Rebecca and I do a fair amount of writing about critical thinking, thinking strategically, as well as all types of planning. Here’s what Rebecca wrote last year when we did a workshop at the SLA conference in San Diego, Strategic Thinking Takes Time. We have broadened that workshop to one we are calling, Building the Future: Thinking, Planning, Doing and will be offering it at a terrific venue (The Vancouver Club) with several other colleagues on June 6th in Vancouver prior to the SLA annual conference.
In addition to interactively talking and discussing thinking and planning, in this new one day workshop we will include some tips and examples of going beyond thinking and planning to implementing and doing. The full program is here. Hope you can join us. Register here.
Even though OLA Super Conference 2014 is behind us, I wanted to highlight an excellent showcase of teamwork and bridging communication silos: “Better Together: Empowering Library Staff through Mentoring and Collaboration” from Sarah Forbes, Liaison Librarian, Physical and Environmental Sciences and Sue Reynolds, Reference Assistant; U of T Scarborough. A PDF of their presentation is here: OLA SC Session 612- Better Together
Here are my notes:
- Liaison Librarian model in place since 2011, where librarians have more instructional duties and are not on the reference desk.
- Technicians have solo desk shifts, with 5 people covering the desk between 9am and 9pm. 2 new positions were created to aid this. Each technician has about 3 hours on desk with the rest completing other duties off desk.
- Resulted in communication silos: Librarians were on-call and not always available; Technicians new to reference at U of T were providing conflicting information to students for recurring projects and other issues; and the reference coordinator librarian overseeing the function also had liaison librarian duties.
Searching for a solution
- Having a binder of information, assignments, and recurring issues was tried at the desk, but it didn’t really work as it was incomplete and adhoc.
- Staff tried to email tips for different questions with attempts to answer, but stopping a reference interview to check email proved difficult.
- Using the Blackboard program for course management was tried, but didn’t catch on.
Strategic Plan Process
- Technicians provided input into the strategic plan. An exercise with post-it notes with duties and how they tied into the strategic plan was performed.
- There showed a desire to participate in the liaison alignment, and then technician-librarian pairings were made based on interests of technicians and connection to liaison librarians.
- It was then left to the pairs to decide how they would manage this.
Sue and Sarah were paired and out of all the groups, seemed to have the most success. Their model included:
- Meeting every week to talk about what they expected out of the experience and as a catch-up
- Resources review for Sue to review the tools including participating in a Chemistry workshop with Sarah to new students
- Walking through all assignments and questions that are commonly asked
- When Sarah was to have a meeting about a new tool, she brought Sue along with her rather than telling her about the tool so that they could learn together. (Ensuring Sue’s availability through Ref. manager was performed first).
- After this meeting, they debriefed and saw that each person got something different out of the meeting and these notes proved important for each person.
- Sarah has then encouraged Sue’s professional development and a respect and understanding of each other was developed. Sue was also able to extend her network into the university rather than exclusive to those that visit/ use the library.
- Sue and Sarah also worked together to demonstrate a tool to Fall class sessions with Sarah teaching, and Sue ensuring students stayed on target and helping them when they got lost. This also gave Sarah a view on her teaching style and how it could improve/ what worked well. This was important when students give false comprehension, as is common.
- Through this, Sue was able to give extended support and was a familiar face to those students. This gave students more comfort when coming to the reference desk.
- Also, through the fall and winter term, Sue and Sarah had monthly meetings to keep on track.
- As an investment into bettering her assignments, Sarah gave these to Sue beforehand to test out potential difficulties. This allowed for less mistakes and issues when the students received it. This helped to keep Sue in line with Sarah’s work.
- Sue was invested in the process
- Sarah and Sue were more informed about each other’s work and issues raised
- Students had a more consistent message
- Students became more familiar with staff
- Faculty got more feedback on student questions
- Faculty and students had real time updates to course guides through Blackboard
Continued to review with each other and new review of LibGuides, project work, and the professional development form.
Professional development form used to:
- Record activities and accomplishments
- Reflect and set goals
- Highlight strengths and unique skills
- ID professional development needs
- Contribute to library planning
This is NOT a performance evaluation and because of union issues, it was imperative to demonstrate this through it being voluntary and not used to measure.
- A Y/N and scale grade was used to mark.
- Intent of form was for it to be completed at the beginning and end of year to see how things improved.
- Subject based, and included grading reference activity skill.
- These are NOT permanent partnerships and there is possibility for reference technicians to switch around, providing it is desired.
- Think big, start small
- Find what works for you
- Do something – whatever that may be
2014 iSchool @ Toronto Symposium Series: Defining New Metrics for Library Success on Tuesday &Wednesday April 22-23, 2014, Toronto
Are you ready to communicate to your funders and community the real value that your library contributes?
Following the University of Toronto iSchool Institute’s two very successful symposia, Creative Making in Libraries & Museums and Pushing the Envelope in Education: Roles for Libraries in MOOCs and eLearning we are pleased to introduce our third symposium: Defining New Metrics for Library Success.
All libraries are challenged to communicate their value in uncertain fiscal and changing environments. Our communities, boards, management and institutions are asking for stronger and better measurements of our impact and value to help them with decision making and prioritization.
This symposium is about the various metrics and measures the library sector and discipline uses to manage what it is doing (it’s activities and individual services) and the value of what it is doing. These are very different measurement objectives and processes, yet complementary and vital. It discusses ”measurement” in a broad sense, including the value of selected services as well as the overall management of processes and services. It is very important that people in the library sector are aware of different measures – - with different objectives. Who knows where new ideas will come from? All libraries can learn from each other.
This two-day event illustrates the breadth and depth of the challenge for stronger and better measurements of our impact and value:
- Explores opportunities for new value measurements
- Puts metrics into the context of libraries
- Shares exciting measurement programs already in place by pioneers
- Suggests areas for future endeavours
- Features leading edge thinkers and practitioners
Explore with your colleagues the opportunities and practices in both qualitative and quantitative measurements as well as best practices in visualization of data and communicating with our funders, management, councils and more.
Early bird registration is OPEN; OLA and FOPL members are eligible for special rates.
- Jane Dysart, Dysart & Jones Associates
- Stephen Abram, FOPL, Dysart & Jones Associates
- Dr. Robert Molyneux
- Dr.Mary Cavanagh,University of Ottawa
- Dr. Bill Irwin, Western University / Huron College
- Jeff Wisniewski, University of Pittsburgh
- Dr.Ken Haycock, iSchool Professor and Director, Marshall Business School, University of Southern California
- Rod Sawyer, Ontario Ministry of Culture Libraries Branch
- Moe Hosseini-Ara. Town of Markham
- Anita Brooks Kirkland, OLA
- Carol Koechlin, TDSB (retired)
- Jeanne Conte, Peel DSB
- Brendan Howley, Social Media Guru
- Carl Thompson, Counting Opinions
- Rebecca Jones, Dysart & Jones Associates
University of Toronto, Faculty of Information, iSchool Institute
140 St George Street, 7th Floor, Toronto, ON (map)
- Ontario Library Association
- Federation of Ontario Public Libraries
- University of Toronto iSchool Institute
Creating a Librarian Mentorship Program
Poster developed by: Whitney Kemble and Sarah Fedko; University of Toronto Scarborough Library
During the 2013/14 academic year, librarians at University of Toronto Scarborough are piloting a mentorship program for liaison librarians. Experienced librarians are paired with newer librarians to provide advice and support for liaison librarianship. Our poster will include an overview of current best practices in mentorship, as well as a description of our mentorship program. We will also discuss feedback that we have received from program participants, and future plans to ensure the effectiveness of this program as a professional development opportunity for new librarians.
Choosing frameworks to align outcomes with teaching
Poster developed by: Joanna Szurmak; University of Toronto Mississauga Library and and Saira Mall; Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI)
Instructional sessions, whether embedded or one-shot, need to have learning outcomes that align activities with teaching methods. While it is our ideal to develop skills identified through learning outcomes, often the focus is on delivering content. In order to shift away from content-driven sessions and towards course goals, we need to establish a learning-focused interaction when consulting with faculty. In this poster we will connect learning-focused conversation techniques developed by Lipton & Wellman (2003) to Shank & Dewald’s (2003) Micro and Macro model of library presence in courses.
Modernizing for better service delivery
Poster developed by: Kathryn Tippell-Smith; Ontario Medical Association
With ever-increasing strides in technological development and the changing needs and expectations of library users, the Ontario Medical Association’s Research Group opted to migrate from our antiquated integrated library system to a modern ‘social libraries’ system, that has revolutionized how we provide services to users. This poster details the trials, tribulations and successes of developing our “Research Portal” – including planning and preparing data, working with the vendor during initial customization, the ‘migration’ itself (communicating with our local information technology department), and preparing and evaluating new delivery methods for our services.
Now this book looks good. Written by a long-time practitioner from Yum. Great suggestions. Here’s the gist:
• Get inside the heads of your people. You can’t convince them of anything until you see the world from their perspective.
• Think big. If your sales growth last year was 3.5 percent, don’t aim for 4 percent this year, aim for 15 percent. Even if you fail, you’ll probably do better than you would have with a smaller goal.
• Practice “extraordinary authenticity.” Show occasional vulnerability and admit when you don’t have the answers.
• Look for good ideas in unexpected places. Novak’s team came up with Cool Ranch Doritos for Frito-Lay during a field trip to a grocery store’s salad dressing aisle.
• Choose a can-do mind-set. There’s a huge difference between a boss who says “We can try this” and one who says “We can do this!”
• Cheer for first downs, not just touchdowns. Publicly recognizing and rewarding small wins keeps everyone motivated for the long haul.
• Get rid of cynics. In many teams one person will reject your values and spread negative energy. Moving that person out will show everyone else you’re serious.
Yes, we’ve barely finished the super Ontario Library Association SuperConference, and I haven’t even had a chance to write the several blog posts bubbling in my brain about that event!! However I wanted to point out that the Canadian Library Association annual conference program is now available online. Rebecca Jones is doing a pre-conference workshop with others on Strategy & Persuasion: Tools for Info Pros on Wed May 28. The opening of the trade show follows with a reception.
Change and change management are big topics for CLA this year. Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/CEO of Hamilton PL & John Pateman, Chief Librarian of Thunder Bay PL talk about change management on Wed May 29. For more on both, see Erik Boekestijn’s interview with each of them at OLA last week! Just click on their names and the link should be there!
On Friday, May 30, Stephen Abram is facilitating a discussion by CLA President Marie De Young and a panel of industry experts on Building Bridges to the Future — Colleagues, Collaboration, Consultation (3C’s).
I am very excited about putting together a new one day workshop for CLA on Sat May 31! Driving Change for Community Impact. Many exciting and interesting speakers including Andrew Wells, University Librarian from Australia, and Dave Pollard, former Chief Knowledge Officer & creator of process facilitation cards. Check out the full workshop program and wonderful speakers — and join us!
Poster developed by: Emma Cross and Robert Smith; Carleton University Library
In November 2013 Carleton University Library unveils an extensively renovated building including a new Library gaming lab, part of a digital Discovery Centre. Carleton University is now the only academic library in Ontario with a collection of over 450 video games and a uniquely equipped gaming lab.
This poster will discuss planning a Library gaming lab, illustrate the equipment and services needed by faculty and students and analyze how this innovative Library service is integral in supporting courses in Information Technology, Computer Science, Digital Humanities and other courses across campus.