in my office. Then, I’ll ask Blake for a sandbox.
My time at CIL was short so I didn’t attend much, including the feedback session for Swift. I am glad to get caught up via some excellent blogging:
I think ITI got user needs right for the conference. My needs? Top of the line speakers, organized sessions with paths to help me keep things relevant. Great moderators that help both audiences and presenters feel good about the space they are speaking in. Easy access to the internet (the only miss this time around — I’m sure they’ll learn for next time though). Ways to hook up with friends (the wiki and Twitter covered this for me) for social events. An RSS Aggregator to capture the blog posts about the conference (Google Reader covered this for me). And so on. One thing I personally did not need was something to aggregate materials together. There’s a website and a wiki and a whole lot of links to tie the two together. That’s more than sufficient aggregration for me. Then I’ll go to Twitter, Facebook, my Google Reader and whatnot to cover the rest. Then friends will tell me more.
Karen Schneider: http://freerangelibrarian.com/2008/04/13/crowdvine-versus-swift/
Then again, what was the point of that session? If you have to explain what your tool is really supposed to do, then your software is broken. Stop talking and stop making excuses. If you are the developer, go fix it, and if you are the customer, check your deliverables and ask yourself if you need to choose another product — or if you need the product to begin with.
I’ve been at IA Summit 2008 since Friday, and here’s the difference. The Crowdvine software actually works (and I could see how it worked BEFORE I signed in). It allows me to connect with other attendees, view sessions, and follow the zeitgeist. I didn’t have to sign a crappy term of service. It wasn’t broken the first time I logged in. The interface is pleasingly pulled together, the fonts are not squinchy-tiny, and yes, rumors to the contrary, it “interfaces” with Facebook–and with RSS, Flickr, and other social software.
Note to self: investigate Crowdvine.
We. Don’t. Care. We use products called things like ooVoo, Tumblr, Hulu, andTwitter. Clearly names are not at the top of our list when we choose products or service. We didn’t care about the history of the product, nor even really about its intended use. The street finds its own uses. The point of Web2.0 and Library 2.0 is to provide tools.
Several people in the room commented on the fact that The Otter Group seemed not at all interested in really hearing about the problems with the product. Everything was blamed on “being beta”, or on the lawyers, or something. My take on it is that they just don’t seem to get the social web, as hard as they tried and as much history as they have in trying to make it a commercial product. They fell hard once with their ALA Bootcamp, and if possible fell even harder with Cil2008 and SWIFT.
I must also weigh in that ITI puts on some of the best conferences ever. CIL2008 was absolutely the place to be for engaged sessions, dynamic speakers, an amazing layer of social networking via Twitter, blogs, Flickr etc and time to network with new and old friends.
Ruth at Utopian Library reports on CIL:
The common message at this year’s conference, at least from where I sat in each room, is this:
- The library has a story to tell.
- The story is about community. It’s not about the library.
- The community and the library can engage and support each other through creative use of social software and the library’s online presence.
- The library’s online presence and “virtual branch” rely on precious resources: money, staff, and time.
Don’t miss Nancy Dowd’s shared presentation from CIL2008:
I was very happy to meet Nancy in person after our talk. I really appreciate what she does and her take on marketing in libraries. Her thoughts on transparency and the Old School are spot on and should be discussed.
Have you ever encountered an old school business that wants to control the message so much that the humanity, transparency and message itself gets muddled?
I was honored to present yesterday at CIL2008 with Michael Casey. We had not been on the same speaking ticket since 2006 when we helped launch Helene Blower’s Learning 2.0 program at PLCMC. The CIL presentation was in tandem and titled “Transparency, Planning & Change: See-Through Libraries,” created in part from our work on the Library Journal column we co-author.
We asked the group to share roadblocks. Thankfully, David Lee King blogged some of the sharing:
inability to use open source software
we’ve always done it this way
control-freak IT support
No admin priviledges
only making cosmetic changes
The excessive love of process
The room was very long and narrow and we ran around a bit to make sure everyone heard questions and discussion points. I want to thank Michael for being a great co-presenter, all who attended and sat in that oddly shaped room, and especially Helene for organizing such an incredible track centered on change.
Rikhei Harris offers some outstanding commentary on ITI aligning with SWIFT for CIL:
I frequently use Creative Commons licenses for my work, and such, I grant many of the rights outlined above to anyone who can use my works. However, I am very hesitant to grant rights to commercial entities – especially such extensive rights as are outlined above. I granted Information Today, Inc. the rights to distribute papers, presentation slides, and recordings of the panel on which I will be speaking.
The difference, however, is that Information Today was very transparent in the agreement about how these items will be used. In short, they will be used to to help disseminate my work, and that of other presenters, more widely in the library community. While I expect this will bring Information Today some profit, I am satisfied because I believe that the proceedings or recordings they publish will be of value to people who work in libraries.
Unfortunately, I am not convinced that using SWIFT will bring similar benefits to librarians and other library staff – nor am I convinced of its benefit to me as a presenter and attendee of the conference.
I was glad to read this post. I have never had issue with granting ITI rights for any of the conferences I’ve done with them. They also allowed me to post all of my CIL articles on TTW after the agreed upon window. I am also very serious these days about Creative Commons and license all of my presentations that way, while steering clear of granting any rights to commercial companies. Rikhei does a fine job of detailing her views of this offering.