The Learning Challenges for Librarians and Library Managers: a Knowledge Cafe was the last session on the last day before the closing ceremonies of IFLA’s World Library and Information Congress in Lyon. The knowledge cafe, organized by three sections (Knowledge Management, Continuing Professional Development & Workplace Learning, Library and Research Services for Parliaments), attracted 150+ attendees who actively participated in discussing team building and team leadership, peer training, learning strategies for staff, developing and keeping up skills sets for the digital future, staff competencies, mentoring and coaching, and more. The three groups I talked with had a number of common threads:
1. Time — staff have to have permission and time to read/learn/play. In Germany staff had 2 hours/week to read and learn, somehow that went away, and they want it back! Several libraries in Sweden have recently given some staff 20% Google time — the equivalent of one day/week of complete freedom in hopes they will find something of interest for the library. They know that sometimes this happens but sometimes does not — not all good ideas or projects are successful, but the learning is still there. In several countries, Uganda and groups of special libraries had business partnerships allowing their staff to have one day exchanges for learning and renewal. They bring back their learnings and excitement and share with other staff. Some librarians in academic institutions are allowed to take freshman courses so they know what’s happening in their institutions!
2. Personal Continuous Learning & Development. Since many organizations have limited budgets they are often not providing financial supportr library staff to take courses or go to conferences. So each of us responsible for our own life long learning and continuing eduction — in keep up our skills and developing new ones. The Australian Library and Information Association, I believe, has taken the lead in this area and provides a fantastic model for other associations. They have a certification program for library skills and recognize that it is the individuals responsibility to keep up their learning and competencies or they will not have a job. They provide many resources for library staff members investing in themselves. They started this initiative in 2000 so have honed it into a very successful program. The Knowledge Cafe discussion groups also discussed the 23 Things initiative as well as the more recent Mobile 23 Things program – again self-paced programs which libraries and organizations use to help staff development. They often borrow from each other. The program developed in the Netherlands has been shared across Europe, Russia and Australia. The groups also talked about conferences that have presentations and papers that can be consulted online even if you haven’t attended the event — like IFLA and Computers in Libraries. The San Jose State University iSchool global online conference, Library 2.014 (Oct 8-9, 2014) was also mentioned as free professional development opportunity with session in your own time zone and many different languages.
3. Champions/Mentors/Coaches. We all seem to learn better with others and several libraries shared their strategies with the group. The Canadian parliamentary library introduced ipads for members and some staff, but all staff needed to know how to work with them. Those with ipads provided a hands on play session for other staff to help develop skills. The Regina Public Library has a “champion” in each branch who acts like a mentor and coach one on one or in groups — and some of the champions are pages!
I was very lucky to be able to spend time with the Library and Research Services for Parliaments section of IFLA in Paris last week, and to share the work of my business partner Rebecca Jones and colleague Moe Hosseini-Ara who have done lots on the topic of performance measures. The slides I used are below. I talked a lot about going beyond stats (which we know how to collect so well, but do we compare them and look for peaks, changes, etc.?). I talked about different types of measures: operational/usage, satisfaction and value. I talked about taking the big picture view — about really considering what are customers’ customers really want/need — not those customers we interface with (bankers, students, faculty, consultants, leisure readers, doctors, lawyers, parliamentarians) but their customers (patients, citizens, etc). The stakeholders. It is from their perspective that we can make a difference or have an impact. Moe’s quote is the best, “If our presence cannot add value to their lives, our absence will make no difference”. I think that says it all! Check out my slides for the logic model which is a great tool to help our thinking about metrics and aiming for outcomes and impacts from our users’ and stakeholders’ perspectives.
Today I attended the Statistics and Evaluation with E-metrics special interest groups’s IFLA program — Telling the Library Story: creating metrics for management, advocacy and community building. It started with Sharon Markless and David Streatfield discussing Recent Developments in Library Evaluation, Statistics and Measures and was followed by 6 lightening talks where speakers hit the high points of their talks in 7 minutes.
Claudia Lux was a hit with, How to make a difference: Using Stats for advocacy. She made the point that you should know interesting facts about your collection and services — largest and smallest books, oldest and youngest clients, size of collections, etc. as well as surprising facts — more people go to the library in Germany than to football games! These create pictures and images in the mind of our stakeholders. Any easy and attractive way to tell the library’s story. Julie McKenna from the Regina Public Library did a fantastic job on measuring spaces — how to access library spaces and behaviour. She talked about space as a public service and had some great slides — will try to get a link to them for you. They included her 11 criteria for space assessment.
Photo tweeted by @moirafraser of @jdysart making good points at the IFLA 2014 Management Workshop:
Another wonderful piece from Strategy + Business. ” The success rate of major change initiatives is only 54 percent.” The piece includes a great short video about why this rate is so slow. Check it out. Here are the top 10 principals for leading change management:
1. Lead with the culture.
2. Start at the top.
3. Involve every layer.
4. Make the rational and emotional case together.
5. Act your way into new thinking.
6. Engage, engage, engage.
7. Lead outside the lines. Includes: pride builders, trusted nodes, change or culture ambassadors
8. Leverage formal solutions.
9. Leverage informal solutions.
10. Assess and adapt.
“These 10 guiding principles offer a powerful template for leaders committed to effecting sustained transformational change. The work required can be arduous and exacting. But the need for major change initiatives is only going to become more urgent. It behooves us all to get it right. ” You’ll get lots more out of the full article!
Jim Morgenstern & I are about to talk about facility planning at OLA’s Annual Institute on the Library as Place. Facility plans and provision standards are rarely talked about because they are not viewed as being nearly as much fun – or interesting – as architectural or interior designs. Yet space requirements will increasingly be questioned in the digital environment. More later!
The one day summit during the 2014 Canadian Library Association Conference, Driving Change for Community Impact, looked at exciting new ways libraries are developing solid strategies for engaging their communities, creating innovative programs and spaces, improving services and efficiencies, getting closer to and supporting their communities, and illustrating their value to stakeholders. It started with several case studies:
Rebecca Jones, of Dysart & Jones, and Rebecca Raven, CEO of Brampton Public Libraries then looked at flexible organizations and working structures using Galbraith’s star model. Attendees found the exercise useful!
Kim Silk, Data Librarian, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and Elisabeth Glass, Manager, Planning & Development, Toronto Public Library shared highlights of producing an economic study and the results of the recent one done by the Institute for the Toronto Public Library and the city council.
Dave Pollard, Director, Group Pattern Language Project and associate Alexa Pitoulis directed skits using volunteers from the audience who read scripts illustrating meeting and conversation scenarios. Attendees then discussed the situations and possible ways of improving the outcomes using facilitation cards developed by Dave’s group. Two lucky audience members received a deck of cards as prizes!
Last but not least, Madeleine Lefebvre, Chief Librarian, Ryerson University moderated a panel including morning speakers Andrew and Moe along with Pilar Martinez, Deputy CEO, Edmonton Public Library and Melody Burton, Deputy University Librarian. Discussion involved the audience and touched on tips and experiences with managing change! Fantastic interactive conversations throughout the day were highlights for me!
A few weeks ago I hosted, with Ken Haycock, an event called The Future of Libraries: Do We Have 5 Years to Live. One the most lively conversations was around the library’s uniqueness — what made them different or distinct from other organizations in their communities. This post is about one area and how their libraries saw an opportunity to exploit the dynamics of the gaming industry in their community to promote awareness of their resources and services and showcase their uniqueness!
I just heard at the Canadian Library Association annual conference, a great story about public libraries in Montreal (Les Bibliothèques de Montréal, OCLC/CMD Innovation Award Recipient) who were motivated by a teen death as well as the fact that Montreal hosts the largest video game industry in Canada to create a city-wide event, Montreal Joue, It’s all about games and play. Not just video games, but also board games since there is a rise in modern board games. Earlier this year they held their second festival, Feb 22-Mar 9. The public libraries of Montreal hosted nearly 400 activities in 45 libraries and 16 other venues including Concordia University’s Research Lab (including a workshop), high schools, video game studio visits, and more. With $100K from 32 partners supporting the event, more than 14,000 people participated. Many of the activities only required a Montreal library card. The libraries had several spokespersons including a young area actress as well as the Mayor of Montreal. Activities included a zombie night in the library (tickets were actually scalped!), visits to video game studios, gaming events in the libaries, Food & fun at City Hall.
The goals of the libraries: promoting their collections (the video game collection has grown to almost 10K), showcasing a diversity of activities, reaching out to new communities and members, providing an inclusive place, and developing partnerships in their community. They wanted to package a new experience for their customers and attract new groups while tapping into the gaming industry in Montreal. With their very successful event, the libraries are expanding their activities to include monthly video games clubs in some libraries, the growth of their collections, and now they are working on a gaming arena — now in beta. Bravo!