|One of my favorite Middle Managers|
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Other suggestions that were helpful were to look for ways to assist my supervisor and to make a set of core values for myself personally which will help me in my decision making.
Thanks to the presenters for doing an excellent job!
Ruth Enlow Library
I look forward to reading your thoughts in the comment area provided.
The A-B-Cs of non-sales selling are:
- Attunement: perspective taking, being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes
- Buoyancy: resilience in the face of rejection and/or failure, being able to stay afloat
- Clarity: the ability to curate information and make sense of it, to sift through the superfluous to find the truly important pieces
How well, and in which situations, do librarians (aka anyone working in a library) put ourselves in the shoes of 1) our customers, 2) our competitors, 3) our colleagues?
However, I will go out on a short limb here and say that if the directors and department heads continue to be the only ones thinking about our competitors, libraries will be destined to close up shop. Maybe not today or tomorrow but eventually. Dan Pink made a good point in his webcast about how access to information has changed from a model of information asymmetry to one of information parity. He illustrated this using car salesmen and the act of buying a car: back in the day, car dealers held all the information which made buying a car very tricky for the buyer. Today, consumers have an equal amount of information as the dealers which puts them on even ground which makes it more difficult for the dealers to gain the upper hand on a sale.
This model could also be applied to library administrators and the non-administrative staff: everyone is pretty much on level ground when it comes to access to information. I believe that in order for libraries to succeed and thrive, the big-picture-takers (those attuning themselves with our competitors) need to still be the directors and the department heads but they also need to be the building maintenance staff, the circulation staff, the children's specialists, the IT staff, the archivists, the catalogers, etc. In short, everyone who works in a library is responsible for its success and therefore needs to be aware of the environment in which it exists, including its competitors.
How well are we currently attuning? This depends on how we define success. If we take the low-hanging fruit and simply look at which libraries have closed in the past couple of years, then some libraries are doing better than others. But that's a very skewed and narrow approach. We could also look at budgets and number of library card users and the frequency with which they use those library cards. Maybe those measures aren't even what we should use to operationalize our attunement proficiency.
What are your thoughts on this?
Coming up in the next two posts, buoyancy and clarity.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Originally, I was tempted to analyze different departments within the libraries I work using the non-sales selling model but I figured I would rather leave that to the readers. I hope you take some time to think for yourselves about how you try to convince others to pay you in time, effort, attention, money, etc. in exchange for whatever it is you do. Please post your thoughts in the comments!
Here we go.
I'm a trainer, formerly known as a staff development coordinator, less formerly known as a champion of learning (Joe, if you're reading this, I would like to request that my job title be changed to Champion of Learning). Titles are actually quite silly because even though I have a title it really doesn't begin to describe most of what I do. Yes, I train and develop staff and champion learning but it all sounds so nebulous. However, given the nature of the topic at hand, I would not want to have the title of Non-Sales Salesman.
Sales sounds dirty. As Dan Pink shared with us in his webcast last week, he found out in his survey of approximately 7000 people, most everyone thinks sales sounds dirty. In fact, they thought sales sounded like this:
But I have come to recognize my non-sales selling nature.
Hello. My name is Julie and I'm a non-sales salesman.
But don't take my word for it. Well, ok, maybe you do have to take my word for it but let's look at my non-sales salesmanship a little more closely. Do you remember the question Dan asked to explore non-sales selling? He roughly asked the question, "What percentage of your time do you spend convincing or persuading others to give up something they value for something you can offer?"
Those somethings of value could be time, effort attention, or money, or even something else not yet listed. In my last post I crudely broke down libraries as a whole into these four groups. Now I'm going to break down myself, or rather my staff development role, into these four groups in order to recognize the non-sales selling that exists.
First of all, if you haven't read any of Dan Pink's books I enthusiastically say, "go get them now!" If you're reading this and you live in Washington, Allegany, or Garrett counties, then I can tell you with 100% confidence that your libraries own his books (I checked). What are you waiting for? If you're not sure which one to start with, I'd recommend reading Drive first, then A Whole New Mind, then read To Sell is Human.
Getting back to the webcast - which you can watch for yourselves by the way by clicking on this link - Dan Pink's thesis for his book and for the webcast is that everyone is in selling.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The learner's voice can often be left out of what's happening in education. However, the recent open educational movement has made available an enormous variety of learning opportunities to huge audiences through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Audrey related the MOOC movement to improv as a collaborative, innovative, remixing endeavor. MOOCs work on the idea that if we have enough data, that we might be able to build algorithms that will personalize education and make education adaptive. It leads to self-directed learning.
In formal education environments, who owns learners' data? The student? Institution? Government? Software provider? Opinions vary widely. We also need to consider, who has control and who has access to the data? We are now creating situations where we have very limited access to our student content. It's locked away in content management systems and apps. Compare that to the manila envelope that your mom kept your 4th grade art and report cards. Is that data portable? Is it secure? In some ways more, in other ways less.
Cheryl LaRoche from UMD introduced the "balance principle", that there was a balance of free and slave states from the beginning of the Union. Vermont was cut off from New York. Florida had to be a slave state, even though for 200 years it had been a place for slaves to escape to, when in 1845 Iowa joined the Union as a free state and Florida was its pair, and therefore slave.
Chandra Manning-from Georgetown University spoke of "contraband", the term used to describe slaves who ran from their masters when the Union Army entered the south. They assisted the army by digging, washing etc and often lived in squalid camps.See Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
James McPherson from Yale spoke about "black men in blue". After the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln permitted African Americans to join the army, though they had been in the navy from the early days of the war. African Americans received inferior pay, had white officers and were often garrisoned, guarding forts, railway lines etc, rather than be actively fighting. When they did encounter Confederate troops they were often harshly treated, when captured sold back into slavery or, in the case of Fort Pillow in Mississippi, killed when they surrendered. The Confederates refused to exchange black prisoners, leading to the overcrowding and abuse at places like Andersonville. The African American troops fought to free the slaves in the south and also to gain acceptance as more than second class citizens.
Barbara Krauhamer from Amherst introduced photographs of African Americans during the Civil War. They ranged from pictures of slaves with scarred bodies in degrading situations, to photographs taken of United States Colored Troops in uniform, to slaves caring for white children, and finally to photographs of African Americans taken by African Americans. It was a very moving presentation.
Barbara Fields of Columbia University's topic was "Was Emancipation a War Crime?" She dealt with whether slaves were people or property. And if property how could they be responsible for running away?
Lincoln's view was along the lines of "I do not want a negro woman to be a slave, but nor do I want her as a wife." He seized slaves from the south because they were rebel property. Emancipation, in Field's view, was a war choice. The language of the day was that slaves wanted their freedom because of outside agitators, not that they were unhappy with their situation.
Should slave holders be compensated for losing their property? This may seem an absurd question now, but it was a significant one at the time. A slave holder paid for his slave, and had fed, house and clothed this person, even if he were property. And the Federal government expected the south to give up their slaves without compensation. But to some, this seemed unreasonable. Hence the title of the talk - "Was Emancipation a War Crime?"
When the slaves in Barbados were freed, huge sums were paid to British slave holders - see Britain's colonial shame: Slave-owners given huge payouts after abolition The slaves themselves received no compensation. Even indentured servants received freedom dues at the end of their term, but freed slaves were given nothing.
What do you want to learn about at the Summit (Nov. 11, 2013)?
Take our survey by April 15th:
Ignore any areas that don’t apply to you and feel free to write in other ideas you may have.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Emily opened with an overview of the project. What is the DPLA? It's goal is to build our national digital library. DPLA will make cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, for all. The focus is on materials from the United States. They are currently in the planning phase, led by the Berkman Center at Harvard University. It's funded by the Sloan Foundation an the Arcadia Fund, with a goal to transition to independent 501c3 non-profit in 2013. The new Executive Director, Dan Cohen, was announced the previous day, March 5. He'll begin work in April. DPLA will add additional staff, but will remain small. A new board is now in place, replacing a Steering Committee. The initial launch will take place in about a month, on April 18-19 at the Boston Public Library.
Elements of the DPLA: Code - Where possible it will make use of existing free and open source code, built on open standards. Metadata - Sharable, available under CC0 license to allow for unrestricted reuse, goal to operate as part of the global linked data environment, resolves to digital objects. Content - Incorporate all types of content beginning with "green lighted" & public domain content that resolves to digital objects. Tools & services - Provide tools and services for enhanced use of content and content creation. Community - Participatory platform - WE are the DPLA.
Metadata: Board Statement: 1. The vast majority of Metadata is not subject to copyright restriction. 2. The DPLA's Partners share the DPLA's commitment to open, sharable metadata. 3. The DPLA asserts no rights over its database of metadata and waives all claims for infringement thereof. 4. Free and unencumbered access to metadata.
Community: Workstreams include: audience participation, content scope, financial business models, legal issues, technical aspects. Listservs and other ways to stay involved can be found at http://dp.la/get-involved. They're also offering lots of sessions and workshops. They have a tradition of using a graphic artist at all meetings to illustrate imaginative images based on the ideas being generated.
The Digital Hubs Pilot Project was launched in Sept. 2012. The goal is to take existing collaboratives and aggregate the content. The approach for the pilot is to work with 6 states and 1 region. The service hubs are Mountain West Digital Library, digital libraries of MA, GA, KY, MN, OR, SC. Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage (MDCH) could potentially become a digital hub in the future, but is not signed on at this time. The advantage to this approach is that they are using existing infrastructures, existing aggregation and existing metadata services.
As of April 2013 the Digital Hubs will offer a full menu of standardized digital services to local institutions, including digitization, metadata consultation, data aggregation, storage services, locally hosted community outreach programs bringing users in contact with digital content of local relevance, and exhibit building. Each service hub will coordinate an exhibition around a topic. You can hear John Butler of the Minnesota Digital Library discuss their role as a Digital Hub on Youtube. Each Digital Hub is taking a topic and building an exhibition around it. See Europeana exhibitions - The Homeland of Migrating Groups
for an example exhibition.
The process for hubs is to harvest metadata via OAI-PMH (a protocol for metadata) led by DPLA technical staff. They'll perform quality control on the big metadata soup and send feedback regarding metadata quality to the content hub. Reharvest if needed.
How will people access the DPLA content? There will be multiple ways, including a web portal and an API. They are contracting with iFactory to build a new web site for the DPLA, to launch in April. Open API will provide access to all of the metadata tools.
If you think you're interested in contributing your content to the DPLA in the future, complete the form at http://dp.la/about/digital-hubs-pilot-project/hubs-inquiries
Standard rights statements can be found at
More on DPLA can be found at http://dp.la
So from the presentation I learned that DPLA is not what I thought it could have been. DPLA is about stuff. It's not about e-reading or audio bestsellers. At its core, it's not really about what most of us would consider to be the primary focus of public libraries. Could our WHILBR contribute it's content to DPLA? Maybe, but I'm not ready to jump in so early. Let's see if MDCH participates in the next couple of years and decide how to proceed based on their experience.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
My instructor, Professor Susan Frakes, first made clear to us the distinction between preservation and conservation. Conservation typically refers to repairing the aftermath of damaged library material (either through mechanical or chemical means). Preservation covers this too, but also encompasses the idea of preventative measures to prevent library material damage in the first place. It includes not only steps taken to prolong the life of library materials through proper environmental measures (keeping consistent temperatures, filtering out UV light from the stacks, proper air filtration and ventilation, etc.), but also the instruction and education of staff members to be made aware of ways to increase the longevity of library materials as well as implementing policies on food and drink within proximity to the stacks. Even simple shelving techniques (shelves are neither too full nor allowed to fall slack, overly tall books should be shelved flat, not with the open pages faced downward) can prolong the life of any collection.
Much of the material in this course seems self-evident at first glance, but in reality, many simple steps to preserve library materials are often ignored. And while the more specific topics of this course, such as learning the proper pH level of paper to be considered "acid-free" and how to measure it will come in handy if I ever find myself in an archival environment, I believe that the more basic aspects of this course have made me more aware of the steps I personally can take in the circulation department to help maintain our collection.