Administration, Management, and Finance

Continuing the Conversation: Hiring, Training and Supervising Library Shelvers

We just wrapped up Pat Tunstall’s three-part workshop Hiring, Training and Supervising Library Shelvers. This was a fantastic event with some great discussion! 

Pat’s slides for all three parts are posted below. If you didn’t have a chance to participate, check them out!

Continuing the Conversation: Creating Presentations that Don't Put People to Sleep

We just wrapped up Maurice Coleman’s workshop Creating Presentations That Don’t Put People to Sleep. Maurice did a fantastic job of leading this event, which included some great discussion!

The readings, resources and slides for the event are listed below. Have further questions or comments? Whether you participated in the event or not, feel free to chime in via the comments area below!

The Readings for Today’s Workshop:


Resources Mentioned During Today’s Event:


Maurice’s Slides:


New Workshop: Be a Great Boss: Kickoff to Your Year of Learning

Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success, a 2011 ALA Editions bestseller, is organized like a calendar along 12 monthly themes comprising 52 modules. Growing as a manager means learning by experience. Even so, professional development does not have to be haphazard. The book invites you to learn proactively, providing structure and a print companion on what can be a lonely journey.

In this season of goal-setting, make your commitment to improved management skills more social and register for the new ALA Editions Workshop Be a Great Boss: The Kickoff to Your Year of Learning. Starting January 5, author Catherine Hakala-Ausperk will present a series of four webinars over the next three months. With her as your guide, you will join fellow participants in a learning community, interacting in chat during the webinars and in email discussions in between sessions.

Catherine presented a Workshop in the fall. Her comment on the follow-up blog post is an example of the guidance that you can expect after webinar discussions.

This excerpt from the book shows the structure and some ideas of the program.

Be a Great Boss

Community Partnership: How to Raise Money and Build Relationships

Paul Signorelli is currently teaching the ALA Editions eCourse Community Partnership: Raising Money and Building Relationships. The course begins today, but its not too late to register at the ALA Store.

At a very important yet oft-overlooked level, every member of library staff is now a fundraiser in a very competitive environment. That’s because great fundraising comes from the building of great relationships, and all library staff members play a role in nurturing and sustaining positive and mutually beneficial relationships between libraries and the communities they serve—in good as well as in challenging times.

Fostering effective collaborations is at the heart of the ALA Editions’ Community Partnership: How to Raise Money and Build Relationships, which runs online from Monday, October 3 through Sunday, October 30, 2011. But don’t let the fundraising aspect scare you. We’re as much concerned here with the collaboration-relationship side of the equation as we are with the funding and in-kind gifts that result from those relationships.

There are wonderful resources to be explored here, including the Urban Libraries Council report Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. It’s as fresh today as it was when it was published in January 2007. We’ll be using it as an anchor to our explorations and discussions of how partnerships are developed and what some of our most creative colleagues have been doing to serve as active participants within their communities.

We’ll also have access to the complete version of Providing for Knowledge, Growth, and Prosperity: A Benefit Study of the San Francisco Public Library rather than the executive summary that is available on the Internet. Reading and discussing that document in conjunction with the use of other articles, short online videos, and PowerPoint presentations from several sources will help us recognize the benefits we bring to our communities so we can better demonstrate the worth of our organizations to our current and prospective community partners.

And we’ll finish this four-week interactive course with an in-depth look at one of the hottest recent library-business community partnerships—the e-reader project between the Sacramento Public Library and Barnes & Noble.

There will be plenty of other resources to explore, and the collaborations we develop will include the interactions among our learning colleagues from libraries across the country as we use an online bulletin board to share weekly assignment postings, engage in optional weekly office-hour chats, and produce resources we can immediately use in our efforts to create, nurture, and sustain partnerships that benefit our communities.

To register, please visit the ALA Store.

Continuing the Conversation: Be a Great Boss

We just wrapped up the ALA Editions Workshop Be a Great Boss  with Cathy Hakala-Ausperk. We had some fantastic discussion during this event, and we’re using the comments area of this post to continue it. Whether you attended or not, feel free to join the conversation!

The Preliminary Readings from Today’s Event
Cathy’s Slides

Be a Great Boss--ALA Editions Workshop

Workplace Learning & Leadership: It’s a Book!

They may not be as heart-warming and engaging as the words “it’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” are. And we’re certainly not giving out cigars. But the phrase “it’s (finally) a book” is tremendously satisfying and rewarding to those of us who have given birth to one.

The recent publication of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Nonprofit Trainers, which Lori Reed and I co-wrote for ALA Editions over a two-year period while meeting quite a few other professional and personal commitments, does bring home the satisfaction that accompanies any extended act of creation—particularly one that celebrates the spirit of collaboration by itself being the product of extended and extensive collaborations.

And it’s far from being all about us. Workplace Learning & Leadershipreflects the collaborations we established with acquisitions editor Christopher Rhodes and other colleagues at ALA Editions. It also is the result of collaborations with the trainer-teacher-learners—many of them active in the ALA Learning Round Table–who volunteered hours of their time for the interviews that are the heart of the book

Given the theme—that workplace learning and performance professionals are increasingly ineffectual if we don’t assume leadership roles within our organizations and foster the development of communities of learning—there’s little surprise in the acknowledgement that our colleagues helped create what ALA Editions published. It’s one thing for trainer-teacher-learners like Lori and me to try to pull together our own experiences in a way that helps others learn how to create effective training programs. It’s quite another to recognize that learning is at least partially fostered through effective storytelling, and that it takes a lot of great storytellers to create a book about effective learning.

Gathering some of the best storytellers we know, then taking a back seat to those storytellers so they could engage readers in a memorable and entertaining learning experience, reflects what we all know about learning: it has to be sticky. And stickiness is enhanced by a variety of voices.

The foundation for all of this, of course, is recognition that success in training-teaching-learning is rooted in a sense of humility. It’s not about any of us posing as the ultimate experts in our field. Nor is it about achieving a level of expertise and then resting on our laurels. Learning is continuous—as is the act of gathering and documenting practices that benefit all of us—so what we have done throughWorkplace Learning & Leadership and our ongoing attempts to stay ahead of those who rely on us to provide effective learning experiences is to celebrate.

We are celebrating the joys and benefits of collaboration. Of community. And the effective use of leadership to the benefit of all we serve. We are also celebrating the leadership skills all of us have developed as well as the leadership skills we see in others. Most importantly, we are celebrating the positive effects our efforts have on learners and the people whom they ultimately serve.

It’s all about providing something of lasting worth. Something that contributes to the workplace learning and performance endeavors we all adore. And something that will reach and touch members of our community we otherwise might not have the chance to meet.

Truth is Stranger than Fiction...

One of the themes of "Be A Great Boss: One Year to Success" is that leaders can and should learn a lot from one another. That's proving to be the case with this book! I was contacted recently by someone who said he'd purchased copies for friends and colleagues and they'd decided it would be helpful to have somewhere they could go to discuss what they were learning and the experiences they were having. So, a Facebook group was born!

Trevor A. Dawes, from the Princeton University Library, created the "Be A Great Boss" group to provide "a space for those reading and using the book, Be A Great Boss, to share their experience with other readers in an attempt to learn even more through the shared experience. All comments on how the lessons have helped (or not) your daily work lives are welcome. " If you'd like to read more or to join, go to  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/home.php?sk=group_111147028962562&ap=1.

Who Wants to be a Manager

Catherine Hakala-Ausperk is the author of Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success.

As an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science, I start each semester by telling students in my Management class that, when I took this course back in the 80s, the professor began by asking us “Who wants to be a manager?” Only a few of us tentatively raised our hands, fearing the wrath of our peers either because of our ambition or our foolishness at dreaming so big. Everyone else was there because it was a core class.

Undeterred, she assured everyone they’d learn something useful in the coming weeks, even if management wasn’t the specific career path they’d chosen. Now, I tell students they’d better all be raising their hands because times have changed and today, as professional librarians, they’ll no longer have the choice to opt out. They’ll all be managing something!

Staffing models and organizational charts have changed and are continuing to do so. Driven both by economic reality and modern service expectations, when libraries can fill open positions with MLIS librarians, they’re asking and requiring more professional work than ever before. “In today’s market,” I explain, “if I don’t need you to supervise people or manage a department or budget or facility, then I’m probably just going to hire a para-professional.” Finally, all hands go up!
Another sobering reality sinks in around the second class or so. “Between right now and when you start your first day as a manager,” I caution them, “this will probably be the only management education you’re going to get.” One class. Then, maybe a few years will go by. But, maybe not. In libraries around the country, recent grads are finding themselves in positions my contemporaries and I would have expected to spend years working into. Today’s managers are “newer” (I won’t say younger, since that’s not always the case) than ever before.

So, where do they turn to learn more? How can they find other opportunities to develop those management skills that are probably as distant as memories of grad school research papers? One option is to take themselves through a one-year, self-development course using “Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success.” Written for both brand new managers and ones who’ve not had a training opportunity for some time, my book will help them work at developing the understanding, skills and passion that great bosses need!

In most libraries, we send the bosses to training last, right? After we’re sure all our other staff members get the crucial, task or operational education they need to serve the customer? What director wouldn’t admit that her or his management staff, in large part, couldn’t use a refresher course that could get them all on the same, productive, effective page? For the cost of a copy of the book for each manager, entire leadership teams, from the newest to the most experienced members, can gain valuable training and development from the comfort of their own offices by completing this book.

Applicants, even those right out of library school, flock to management openings and present great educational backgrounds and high levels of energy. What many of them need is a little more training to go along with that. What most professionals need is on-going learning.

After all, we’re all going to be managing something, right?

I Hope You Like the Book!

As an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science, I start each semester by telling students in my Management class that, when I took this course back in the 80’s, the professor began by asking us “Who wants to be a manager?” Only a few of us tentatively raised our hands, fearing the wrath of our peers either because of our ambition or our foolishness at dreaming so big. Everyone else was there because it was a core class.

Undeterred, she assured everyone they’d learn something useful in the coming weeks, even if management wasn’t the specific career path they’d chosen. Now, I tell students they’d better all be raising their hands because times have changed and today, as professional librarians, they’ll no longer have the choice to opt out. They’ll all be managing something!

Staffing models and organizational charts have changed and are continuing to do so. Driven both by economic reality and modern service expectations, when libraries can fill open positions with MLIS librarians, they’re asking and requiring more professional work than ever before. “In today’s market,” I explain, “if I don’t need you to supervise people or manage a department or budget or facility, then I’m probably just going to hire a para-professional.” Finally, all hands go up!

Another sobering reality sinks in around the second class or so. “Between right now and when you start your first day as a manager,” I caution them, “this will probably be the only management education you’re going to get.” One class. Then, maybe a few years will go by. But, maybe not. In libraries around the country, recent grads are finding themselves in positions my contemporaries and I would have expected to spend years working into. Today’s managers are “newer” (I won’t say younger, since that’s not always the case) than ever before.

So, where do they turn to learn more? How can they find other opportunities to develop those management skills that are probably as distant as memories of grad school research papers? One option is to take themselves through a one-year, self-development course using “Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success.” Written for both brand new managers and ones who’ve not had a training opportunity for some time, my book will help them work at developing the understanding, skills and passion that great bosses need!

In most libraries, we send the bosses to training last, right? After we’re sure all our other staff members get the crucial, task or operational education they need to serve the customer? What director wouldn’t admit that her or his management staff, in large part, couldn’t use a refresher course that could get them all on the same, productive, effective page? For the cost of a copy of the book for each manager, entire leadership teams, from the newest to the most experienced members, can gain valuable training and development from the comfort of their own offices by completing this book.

Applicants, even those right out of library school, flock to management openings and present great educational backgrounds and high levels of energy. What many of them need is a little more training to go along with that. What most professionals need is on-going learning.

After all, we’re all going to be managing something, right?

Chris Oliver on RDA and the Future of Cataloging

I had a chance to interview Chris Oliver, author of ALA Editions Introducing RDA. Chris has been involved with RDA from its early stages, so I asked her about what this new cataloging standard could mean for catalogers and librarians in general.

Chris Rhodes: You’ve been a cataloger at McGill University for twenty years.  What about your work has changed in your time there?

Chris Oliver: It’s hard to imagine that I’m still in the same department, in the same library. So much has changed that it doesn’t feel at all like the same place! The first thing I had to learn when I began cataloguing at McGill was to write neatly and legibly. Cataloguing librarians were expected to write out bibliographic information on data forms and then we gave the forms to input operators who entered our data into our Canadian bibliographic database called UTLAS (a Canadian version of OCLC). We then proofread the printouts and annotated the printouts by hand with corrections. At that time, I was the Rare Books Cataloguing Librarian, and title pages of rare books have always been fun, lots of Latin and Greek, different ways that words were spelled during different eras. It was a challenge to make sure that my title page transcriptions made it successfully through this process. The day when we finally began to catalogue online was the happiest day of my career! Even though I have been here for twenty years, it has never gotten boring. It has been one big change after another. And it’s been a wonderful experience because of the great people with whom I work, including quite a number who were already at McGill when I began and who are still my colleagues today.

CR: Why a new cataloguing standard? 

CO: AACR2 has been a successful and widely used standard, and it’s taken us a long way. It was first published in 1978, more than thirty years ago. Jennifer Bowen, when she was the ALA representative on the Joint Steering Committee, used a photograph of a 1978 car in one of her presentations when explaining the need for a new cataloguing standard. Would you still want to be driving a 1978 car? In 1978, the card catalogue was the norm. We now operate in a digital, networked environment. We need a cataloguing standard that is designed for the environment in which our users engage in resource discovery.

CR: What does RDA offer, what were the limitations of AACR2 that we were bumping against?

CO: I’m going to quote RDA because I think these two sentences sum up the essence of what RDA has to offer: comprehensiveness, extensibility and adaptability:

RDA 0.3.1

A key element in the design of RDA is its alignment with the conceptual models for bibliographic and authority data developed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). The FRBR and FRAD models provide RDA with an underlying framework that has the scope needed to support comprehensive coverage of all types of content and media, the flexibility and extensibility needed to accommodate newly emerging resource characteristics, and the adaptability needed for the data produced to function within a wide range of technological environments.

AACR2 had deep-seated structural problems that prevented extensibility, and could not “support the comprehensive coverage of all types of content and media.” Up to the 1990s, the amendment process had been sufficient in dealing with changes. By the mid-1990s, there was a proliferation of new publication practices, new electronic resources, new methods for scholarly and creative communication. New resources challenged cataloguers because the existing rules could not extend to describe new characteristics and new combinations of characteristics. For example, there were fundamental inconsistencies in the “class of material” concept and in the treatment of content and carrier aspects. New amendments could no longer be grafted onto the existing structure because of these inconsistencies.

One of the key features of RDA is its flexible and extensible framework for the description of traditional and new resources. RDA data is also designed to function both in current and future technological environments. RDA is a content standard, a standard that guides the recording of robust and useful data. It is not an encoding standard, nor is it tied to a particular encoding schema. It is also not a data presentation standard. Thus, it is adaptable for use in a wide range of environments, and it’s not necessarily for library use only. It has great potential.

CR: When you’ve spoken with colleagues (at conferences etc.), what are their biggest concerns?

CO: Among my Canadian colleagues, the biggest concern is training: the availability of training resources, the cost of training, having sufficient time to train oneself and one’s staff. It’s a challenge especially at a time when budgets are tight. We will have to rely on our tradition of resource-sharing, and use our associations and networks as a means of sharing training documents and training procedures. The Library of Congress and some of the other libraries involved in the U.S. Test are setting a great precedent by sharing their excellent resources with the whole cataloguing community.

A group of us from the Technical Services Interest Group of the Canadian Library Association conducted a survey on training needs this spring. One of the interesting findings was the increasing reliance on training delivered via the web. Webinars and web training were not great favourites, but, given the Canadian reality of a relatively sparse population spread over many square miles, training sessions and training documentation delivered via the web were recognized as being of vital component of RDA training.

CR: What originally attracted you to librarianship and cataloging?

CO: I came to librarianship by accident. I was asked to look after a library as a volunteer. I loved it, but I also felt frustrated because I had so many questions. I realized that there was more to librarianship than met the eye. When we moved back to Montreal, I jumped at the opportunity to go to library school. And then I was introduced to AACR2 – I was fascinated by the rules, by the interpretation and application of those rules, and also by the passionate debates that occurred in the cataloguing community. We certainly haven’t gotten any less passionate over time. Cataloguers still care deeply about their standards.

CR: What excites you about the coming years of this work?

The possibilities. The moment of implementation is exciting because we start on a new track. But there will be a lot of emphasis on continuity. Most of us will use RDA in the current environment of MARC 21 bibliographic and authority records. At the beginning, most of the records in our databases and catalogues will still be AACR2 records. We’ll continue to display our data using current online public access catalogues and/or discovery layers. But the exciting part starts to happen as we begin to travel along the new track, and as the volume of RDA data grows.

RDA data alone will not improve navigation and display because the data must be stored so that it maintains its granularity, and it must be used appropriately by well-designed search engines and search interfaces. RDA data is designed as data that can be read and interpreted by humans, but also as data that is machine actionable. The recording of clear, unambiguous data is a required first step in order to improve resource discovery. In the early days of RDA implementation, most RDA data will still be stored, searched and retrieved in traditional catalogues. But RDA data is also designed so that it can be stored and used in the web environment. It positions us to take advantage of the networked online environment, to make library data widely visible, discoverable and usable, and to improve resource discovery.

It will be very exciting to see what can be done with RDA data when it is fully utilized. There is great potential for improving the user’s experience of resource discovery, both in terms of navigation and retrieval and in terms of delivering meaningful displays of data.

CR: Do you have any advice for catalogers who are just beginning their careers?

Consider yourself at the beginning of a great career!

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