Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Polaris Users Group Conference Pt1

September 29-October 1st
Carrie P

I had the opportunity at the end of September to attend the Polaris Users Group (PUG) conference in Dallas, TX. Day one was dedicated to Polaris Staff updating the 300 or so attendees on new bits and pieces that are in development for future releases. Day two was for presentations from the user group.

General tidbits from Day 1
  • Polaris is working with Muse Global on a federated search product
  • Work is underway to make the upgrade process faster and shorter
  • Receipt footers can be customized at the branch level - so everyone can advertise their own programs on their printed receipts - pretty cool.
  • The 4.1 mobile PAC will support enriched content (book covers etc.)
  • In 4.1 we will be able to pick the fields that we want displayed on search results
  • We will be able to do a checkout limit (if we choose to) on associated items. Example - limit of 5 movies which could be any combination of DVD and Blu-ray discs
  • The acquisitions module will be able to split the FY - duplicate the current year and roll over the new FY
The 2 most interesting things were:
  1. Regarding RDA - Polaris is waiting to see what happens with efforts to replace marc. It's all well and good to be ready, but until the "container" that is marc is changed, the new data fields won't be as meaningful as they could be...this was good to hear. I've been excited about RDA and Maria keeps telling me that it doesn't make sense with marc, but I needed to hear it again, in a bigger room. ;-)
  2. The system requirements for 4.1 will be the same as for 4.0 (we will likely go live on 4.0 and then do an upgrade to 4.1 within the first 6 months or so). However, version 4.2 which is slated for January 2013, will not work with Windows XP. Another good excuse to upgrade computers!

Staying Safe ina Changing Work Environment

Presenter: Master Nurse, Rosanne Torpey
Date: 25 October 2011
Location: Clear Spring Library

Summary: Although the "role-playing" scenarios presented in this session were based in our work environment, the library, the content of this fast-moving three hour workshop dealt with staying safe in a changing world.

We learned skills necessary to manage difficult situations; being pro-active, not reactive. Without being cognizant of our response, we can sometimes escalate a problem. We were taught verbal and non-verbal intervention skills to use. We learned the importance of shaking up our old thinking patterns and to see the situation from a different perspective. In summary, we should project to others that we care...great customer service advice.

The workshop ended with our playing a game which visually demonstrated that within our daily tasks, fragile situations may arise in which we may have to use our skills to de-escalate.

I recommend this life skills workshop to all.

Stay safe

Several things that I thought were helpful- 1. aggressive cycle and when you can talk to a person, 2. appropriate body language 3. applying techniques outside the workplace. It is hard to be kind when facing a threatening situation, but planning ahead and staying calm are essential. Now HOW DO YOU STAY CALM and not take things personally. That's what I need to practice!
No matter where the situation, we do not know what the other person has been going through.Usually problem patrons bring their problems with them and we are sitting targets because we are available and they figure that we have been trained to be nice to them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Staying Safe in a Changing Work Environment

I attended the "Staying Safe in a Changing Work Environment on October 24th at the LaVale Branch in Allegany County. I found the speaker to be very informative and interesting. She gave us examples of day to day stressors that might crop up and affect the safety of the workplace. She explained how and when to talk and when not to talk when a patron is in the aggressive cycle. She gave us great tips on how to be in the safe negotiated zone - how to stand and have good eye contact, no staring or glaring. Overall, this was a very important workshop for people working in customer service. I highly recommend it!

Staying safe workshop

I attended the "Staying Safe in a changing work environment" workshop at Clear Spring library today. I found the instructor to be very informative as well as entertaining. We were taught about various behaviors that could be caused by everyday stressors and how to effectively defuse the situation before it became a crisis. I found the information given to be helpful for me not only at work, but in my everyday life.

Pop!Tech 2011 (part one)

Before I start gushing about my experience at Pop!Tech last week, I think it might be best to let you know about the Pop!Tech website and if you have time, I'd like to encourage you to spend some time viewing some of the videos of the presentations.

Don't have time to spend on the website? That's fine, too! Here's a brief blub about what Pop!Tech is: Pop!Tech (the organization) is "...a community of innovators working together to expand the edge of change." Then logic tells us at the Pop!Tech conference is a gathering of about 500 curious minds who all come together in Camden, Maine to expose themselves to the brilliant ideas and work and progress the aforementioned innovators are creating and to get a peek at what the edge of change actually looks like.

You can view all of the videos from the conference on the Pop!Tech site so, I'm not going to go into specifics about each of the presenters but I will share with you my top ten a-ha moments. This post will have five and then I'll have another five in my next post.

A-Ha #10: If the world is re-balancing, so too are libraries and our balance - our scale - has more than two pans. In fact, it probably looks more like a mobile with at least four arms: the library itself, the users, the funders, and the technology.

A-Ha #9: Poverty is not due to a lack of resources but to a lack of distribution. What does this mean for the info-poor and/or the illiterate (and when I say illiterate I mean it in other ways besides being able to read and write, like being computer/technologically literate)? As libraries are we really doing the best we can with disseminating information - within and without? Might this become an even bigger role for libraries in the future? I predict that yes, we will need to work harder and more creatively with distributing information in the future - staying with the most main-stream ways will not be sufficient because if the info-poor had access to those avenues then they wouldn't be info-poor in the first place, would they?

A-Ha #8: We need to start considering how we can reverse the journey our library ancestors first set out on so many years ago. I believe their primary objective is no longer the primary objective of libraries today. The world they were living in is not the same world we are living in today. Libraries mean something different now than they did a couple hundred years ago. Just because we're a part of a long wagon train doesn't mean we can't steer our own horse in a different direction.

A-Ha #7: I believe a strong library future is one where the consumer/client/patron is at the center of the library both as a provider and receiver of library goods and services. Think of the idea of crowd sourcing standard library-staff functions like shelving, cataloging, teaching classes and web design. Think about it - when you go to a book store, Barnes and Noble, whatever, and you see a book out of place or a DVD out of place on the shelf, do you just leave it there or do you put it where it will most likely be found - in its proper place? I put it in the right place. Imagine if our library patrons experience the same feeling when they were browsing our collections.

A-Ha #6: We need to harmonize our usage policies across all types of libraries. What this means is that all libraries, no matter what kind (academic, public, school, etc), share the same vision of utilization among all customers/clients/patrons. If I can check out a library book at library A for 30 days then I know I can check out a library book at library B for 30 days also. If I can renew an item 2 times at library B then I know I can renew an item 2 times at library A and library C. Does that make sense?

Stay tuned...bigger and better a-ha!s to come later in the week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cyberbullying Workshop

For the most part, the information given in this workshop has already been covered by previous talks. Much of it centered around facebook and its privacy settings which were relatively new that day. However, given the rate facebook changes its settings the information would only be relevant for a brief amount of time. Again, facebook and its settings was something I was already familiar with. I did like how she suggested when talking to teens using terms such as "digital world vs physical world" as opposed to "virtual world vs real world." Also given were some good resources. My favorite is This is MTVs a thin line campaign site that gives knowledge, empowers the teen and helps them identify and stop digital abuse.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Giving a Fish a Bath

I found Heather Higgins presentation "Giving a Fish a Bath" rally interesting. It sure gave me a better insight into how the young adult brains works (or don't work). I am now looking forward to my 2 youngest grandchildren reaching the ripe old age of 25 and having developed frontal lobes. I made sure that I told my daughter about this program. She now knows there is hope for the future. Adults often wonder why intelligent teens make such bizzare or bad decisions, and now we have an explantation. It is interesting that even though the teenage brain is not wired the same as adults the same things can have a relaxing and calming effect on them. A nice walk, music, etc. Being a teen is very difficult and now I have a tool that helps me to better understand them.

Giving a Fish a Bath

“Why you telling me this?” was the first words out of my 12 year olds mouth! Just like Heather Higgins said a teenager would react-“What’s it got to do with me?” The evening after attending the "Giving a Fish a Bath" workshop, I briefly shared with my three teenage sons the topic of the teen brain. Upon hearing the overview of the adolescent brain, and without hesitation, all three boys immediately agreed that they now have an excellent excuse for their sometimes wacky behavior! Being informed with information like this helps us as individuals, as families, as volunteers in the schools, and as assistants working in public places as well as other situations. Understanding why a teen behaves as she does helps us to support her at home, at school, and at the library. My group found The Survival Game to be challenging-it was difficult to come up with good decisions and solutions as adults. How hard it must be to do so with a confused adolescent brain. I think I could use a whole morning of working through the challenging scenarios that teens may experience. Coming up with socially acceptable responses and reactions is difficult to do without losing face.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cyber Bullying

I learned that any information put on the Internet is never truly deleted. To let teens know that if you put something on line when you a mad and change your mind later, that you may not be able to delete it completely. To let them know not to give information like address, phone. What you do today, may not be what you want seen in five to ten years from now.

cyber Bullying

Giving a Fish a Bath

I do so love the title, don't you, lol...engaging, passionate presentation by Heather Higgins at the Clear Spring Branch - neuroscience is offering a fresh perspective on why teens are not reaching adulthood with the mindset & skills for success. Some info learned: the old way of thinking was that little brains grew into big brains. New way of thinking: brains have predictable periods of high vulnerability (0-5 and 12-18)and are very vulnerable to stress. I also learned that less sleep means less "encoding" the ability to remember and turn short term memory into long term. (I think that affects Moms too!)I thought it was interesting too that teens for the most part can not read a person's emotions like we adults can and did you know that video games give feedback every 3 seconds? Instant gratification - no wonder my boys love them!

Understanding why a teen behaves as he does, goes a long way into supporting & serving them in a library setting (and living with them!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giving a Fish a Bath

I attended the "Giving a Fish a Bath" workshop at the WMTIG meeting on Sept. 12. and learned some interesting facts about the teenage brain and why teens act the way they do. It was interesting to learn that adolescence lasts much longer now than it did half a century ago, mostly due to the environment and changes in technology. The presenter, Heather Higgins, told us that the brain, on average, isn't finished developing until age 24. Since I am 25, I found it quite astounding that I didn't completely mature until just last year! I also learned that teens often act with knee-jerk reactions because their brain isn't developed enough to think about logical, thoughtful reactions to situations. Instead they react with emotion and that's why they seem so moody. This was quite a lesson for me and I hope I am able to use the information in 20 years when I have teenagers of my own.

Giving a Fish a Bath

I attended the September TIG meeting at Cool Springs and came away with new knowledge about the teenage brain. The speaker, Heather Higgins from the Upside Down Organization, was very informative, and presented the material in a way I could understand easily. The topic was fascinating. I wish I had known how the teenage mind works when my four children were teenagers. She explained to us about the brain chemicals that are released by stress, cortisol and adrenalin, and gave us various way to reduce these chemicals. Now when I start to feel stressed, I take a walk in the sunshine or listen to some relaxing music. These simple things can help everyone!
I hope I can take some of her ideas and use them in dealing with teens who come into my library and at least understand the teens' behavior better. Their frontal lobes won't be done developing until the teens reach their mid twenties. The teenage brain does not work like a miniature adult brain!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cyber Bullying

I attended the Cyber Bullying class led by Liz Sundermann. The first thing we learned is that for teens, the physical world vs. the digital world is the same thing. We also learned that once you post information online, you can't take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, you have little control over older versions that may exist on other's computers and circulate online. Many examples of things not to do were given. Think before you post.