Thursday, November 5, 2015

Learning Careers & Your Development

Author: Julie Zamostny, Staff Development Coordinator, Western MD Regional Library

Nigel Paine presented this workshop at Elliot Masie's Learning 2015 Conference.

This was a conversational session during which all of the participants broke themselves up into smaller groups in order to talk about we we do to keep our careers fresh and moving forward. This basically turned into a discussion on how we *should* be using LinkedIn more effectively. I feel like I have a decent LinkedIn profile and I update all of my projects as they come about but the one thing I do not do well on LinkedIn is post original thoughts; and that was my a-ha moment.

My LinkedIn profile header. 
During the session, one thing that dawned on me that I never got a chance to share (Nigel spent the last several minutes with his back to the area in which I was sitting and my raised hand never managed to catch his eye before we ran out of time): how many companies/organizations require community engagement as part of their employees' learning and development? This question lead me to write this unfinished essay while on the plane ride home:

How many of us give away our talents and skills beyond our employers and customers?
If you’re a web designer, do you volunteer your time at the United Way by helping them with pro bono web design projects? If you’re a marketer, do you volunteer your time at your local humane society by designing advertisements or creating social media posts for them for free? If you’re a really great listener, do you volunteer as a Big Brother, Big Sister and mentor a kid who needs someone to hear her and take an interest in her development as a fellow human being?
I don’t think enough of us share our skills and talents with our communities at large and this is not only a disservice to ourselves but to our companies and to our communities general.
We hurt ourselves because if we want to grow our professional networks so we are able to move into richer, potentially more fulfilling roles and positions, then we need to share our work with those beyond our water coolers. We need to cast a wider net and diversify our social circles. Otherwise, when Jane Doe Executive has a Lead Web Designer position come open, she will think of you first because 1) you both serve on the Marketing and Communications committee of the United Way and 2) she’s experienced first-hand how you work and the quality of your products, and 3) you’ve mentioned in passing wat your career aspirations are. You’re no longer a post-it note swimming in a big pond of resumes.
Companies are doing a disservice to themselves if they are not requiring community volunteering of all their employees because they’re missing an opportunity to develop employees who 1) have a vested interest in the local world around them, 2) are therefore more invested in their roles at the company, and 3) are therefore less likely to look for jobs elsewhere. This seems like common sense to me and yet, why aren’t we making community involvement a part of their training and development plans?
And I’m talking about all employees, not just the C-Suite and middle managers. Every. Single. Employee. If we only require one section of our organization to be embedded in the community, a reward in and of itself, then the rest of the staff will be missing out on a very enriching experience. Everyone in the organization should: 1) feel that they have something to give back, to share (because they do) and, 2) be given the recognition, opportunity, and support to share that something with their local community in a constructive and meaningful way.
This isn’t a new idea; I feel like Seth Godin talked about this in one of his books for which I cannot remember the citation, and Austin Kleon wrote about it, too, in Show Your Work. Beverly Kaye’s book on Help them grow or watch them grow – is perhaps more on point. They didn’t make the connection to job satisfaction and employee retention that I am attempting to here, but they talked about sharing what we know beyond our colleagues.

For another time: why I think public libraries especially should be doing this…

The Learning Challenge: Dealing with Technology, Innovation, & Change

Author: Julie Zamostny, Staff Development Coordinator, Western MD Regional Library

Nigel Paine presented this workshop at Elliot Masie's Learning 2015 Conference

This was a fantastic session - as are most of Nigel's sessions I've attended over the years - and below are my main takeaways about which I want to learn more. 
  1. Learning is only effective when people care. Learning sticks when people have an emotional attachment to either the reason they have to learn something new and/or to the content itself. This made me think, yet again, of Simon Sinek's Start with Why, and I really wish all staff were required to complete his course as part of their career development. I completed it last year and it was an enlightening experience and continues to influence my work.
  2. 20 minutes of 'normal' paced walking is enough to prepare the brain to learn. After 20 minutes of walking, the brain will maintain a read-to-learn state for about 45 minutes. 
  3. Pomodoro Technique is a work style in which you work in 20 minute bursts segmented by 5 minutes of rest in between. I learned later, in a different session, that this corresponds with how our hippocampus works; it can only sustain active receiving of new information for a max of 20 minutes until it needs a rest. 
  4. Nigel quote of the day, "Leadership [development programs] fail because we give up before it becomes habitual." 
It's on this quote that I want to philosophize more...

According to Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit

Habits= Trigger --> Routine Behavior --> Reward. 

But what are the triggers, routine behaviors, and rewards for habitual leadership? Here's what I think:

Trigger: an awareness of a situation that challenges a core value or belief? Thinking this isn’t right 
or, this could be better. 

Routine Behavior: take the initiative to speak up and/or take action?

Reward: neurotransmitters, a problem solved, recognition for job well done, validation, etc?

I feel like I'm an habitual leader so, what are my triggers, routines, and rewards?

Example situation: creating the emerging technology collection back in 2010.

The Trigger: awareness that staff do not have readily available access to the emerging technologies 
that patrons are expecting library staff to help them with. 

The Routine Behavior: purchase emerging technologies and make them available for staff to use 
however they want; and provide training on how on how to use those technologies.

The Reward: see increase in circulation as well as an increase in the use of those technologies in 
library programs. See also an increase in requests for more technologies as they become available. Translates into validation and problem solved. 

Empowerment and autonomy plays a huge role in developing habitual leaders, however...and that is a topic for another blog post. 

Black Eyed Susan Tapestry (BEST)

Author Name: Amanda Kaufman
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:

1. How books are selected for the Black Eyed Susan awards, the voting process for selecting the winners, and discussions on the selected books for this year.
2. Top rated Picture Books for 2015 so far.
3. Top rated children's chapter books for 2015 so far.

How to implement: 
Great way to learn how to incorporate the Black Eyed Susan nominees/winners from each year into library programming (such as Battle of the Books or Book Clubs). You learn how to book talk the nominees to get kids reading, and are given a CD of all nominees with a synopsis of the book and programming/activity ideas to use. I have chosen to use some of the Black Eyed Susan nominees in my Home School Book Club.

Elementary Algebra

Author Name: Dennis McPherson
Library System: Western Maryland Regional Library

[Hagerstown Community College online class: MyMathLab by Pearson]

Top 3 things learned:
1) How to work with positive and negative numbers (multiplication, division, etc.)
2) The basics of algebra- which really encompasses a lot of different elements.
3) Using graphs for algebraic operations.

How to implement:
This class is required to help me to get to the level I need to take and pass college level algebra, which I will need in order to get my associates degree, which is the next step towards ultimately getting my library degree. As far as implementing it into what I do, I think some of the elements I learned in algebraic problem solving could help me in some degree in my everyday tasks.

Additional learning:
In the future, I will still need to take another algebra course (Mat-100) before I reach the college level algebra required to obtain a degree.

Lead the Change: Transform Your Stacks to Drive Circulation

Author Name: Christopher McGee
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
1. Although libraries do many valuable things, there are other agencies and organizations that exist entirely to do many of those things. They may do those things better or worse than libraries do, but regardless of that, it's what they are known for. A 2013 PEW survey reveals that 80% of Americans
aged 16 and over think that books and media are an important public library service. Librarian assistance was considered important by 76%. Comparatively, computers, internet, and printers were important to only 58%. Reading is the library brand. It's what libraries are known for and what we
do better than anyone else.

2. There are more books published today than at any other time in history, but with the closure of big-box bookstores, there are fewer places for people to discover books.

3. Rather than placing customer convenience at the highest premium, make it worthwhile for patrons to seek the items they want by making attractive displays that will appeal to them as they walk to the items they already know they want. (Move the milk to the back of the store.)

How to implement:
Change displays frequently, preferably at least once every three weeks so that patrons see something new when they return items they've checked out. Make the displays attractive. Tie displays into the stacks with end caps and shelf talkers.

Additional learning: We learned a bit about merchandising techniques like the Rule of 3, symmetrical and asymmetrical arrangement, and using color to promote or provoke.

Kids Are Customers, Too

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

Top 3 things learned:

  1. How to host a dance party for children of all ages
  2. How to host a digital camp for pre-school aged children to learn how to use laptops and tablets
  3. About key skills and knowledge families need to effectively use technology in developmentally appropriate and intentional ways with young children

How to implement:
I've been hearing about libraries having dance parties, especially for active little ones, and have thought about trying to do one. Now, I've heard someone talk through the process (scheduling, picking music, structure), and I feel more confident in how to go about the planning process. The presenter mentioned a Noon Year's Eve Party- that might be a fun time to start! The presenter mentioned using primarily traditional kids music, such as Jim Gill, Greg and Steve, Laurie Berkner, etc.

Additional learning:
The keynote speaker, Tanya Baronti from the Fred Rogers Center, sparked my interest in investigating the Center's work regarding children and technology.

Cybersecurity workshop

Author Name: Stacy Winters
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:

  1. How to tell if a site you are on is a secure site.
  2. How to keep your information safe from hackers.
  3. I learned some different web sites to check out to keep your information safe.
  4. To be aware of your surroundings and watch out for people around you.

How to implement: 
Just to try and make sure we remind patrons to log out of any online accounts when they are done, and also to make sure they end all sessions when finished.

Cybersecurity workshop

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

Top 3 things learned:

  1. basic http(s)
  2. better password(s)
  3. improved general knowledge on this subject

How to implement:

  • inform
  • share
  • relate

Additional learning: I really would like to see more workshops in this area of modern technology

Code in Libraries: Squishy Circuits

Author name: Tammy L. Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library
Date of program: 09/17/2015

Description of Activities:

  • Explored electricity using LEDs, a battery, playdoh and clay.
  • Children learned about series circuits and parallel circuits.
  • Two adults and five children attended

Cybersecurity Workshop

Author Name: Ashley Swinford
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:

  • How hackers breach our personal information, tactics they use to try to pry personal information from us
  • Good strategies for safe passwords 
  • Several resources for free security software and monitoring tools

How to implement:
I will use this information everyday when I'm helping patrons use the computers. I'm asked several times what type of password they should create...I plan to create a "how to create a safe password"
handout for the public computer area.

Kids Are Customers, Too

Author Name: Amanda Kaufman
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. In regards to the use of technology with young children, technology should enhance and not replace learning.
2. Make passive technology experiences with children active by asking questions, talking about the experience, doing activities, and seeing how it relates to your life.
3. All the reasons music is needed in child programming, how to implement, and playlists to use.

How to implement: 
With exercise and movement the summer reading theme for 2016, implementing techniques from Bibliobop or creating a movement program for young children would be a great way to incorporate what was learned at the conference into summer reading programming.

Additional learning: - for low income families who qualify for free school lunch programs - this resource allows families to have access to low cost internet and electronic devices if they qualify.

leafsnap - an app that shows kids how a leaf changes through the seasons. You take a picture with the app of a leaf and it will transform. - technology resources for children age birth-8.

Something Wicked This Way Comes of Age

Author Name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
We learned why it is important to understand the appeal of horror to teens. We may have our own feelings about horror to deal with, we are the defenders of their choices, and if w understand the appeal we understand their issues better. Horror is a window into their worries. We learned about the mechanics of horror's appeal. Horror makes us realize we are not alone in our fears. Teens gain reassurance by reading about kids just like them who are going through things so much worse than what they are. We discussed the different types of horror and books specific to that type.

How to implement:
This class helped with Reader's Advisory for teen horror. I could also create a book display or teen program in this genre.

Dell World

Author Name: Ian Seibert
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
1. The Powerconnect series of switches have been discontinued and replaced with the N series of switches. The models are similar and have similar model features but have been enhanced with some new features.

2. The SonicWall firewall by processing numbers is still one of the best on the market and in future upgrades we will need to be careful to watch the ability to decrypt and inspect data in real time which is very processor intensive.

3. Dell's recent bid to acquire EMC will also mean that VMware will now be a Dell company. This acquisition could also have some interesting changes to our data storage product lines.

How to implement:
Our upgrade path for the switches will most likely be to the new N series. I will need to investigate the individual models in more depth before a decision is made. The SonicWall product line still looks
attractive for firewall upgrades, but we will explore alternatives for wireless controllers. I will continue to monitor storage solutions as we near time to upgrade that as well.

Scratch Programming

Author name: Tammy Gantz
Library System: Washington County Free Library
Date of program: 10/21/2015

Description of Activities:
Used the Scratch program that was on the laptops and walked the students through Getting started with Scratch from the Scratch user's guide. The students wrote code to make scratch dance, added sound effects and changed the background. The students were then given time to design their own program. This program was held Oct. 21 for the children and Oct. 22 for the teens.

Kids Are Customers, Too

Author Name: Aimee Rutt
Library System: Washington County Free Library
Event Title: Kids Are Customers, Too- October 15, 2015

Top 3 things learned:
This was a fantastic presentation that showed off the unique idea of an all dance and movement based story time session. The presenter outlined how she conducts her programs, and provided us with song ideas and a basic outline for how we could do our own Bibliobop story time! I like the concept of this
program very much!

2. Introducing Technology to Children and Families
The opening presentation was done by Tanya Baronti of the Fred Rogers Centre, and the primary focus was on technology and how it can be used effectively in kid's lives. She taught us the importance of introducing children to technology, and how we could distinguish between effective use or frivolous use. She also taught us the importance of an adults role in their child's use of technology. Parents should be aware of how their children are using technology and what they are doing online, and should also teach their children (by example) of appropriate uses of technology and appropriate online behavior.

3. The lengthy process that goes in to writing and illustrating a children's book AND the importance of bilingual children's books. Spanish American children's author Lulu Delacre gave a presentation, and went in-depth about all of the steps that she took to write her most recent children's book (to be released in 2016). She took us on a journey that expanded from her initial idea for the book all the way to the final steps in preparation for publication! She also talked about how her book was written
in both English and Spanish, which I thought was very awesome because it makes it so special and diverse!

How to implement:

  • I will do some research to plan my own Bibliobop/movement based story time.I thought this was a wonderful idea because it gives kids an opportunity to experience a different type of story time, and also helps them get active while still having fun. I plan to use both new and old songs, and may even try to implement some of my childhood favorites.
  • Author LuLu Delacre inspired me to look for more diverse books to implement in to my storytimes. This will help the kids be exposed to new and different cultures, and will also meet the needs of the different groups of children that come to storytime.
  • I will try and implement more technology in my children's programs in the future as a learning tool for the kids.

Children's Interest Group Fall 2015 Meeting

Author Name: Aimee Rutt
Library System: Washington County Free Library

Top 3 things learned:
1. I really enjoyed learning about the different story time books and strategies that are used by my colleagues. It was very interesting to learn about what has worked for them and what their patrons enjoy.

2. I enjoyed learning about the Playaway Launchpad! I feel like that will be a very useful tool for our young patrons, and will be an effective way to introduce technology in to their lives.

3. I thought that the "500 by Five" presentation was wonderful! There are so many great things about that program! I love how it not only motivates kids to read, but makes them excited to do so! I would love to see how our patrons would respond if we were to introduce this program in our library system!

How to implement:
1. I will try and implement some of the strategies and books that were introduced by my colleagues in future story times to see how my patrons respond.

2. Whether or not our library system chooses to add the Playaway Launchpads to our collection, I will become more familiar with all of the educational apps that are out there for children.

3. I will teach children and families the importance of reading every chance I get. I will also make sure to read to my own children every night and always have books available to them when I become a parent.

Lead the Change: Transform Your Stack to Drive Circulation

Author Name: Ashley Swinford
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:

  • A library's brand is reading.
  • Less people are discovering what to read from browsing a bricks and mortar bookstore
  • Libraries are highly trusted
  • There is a huge opportunity to bridge the gap and be the trusted place that people browse and discover what to read next

How to implement: 
Our library plans to reflect and design a plan to organize our displays so that they draw patrons back into the stacks, not simply sticking to the front to browse new titles. We also plan to create book
talkers for the stacks to point out some appeal factors and read-a-likes for unknown titles and authors.
Additional learning: We also learned about how to create self-directed pathways through the library as well as the use of social media, email, and bloggers to build our brand.

Lead the Change: Increase Circulation in the Stacks

Author Name: Elizabeth Sell
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems

Top 3 things learned:

  • What a 'Walking Path" is and how to set it up in your library.
  • Made a 'Display Plan' for my library.
  • What a 'Shelf Talker' is and how they can be helpful.

How to implement:
We discussed how just changing where you put things in the library can pull patrons further in which in turn can boost circulation. Changing book displays more often can help patrons find things of interest which they may not have seen otherwise. Placing 'Shelf talkers' in stacks , which can be used to promote read-alikes, give patrons little blurbs using appeal terms to create interest.

Code in Libraries: STEM Kids: Electrical Circuits

Author name: Julie Iden
Library System: Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County
Date of program: 09/16/2015
Title of Program: STEM Kids- Electrical Circuits

Description of Activities:
I started off the program with a power point presentation on electrical circuits. We discussed electricity, conductors, insulators, the flow of electricity through a circuit, series circuits, and parallel circuits. We used an energy ball to demonstrate electrical circuits. This was not included in our coding kits, but it would make a nice addition to your kit. When you touch the ball's metal strips, the ball lights up and creates sound. We made predictions on whether or not electricity would flow through the human body. We kept adding kids to our human circuit until all fourteen kids were
included in our circuit. If someone broke the connection by letting go of their hands, the ball would stop lighting up and making sounds.

We then divided into two groups. Half of the kids worked independently using the Snap Circuits Jr's. I purchased additional Snap Circuits Jr. kits, so we have a total of five. The children worked in groups of two, and that worked out well. They enjoyed working through the projects in the project guide that came in each Snap Circuits Jr. kit. Some of the older children skipped ahead to more challenging projects. Each group was successful in completing circuits to make lights and sounds and even a flying saucer.

I worked with the other half of the group making squishy circuits. They were able to complete both series and parallel circuits. We had trouble with a few LED's burning up. We were told not to attach the LED's directly to the batteries, and I think that that the LED wires were touching the wires coming from the batteries inside of the play dough. My son said that we needed resistors, but I'm not sure how that would work.

STEM Kids is an hour and a half long, once a month program for children ages 6-13 at the Ruth Enlow Library in Oakland. By using the squishy circuits and the Snap Circuits Jr's. from the coding kit, the children were able to learn a lot about electrical circuits. They were given the opportunity to create many different circuits using several different materials. I liked that they were able to make their own discoveries using the provided materials. The program worked well for both the younger and the older children.

Event Photos: