KM Today

Getting to Yes on Conference Attendance!

Conference season is coming and how do you make the right choice for you?  I’m adapting (sharing) this post from one entitled, How to: Sell Your Manager on Attending a Conference.

“Find the best conferences for you. It’s very tempting to attend an event because it’s in a fun location or because all the cool kids are going to be there. If money is no object, then by all means. Conferences need to produce a return on your investment. So think about what you want to learn and then start searching for the right events.

Ask the right questions. Reaching out to respected colleagues about conferences to attend could be a good idea. The important part is asking the right question, “What were your takeaways from the event?”. If you get a blank stare, that doesn’t necessarily mean the conference isn’t worth your time. But do try to find out the value of attendance.

Learning takes place in many ways. Speaking of learning, it’s important to understand how you like to learn (i.e. visual, auditory, kinesthetic). For instance, there are certain topics that I want to learn by reading a book. I would not attend a conference for those topics. But others, I want to learn differently and a conference is the perfect format.

Learning happens in many places. Yes, learning happens during educational sessions. Don’t forget that learning also takes place during networking and on the expo hall floor. And occasionally at the bar with colleagues.

You’ve done your research and identified a conference you’d like to attend. Before going to your manager, be prepared to answer some questions. These are the types of questions that my manager used to ask me:

  1. CONFERENCE: What organization hosts this conference? How long have they been around? How often do they have conferences? Do they offer regional events? Are you a member?
  2. COST: How much will attending this event cost? How much is registration versus travel? Are you prepared to share in the cost of the trip?
  3. TAKEAWAYS: What do you expect to learn? Is there another way to learn this information? How will it impact your job today? And how will it impact the company?
  4. WORK: How will your work be handled while you are gone?
  5. FOLLOW-UP: What is your plan for sharing information when you return?”

And here are some more tips from Tracy Z. Maleeff on Taking Your Significant Other with you to Conferences.

Do you want to attend Computers in Libraries 2015, April 27-9, in Washington DC?  If you need help justifying your attendance go to the conference site and click on our draft memo, Convince Your Boss!  See you there!

Addendum:  Here are 10 Insider Tips on How to Best Prepare for a Tech Conference!

UofRochester's RCL's Re-envisions Services

Thanks to Solomon Blaylock & Kathy Metz of University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries for sharing RCL’s work in re-envisioning & re-engineering their service model and Patron Services. Here’s their presentation given at OLA 2015 SuperconferenceU of Rochester Service Model OLA2015 presentation, including their speaking notes with many details.For more information, including the Patron Services Service Model report, Kathy Metz (kmetz at or Solomon Blaylock (sblaylock at What a phenomenal job RCL has done in understanding student behaviours and designing their services to match these behaviours.

U of Rochester Service Model OLA2015 presentationSolomon and Kathy presentation at OLA 2015_Page_01


OLA Poster: Public Library Volunteer Programs

Vaughan Public Libraries offers many volunteer programs for teens, ranging from Reading Buddies through to more unique opportunities like letter writing for Amnesty International. This poster shows how they have developed programs that cater to a range of tastes and abilities while still focusing on literacy and community service.

Von poster

OLA Poster: ORCID: Persistent Digital Identifier

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that helps researchers and scholars distinguish the research activities from those of others with similar names. The identifier is being integrated into key workflows by funders, research organizations, publishers and others. In this poster by K. Jane Burpee see the multi – faceted value of ORCID and explore 6 ways to help you and your library grow ORCID presence with your campus faculty and graduate researchers.Jane Burpee Poster 1

OLA Poster: U of Guelph – Embed with Art

How do you increase visibility of the library’s art collection and also promote campus art as a learning experience? This poster showcased a collaborative project with campus partners that utilized tools and techniques to embed the library’s art collection into the curriculum, develop students’s visual literacy skills, and add a rich context by highlighting the special collection with the digital archive and exhibit. Thanks to K.Jane Burpee, Judy Wanner, and Linda Graburn from University of Guelph.

Jane Burpee poster 2

Business Models Work for Libraries Too!

Scott Hargrove, CEO of Fraser Valley Library System, Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director of Culture for the City of Markham and I will talk about 4 models and tools used by corporations and non-profits that libraries need to be using as well:

  1. Sites & sources to track trends
  2. Gartner Group Model
  3. Service Portfolio Review, originally from the Boston Group,
  4. Logic Model

Have a look:

Strategic thinking in 90 Minutes

Most people assume that strategic planning involves strategic thinking. Oh…..if only that was true.  Unfortunately most organizations view strategic planning as a way to answer the question, “how do we keep doing what we’re doing better – or more effectively – or with higher value?”  Too few engage in any strategic thinking. Why? Because strategic thinking is scary….and difficult.  To “think” strategically an organization must:

  • Look beyond environment or market it usually looks at – beyond the borders of its profession or industry for signals of what’s impacting other professions and other industries and other markets….that will send waves up onto the organization’s beach
  • Reframe current assumptions, beliefs, mindsets & situations – and is there anything more difficult than asking if your current and long-held beliefs hold true?
  • Analyze information & data from multiple sources to identify patterns & interpretations
  • Use this information to decide what is valid, what isn’t valid… and, what they must continue to do and not do
  • Determine trade-offs and alliances that will move decisions forward; that’s right – trade-offs; what the organization will hold to and what it can bend on
  • Learn – constantly listening & looking for the good, the bad  and the downright ugly – & incorporate what they find into  approaches, services & decisions

This is hard work and requires diligence and exercise.  An organization doesn’t learn to think strategically overnight.

You can imagine, then, the pains in my stomach when I’m asked to lead a large group of 175 people through a strategic thinking exercise at 8:00 a.m. for 90 minutes.  However, 90 minutes is a starting point – and time enough for people to look at the big, broad environment, and to begin to question its assumptions and mindsets. Last week that’s just what SLA’s Leadership Summit did.  We began by watching the 2014 Did You Know, and then worked through these slides:



Dr. James Calvin, Johns Hopkins U

Dr. James Calvin of Carey Business School @ Johns Hopkins University spoke @ the SLA Leadership Summit on Friday afternoon. on Exercising JamesCalvinLeadership Influence for an Empowering Culture in Organizations: Outreach Empowerment.  Having just returned 2 days ago from Lima, Peru he remarked on Lima’s incredible size and how farmers come to the huge metropolis for livelihood.  Two plans have been developed to engage these people in moving forward; an organization has been recognized as an NGO; 8 organizations have spawned another 8 organizations, with a trimestrial meeting to begin building soft skills such as leadership.  Leadership takes time, passion and work.

A Peruvian cancer society serves the poorest children with cancer; their goal is to expand their capacity — they started by serving 70 kids/year, and are building a facility to serve 200 kids/year.  They keep their eye on the ball and on their goal. Leadership is about real people, about where they are, and where they want to go.

His points:

Leaders are responsible for setting and maintaining progress towards objectives – and building and managing teams that are collaborative and globally diverse to attain results and unleash talent & ideas.

Edgar Schein –  identifies 3 levels of culture : artifacts (visible), espoused beliefs and values(may appear through surveys) and basic underlying assumptions (unconscious taken for granted beliefs and values : these are not visible). The latest being the more important since as Schein puts it “Human minds needs cognitive stability and any challenge of a basic assumption will release anxiety and defensiveness”. Many change programs fails for that very reason.

Geer Hostede – Hofstede’s research shows that organisational cultures differ mainly at the level of practices. These are more superficial and more easily learned and unlearned than values forming the core of national cultures. As a consequence, the Hofstede dimensions of national cultures cannot be used by comparing cultures of organisations within the same country. The two models describe different layers of our reality. 

In Academy of Business Research September 2014, Calvin proposes five connected dimensions of leadership: Demonstrated purpose, presents ideas and vision, ability to navigate complexity, consistency of path, and future view for managing change.

Adam Grant’s “Give & Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”, he says “You see fundamental differences in their  worldview. Takers basically tend to assume that everybody is all about me — that life is nasty, brutish, and short.

That’s how most takers justify being a taker.  They don’t mean to screw you over necessarily. But they think that because everybody else at their core is a taker, then they’re going to end up getting stepped on  if they’re not a taker, too . Oftentimes, they can point out personal experiences that solidify that worldview.

Givers, on the other hand, are more socially optimistic. Not necessarily optimistic in general, but an optimist when it comes to what people are capable of. They say, “Look, there is some good in everyone. People are capable of altruism even though it’s extremely rare, but they will often act for the benefit of others without thinking in the moment about what’s going to come out of it for me.”

Did You Know: 2014

Strategic planning relies on strategic thinking. To think strategically we need to explore beyond our common environment, the usual places we look and the usual way in which we look at. The “Did You Know” series of videos is an excellent tool to use at the beginning of any strategic or planning discussion. And it’s been updated! Have a look – and start your next staff discussion with it:

Welcome 2015! Future Events

The new year is always a time to reflect and to plan ahead.  2014 was an exciting and interesting year of events for D&J and we’re looking forward to an equally wonderful year of learning, experiencing, and sharing in 2015!  We hope to connect with many of you at these venues!

January brings the annual Ontario Library Association SuperConference where Dysart & Jones will again sponsor Contributed Papers and participate in a number of sessions:

Wed Jan 28     403C    Business Models for Libraries: Rebecca Jones with Scott Hargrove (CEO for Fraser Valley Library System) & Moe Hosseini-Ara (Director of Culture for the City of Markham)

Thurs Jan 29    911      Conversations with New Pros: Jane Dysart with 5 new info pros

1111      Extreme Library Makeovers: Jane Dysart with Madeleine Lefebvre & Susan Downs

February has two new events.

The Future of Libraries: Do We Have 5 Yearas to Live? hosted by the University of California Center for Library Leadership & Management in Los Angeles on February 5th & 6th.  Speakers include Susan Hildreth, Director, IMLS, Greg Lucas, State Librarian for California, Steve Denning, Author, Lee Rainie, Pew, Corinne Hill, Chattanooga PL, Joe Matthews, Consultant & lots of practitioners!  Check out the program.

Future Tech Strategies for Libraries is the latest iSchool Symposium from the University of Toronto.  Scheduled for February 19th & 20th, this symposium  focuses on the technological challenges and trends coming down the pipe for libraries.  What’s coming up that may not be on your radar?

  • Are your technologies and tech strategies up-to-date?
  • Are you adapting technology quickly enough? Are you studying Geo, beacons, LinkedData, discovery services, and more?
  • Are our innovation cultures ready for the world of constantly changing technology and societal expectations?
  • Are we ready for the community and learning focused tech that are emerging as game changers? 
  • Do you want to learn about technology innovation in libraries and discuss and explore opportunities with peers?
  • What’s the next step in virtual community engagement?

If these questions interest you and your team, then this is the symposium helps you explore new ways to think about tech opportunities and trends as well as to address our future challenges. Check out the speakers including Marshall Breeding, David Lee King, Rebecca Jones, Daniel Lee, and more. The program schedule.

April is really exciting!

Computers in Libraries 2015 is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary in Washington DC on April 27th-29th and it is the 20th for D&J! The theme is Sync Up: Technology & Libraries for Community Success and is the essence of the CIL conference since it’s start as Small Computers in Libraries in 1985 when amusingly enough computers weren’t all that small!  Keep your eye on our Twitter feed #CILDC and our Facebook page.  The conference website has been updated for this event and the program is now online with the following keynotes:

Continuous Innovation & Transformation with Steve Denning, Author, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, & others

The new economy—the Creative Economy—is an economy of continuous innovation and transformation. It is an economy of organizations and entrepreneurs that are delivering to customers what they are coming to expect, namely, “better, faster, cheaper, smaller, lighter, more convenient, and more personalized.” The Creative Economy is still relatively small, but it is the economy of the future. It includes different ways of thinking, speaking, and acting in the world. Denning shares insights, strategies, and tips for libraries and their staff to continue innovating and transforming as they head into the future, creative economy!

Creating a New Nostalgia with David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States & John Palfrey, Head of School, Phillips Academy; President of the Board, Digital Public Library of America, author of Biblio TECH

Digital life is transforming the public’s expectations of libraries and archives. Is the internet making these institutions irrelevant? The “perfect storm” of reduced bud- gets, unprecedented increases in the amount and cost of information available, and the multiplicity of platforms at play call for new strategies for the future of libraries and archives. A lively glimpse into the crystal ball!

Technology & Libraries: Now & Into the Future with Mary Augusta Thomas, Deputy Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

As part of the Smithsonian libraries for more than 30 years, Thomas currently directs the operation of twenty libraries located in each of the Smithsonian’s museums and research institutes. In this talk, she reflects on the changes over those years and shares some of the future strategies for libraries.

And, co-located with Computers in Libraries 2015 is the Library Leaders Summit focused on Making an Impact & Proving Value — a topic most libraries are struggling with these days.  Check out the experienced speakers and the full program and join an intimate group of your peers for great discussions and insights.

There are other events in the planning!  The call for speakers for fall events should be live shortly:

Internet Librarian 2015, October 26-28 in Monterey CA with the theme Morph! Exploring New Roles & Directions for the Info Service Biz and again the Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit will be co-located with this event.  Watch the Twitter feed #InternetLibrarian and our Facebook page for more.

KMWorld 2015, November 2-5 in Washington DC encompases Taxonomy Boot Camp, Enterprise Search & Discovery as well as SharePoint Symposium.  The theme of this year’s event is Agile Knowledge Sharing & Innovation.  More details will be coming soon to our Twitter feed #KMWorld and our Facebook page.

We’re working on future U of T iSchool events for May 11-12, July 16-17 & October 19-20, so save those dates!   And more events are planned for USC in LA (hopefully as soon as May!).  The Future of Libraries series may again come to Toronto in September so stay tuned for that one too!

Have a great year in 2015 of learning and developing and we hope to see you at some of these events!