With 2016 now upon us, it seemed like a great time to scan the blogosphere and see what new posts and resources are out there that might help library managers increase both their own and their team’s effectiveness in the new year!
Training and Professional Development
Tami Schiller offers a few tips on how to make 2016 a year of professional development and highlights some new and different approaches to learning. Incorporate these tips into your new year, not only for your own growth, but for your employees as well. Her third tip, exploring at least one new training method this year with a pilot group, is a great opportunity for the library as a whole – pick a single topic relevant to their work and get moving. Tami provides links to additional posts detailing methods such as microlearning, formative assessment and blended learning.
Need some quick and easy daily inspiration? Click over to Founder Mantras for your daily dose of mantras, quotes and words to live by for founders, by founders. You can even add your own mantra to the list. For instance, on January 11th, Alex Blumberg of Gimlet Media reminds us that “The first draft always sucks.”
Speaking of first drafts, how often are you charged with creating “official communication” from the library? Do you delegate this task or do you take it on yourself? And how do you make sure that communications coming out of your library resonate, bringing the essence of your library to life through text? Here’s some tips from Ryan LeClaire on writing with your brand’s voice that may help you do just that. A key piece of this, especially for libraries, is understanding your customers themselves – telling them what they want to hear in a way that reaches them. Having a relationship with your patron base, and capitalizing on the things you’ve learned about your patrons through this relationship is integral to your success!
We all know that walking away from a contract negotiation with a vendor is not always a realistic option in the library world, which can often make you feel as though you're powerless to affect the final outcome. However, Susannah Tredwell offers librarians some advice on approaching negotiations you can’t walk away from, while still getting a result you’re happy with. With tangible questions to ask yourself in preparation, important amendments you may be able to incorporate into your deal, and links to further reading, this is a great resource to start your 2016 negotiations off on the right foot!
Academic law libraries have regular influxes of new students, so year after year, student orientation remains a hot topic. However, in this case, here's some advice on something a little different - new faculty orientation. Tena Long Golding offers a more interactive spin on the traditional talking head presentations by librarians, especially for dry topics such a syllabi and policy statements. Their group created a video of student responses to questions such as “What one word describes a great professor?” and “What advice would you give a new professor.” After the video, conversation is continued using the natural segue to key elements on a course syllabus. In her own words, “What used to be a session of reading through the requirements is now more of an open discussion on creative ways to communicate expectations and engage with our students.”
Let’s finish things out with a few links devoted to collaboration. We can all sing the praises of collaboration – coming together often leads to new ideas, better ways of doing things, shared workloads and more. But what about the darker side of collaboration? Nick Milton recently wrote a piece stating that “Not all collaboration is good – some of it is a waste of time or creator of unneeded confusion.” To support this, he links to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review which points out that usually only a handful of employees carry the full collaborative load and as a result become overloaded and disengaged. As managers, you have the ability to identify overloaded collaborators and try to shift their burdens and find ways to reward them for their efforts. Also, when assigning collaborative projects and roles, don’t forget that increased headcount on a project doesn’t necessarily give you greater returns. Need proof? Casey Flaherty makes some great points in his recent post that deserve a closer look. He says it best in his post tagline “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month.”