Monday, April 27, 2015

Computers in Libraries: Continuous innovation and transformation.

Keynote presenter: Steve Denning

This reflection is my synthesis of the information I heard presented at this morning's keynote. 

A new management model is the key to a sustainable future for libraries. We need to start to make the transition from a traditional management model to one of the creative economy. But the process won't be easy because it's a change driven by mindset not by computers or technology. 

The diagrams above show the transition from:
- Goals of outputs to goals of delighting the customer
- Bosses to coaches
- Employees who are told what to do to self forming teams
- Focus on what's good for the library to a focus on what's good for the customer/patron etc. 
- Communication that is top down to communication that is open conversations. 

How to make the transition easier? Denning says to ask the right questions:

- how can we delight our customers?
- how can we manage our libraries to enable continuous innovation?
- What will make things better/faster/cheaper/more convenient FOR OUR CUSOTMERS?
- what needs could we meet that customers haven't thought of?
- what do customers already love? How can we do more of that? How can we make what they already love better/faster/cheaper?

"The future is already here. It is just very unevenly distributed." - William Gibson 

So how will I use this moving forward with staff development? 

I'll start asking better questions. I think the training needs assessment needs an overhaul and a new approach which can easily benefit from such question-asking described above. This can actually be applied to any of the projects I am working on. 

- stop motion animation: how can this delight our customers? How can we make it easier for our customers to incorporate stop motion into their already busy programs?

- WMRL databases. How can our databases delight our customers? How can we make them easier to use and promote?

- Summit. Am I facilitating the team in such a way that enables continuous innovation? Are we designing a summit experience that will delight our participants?

Lots of food for thought here and I will be checking our catalog to make sure we own some of Denning's books to check out!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Best Books of the Year, 2014: Picture, JFic, JNon-Fic, and YA

Author Name: Carol Lee
Library System: Frederick County Public Libraries

Top 3 things learned:

  • Trends and appeal in the latest children's and teens books
  • Characteristics of great books in these categories
  • What to recommend to appropriate readers

How to implement: 
This gives me a list of books to familiarize myself with in order to provide better readers advisory to these age groups and their parents.

Connecting the Dots Between Early Childhood Development and Early Literacy

Author Name: Abigail Andrews
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
I learned about the winners of the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award.

I learned about characteristics of books that appeal to children ranging from birth to age five.

I learned about developmental milestones for children ranging from birth to age five.

How to implement: 
By learning about developmental milestones (some of which I knew and some I didn't), I now have a better understanding of what to expect from children attending my storytimes. I also got some new ideas for choosing books that would appeal to children in storytime, as well as early
elementary school students.

Additional learning: 
I had thought the conference would touch more on brain development, and it didn't, so I would like to learn more in that area.

Improving Services to Customers with Mental Health Issues

Author Name: Carol Richardson-Heft
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:

  • I learned how to handle patrons who have mental issues when it comes to making their experience in the library a good one.
  • I learned the characteristics of some patrons who may have mental issues and how to handle various issues.
  • I learned that is someone is not good with handling noise or distractions that we can offer headphones to them to make their time in the library more productive if they are using computers

How to implement:
As mentioned above I learned that using headphones with patrons who are sensitive to noise or distractions.

I learned to treat patrons with mental issues with the same courtesy and respect as any other patron.

I learned that providing one on one assistance when helping locate books or helping on computers is a good way to make their experience in the library a good one.

Veterans' Benefits Training

Author Name: Sherry Dickens
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:

  • Determine available veteran resources that support public awareness planning efforts at my library system

  • Identify at least 3 ways that Maryland Public Libraries are already assisting veterans
  • Can describe several benefits which are available to veterans

How to implement: 
Keeping system informed, posting new sources available and making sure that information is accessible to everyone.

Additional learning: Staying up to date on new website resources, noting changes, and making sure to stay on email newsletters that deal with VA, state and federal.


Leadership Allegany County

Author Name: Jennifer Spriggs
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
Leadership Allegany! began in September of 2015 and since then we have met seven times for the following topic days: Quality of Life, Economic Development, Local Government, Health Care, Education, State Government, and Social Services. Although pretty much a lifelong resident of Allegany County, this has been an eye-opening experience. I feel that I am truly getting to know my community through this program. Just a sampling of some of the things

I've learned:
• Cumberland is actually not a dangerous place to live. A report came out earlier this year from a Home Security Company listing Cumberland as the 8th most dangerous city to live in Maryland. Sheriff Robertson, Cumberland Police Chief Hinnant, and Deputy State Attorney Thomas addressed this report and showed us the actual statistics. Serious crime like murder or rape is almost zero percent. What we do have a lot of is shoplifting and petty crime. They said that cell phone theft is the most prevalent. When someone resists their phone being stolen, that is counted as robbery. Also, there are a large number of abandoned buildings in Cumberland that are being broken into. That is considered a burglary, even if no one actually lives there. The Deputy State Attorney also mentioned that many counties send patients up to the Finan Center to be stabilized and then recommend that they live here when they are released because it is cheaper to live here. However, we don't have the same resources as the counties downstate have to take care of these folks. Many of them go off their meds and then the public safety officers are called in as a result.

• Public expectations of services keep going up but the dollars to fund those services keep going down. They mentioned that the loss of the highway user tax has negatively impacted our community. Money that used to come back to us now goes back downstate – apparently we lost 4.2 million overall with this change. For example, when someone fuels up at Sheetz, the tax money no longer goes to Allegany County, it goes to Prince George's county.

• Two of the biggest challenges for our area are job creation and population growth.

• The majority of the County's budget goes to education and to public works.

• The majority of the City of Cumberland's budget goes to Public Safety.

• Over 30 percent of Cumberland's citizens are now recycling. The trash company reports a significant decrease in the amount of trash that it is now taking to the landfill. This is wonderful news.

How to implement:
I shared this information with my co-workers when I came back from the Leadership Allegany! Local Government Day. The article about Cumberland being high in crime was in the news at that time. This information helped dispel some myths that were circulating. We are attempting to be more involved in workforce development. A connection was made with the IT Workforce Development Initiative at Allegany College of Maryland. As a result we are attending meetings and even took on an intern from AC's Computer Science program this spring. This information about the County budget helps staff better understand the funding challenges that we are facing.


YALSA's A Beginner's Guide to Teens in Libraries: 2015 Edition

Author Name: Ashley Adams
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. Specific Ideas for Teen Programming (ex. Zombie night)

2. Things to keep in mind when serving teens in the library (stage of life, etc.)

3. How to deal with teen behavioral problems

How to implement:

1. Plan a "zombie party" to attract teens who are interested in Walking Dead comic books and tv show. Teens can dress up, learn how to put on Halloween makeup to look like a zombie, could show a zombie movie, have zombie themed games, etc.

2. Plan more passive programs to lure "passive teens" to participate (scavenger hunt, etc.)

3. Deal with behavioral problems by: planning a passive program or snacks to distract them, pay attention to time of day teens visit library and schedule staff breaks/lunch around this so more staff is available to deal with potential problems.

Additional learning: 
I learned some of what teens are into and what fads have passed, i.e. teens don't use facebook much, they are more into other social media platforms. I can use this in my marketing.

Best YA Books of the Year

Author Name: Amy Kirchofer
Library System: St. Mary's County Library

Top 3 things learned:

  • Sharon's top YA picks of 2014
  • YALSA's top YA picks of 2015 (so far)
  • This webinar covered the same YA information as the workshop at the Kent Island branch.

How to implement: 
Checking our catalog for any titles I may have missed when selecting YA titles to order.