Thursday, November 21, 2019

Becoming a copyright coach: an interview with editors Kevin L. Smith and Erin L. Ellis

ALA has a interview with the authors of Coaching Copyright, Kevin L. Smith and Erin L. Ellis. Smith and Ellis released this new book in September. The book's goal is to empower:
users to take a practical approach to specific situations. Complete with in-depth case studies, this collection provides valuable information rooted in pragmatic techniques, including:
  • in-depth discussion of the five questions that will help you clarify any copyright situation;
  • storytelling techniques to enliven copyright presentations, plus ways to use music or YouTube to hook students into copyright topics;
  • three coaching scenarios that tie into ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and bring real-world applications to your library instruction;
  • how-to guidance on leading mock negotiations over real journal publishing agreements;
  • a 90-minute lesson plan on author rights for writers in a student journal;
  • tips for teaching instructional designers how to apply copyright and fair use principles to course management systems; and
  • an LIS copyright course assessment model.

The interview provides some advice, with clearly much more in the book.  Yes, read the interview and consider purchasing the book.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

#NYLA2019 : ADHD, Neurodiversity, and the Benefits of -- WAITLOOK!

Speakers: Lauren Comito, Brooklyn Public Library and Halley Eacker, University at Albany

Description: Are you a library worker with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)? As a manager of neurodiverse employees, are you looking for strategies to support your employees' professional success? Join our own-voice presenters as they discuss techniques adapted from positive-behavior-interventions-and-supports (PBIS) and how these employees can be powerhouse workers in their libraries with the proper environmental support. Topics of discussion include: expert guidance on ADHD in the workplace, methods for staying on task with ADHD, using ADHD as an asset in a profession that's constantly changing, how ADHD can affect public service interactions with adults and children, and what strategies and environmental supports should be considered by organizations to promote success.

Notes:  Comito and Eacker acknowledged at the start that they are able to talk about this issue openly, without fear of repercussion, because of the privilege they enjoy. They also acknowledge that students of color are treated differently when it comes to neurodiversity.  They may not receive the same support, etc., as white students.  Comito and Eacker were open about their neurodiversity, as were others in audience. The safe space of this session allowed for very useful information to be shared.
  • What is neurodiversity? How our brains are structured and function are diverse.
  • No one needs to disclose that they are neurodiverse.
  • Let go of how the work is done, and focus rather that the work is done.  Give people different pathways to the same outcomes or products.
  • How people work towards deadlines may be quite different.  Nudge but don’t nag.
  • Do you need to modify your space to create a better environment for those with neurodiversity? Think about the lighting, sound, layout, etc.
  • Documented condition/diagnosis - If you need accommodation for the job interview. You can ask for an accommodation.
  • Ask your employees: How do you work best? What type of environment do you need?
  • How can you differentiate jobs tasks for each employee, rather than thinking in terms of accommodating a specific person?
  • Think about individual productivity tools.
  • Talking openly about your needs can help others think about theirs.
  • If you believe someone needs help, point the person towards available resources.
  • Can you create psychological safety in your work group?
  • The law has created a stigma rather than creating a ways for all of us to be productive.
  • Point out people’s strengths, rather than focusing  on their weaknesses.  Use their strengths.
  • Hiring is time consuming.  You want new employees to succeed.


Quick Thoughts 

At one point, Lauren Comito used the phrase "Temporal locality." This phrase was new to me, but it captures something many of us do, especially anyone with a messy desk.  With temporal locality, you place items where they can be accessed quickly.What seems messy for one person is efficient for someone else.

That above is a good example of understand how someone works and then giving that person the latitude to work in a way that is efficient for them.  Comito also noted that how someone works may mean that they naturally wait until the last minute to get something done.  That panic of being close to the deadline helps the person get the work completed.

This is a session that could have gone on much longer, with people contributing different resources, etc.  I hope NYLA does a session like this again!

#NYLA2019 : Programming for All Abilities

Speakers: Amy Smith, Red Hook Public Library, and Jason Thomas, Newburgh Free Library

Description: Libraries have a mission to serve everyone but, when it comes to programming, children, teens, and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities are often overlooked. Many libraries would like to begin programs, but don’t know where to start. At the same time, families and caregivers are looking for opportunities for their loved ones, clients, and students, to socialize, learn and have fun in a public setting.   Based on both the Red Hook Public Library and Newburgh Free Library’s “All Abilities” programs, this presentation shows how to add programs for all age groups with cognitive disabilities without breaking the budget.  Whether it’s adding a monthly social hour, or developing regular adaptive story time, there are options for libraries of any size.


Why do this?
  • Develop relationships with community organizations 
  • Support the needs of patrons 
  • Develop relationships between you patrons and staff
  • These programs will make you happy
  • Staff may be hesitant - they may have incorrect perceptions. You can model acceptance. 
  • You may not know where to begin. You do  not need to be an expert.  These programs are not a substitute for schooling.  They are focused on trying new things and meeting new people. Yes, you will make mistakes and that’s okay. 
  • You don’t want to ask absolutely it specific diagnosis and breach privacy. However, you may receive funds for programs for specific diagnosis.
  • Diagnostic language may not be clear and may sound out of touch.
  • Language can also be overly vague.
  • People will not come to a program if the language is unclear and they don’t know if it will be appropriate.
  • Don’t use words that could be condescending.
  • “All abilities” is an improv crazy risk. Include other specific language to help person.
  • Person first language vs identity first language. 
  • Disability culture
Who will come?
  • People who already come to your library. Those all abilities programs are for them, even if they attend other programs. 
  • People from specific organizations. 
  • Start small
  • Make the marketing clear.  Consistency can help.
Who will come?  Adults:
  • Where in the library do you do these?
  • To register or not?
  • Will you take photos?
  • What time of day?
  • Openly advertise programs
  • Do scheduled programs for specific individual groups
  • Program in a box
  • Off hour activities by request
Who will come?  Teens:
  • All abilities volunteer programs
  • Treat the program with respect and give rewards
  • Do the work with them.  That is a way to show respect.
Who will come?  Kids:
  • All abilities story time - people think this will be easy, but it isn't. Don’t start with this. 
  • Music and movement
  • Big family events.  Red Hook opens an hour early at some events for those with all abilities.  Registration required.  Add the information to the event email that already exists. 
  • When you do activities with those at the all abilities events, you are not othering them.

Quick Thoughts

Smith and Thomas are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this topic, with great examples. What stood out to me is that developing activities and events for all abilities requires changing your perspective, but that once you have done it, it will become natural.  One thing to consider is to talk with those who are already doing these events. They can provide helpful tips, examples, and encouragement.

#NYLA2019 : Hopepunk Sustainability: Libraries in the Lead

Speakers: Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Mid-Hudson Library System, and David Biello, TED

Description: In a world of overwhelming pessimism regarding climate change and sustainable practices, libraries have all the tools necessary to lead our communities forward on these issues. Recent reports from the United Nations and the US Government indicate that our economy is not shifting fast enough to mitigate the dire consequences we are already seeing due to climate change like severe weather, food insecurity and civil unrest. How can we stay focused and maximize our assets in the community to solve these issues? What global trends should libraries consider when designing their localized plans? Library leaders need to be empowered to serve as catalysts and conveners that help local communities help themselves.

Notes: Libraries are ground zero for hope. Hope lives in taxpayers that believe libraries are integral to our future. Libraries are beacons of hope. Libraries provide a realistic optimism based in hope.

Libraries are working on being sustainable as institutions, as well as help the world be sustainable.   For this to occur, libraries need to create sustainable practices.

How does your library building work? Are you using the building in a sustainable way? What is the system in which your building is embedded? Can you affect that system so it is more sustainable?

Voting is the greenest thing you can do and it affects the policies that help us be sustainable.

The catalyst for Sustainability happens at the top and at the bottom of organizations. In China, the change is occurring through children, a bottom up approach. Can we impact the curriculum in our schools to teach sustainable living?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is training preparedness ambassadors and they want to work with libraries.

ALA has added sustainability as a core value of librarianship.  That means that new MSLIS students will be thinking about it as part of their learning.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

#NYLA2019 : Introduction to Civil Service (Civil Service 101)

Speakers: Claudia Depkin, Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library, and Geoff Kirkpatrick, Bethlehem Public Library

Description: Join us as we engage with members of the Civil Service Task Force on navigating the finer points of the civil service system. Have questions about the hiring process? Do you want to know what to do after you've received your score? Stop in to find out. There will be an opportunity for discussion at the end of the presentation -- bring your questions!

Notes: Civil service is used to hire public library staff in many New York State libraries and in some other government-connected libraries across the state.  While civil service is not used in every U.S. state, where it is used, it is important to understand what it is, why it exists, and how to navigate the system.

NYLA maintains "A Librarians Guide to Civil Service" on its website, which people should refer to.

Why does civil service exist? It was created in the 1800s to breakup appointing who you know to positions. It is meant to help hire the best people for the job. It was also designed to protect people once they are in their positions.

What's the point?
  • Protect incumbents  from political pressure
  • Test for merit and fitness in an objective way
  • Encourage promotion from within the organization
  • Provide career ladders for employees
In NYS, all libraries uses civil services except for association libraries.  Information is available on the State Library website.

A few thoughts about vocabulary:
  • Vocabulary is important.
  • The words used, when describing civil service are nonstandard. You need to understand their language (civil service) and how they are using it.
  • It is a world into itself.
Home Rule - There are rules about civil service in NYS law, but there are local rules, connected with a specific civil service authority.  Those rules vary from location to location, and are important.

Local Control:
  • This makes the discussion of particulars challenging.
  • Commissioners and other civil service employees wield enormous power over specific practices.
  • Misunderstanding of NYS Civil Service law at the local level can be devastating.
  • Those things not specifically mentioned in state law are left to the local municipality to decide.
Some example:
  • Number of years of experience for minimum qualifications
  • Whether to use promotional exams
  • How often to offer exams
  • Part time staff having competitive or non-competitive status
Depkin and Kirkpatrick stressed that it is important to develop and maintain a relationship with your local civil service agency.

Classification of positions:
  • Two broad classes: classified, unclassified
  • Unclassified - elected officials, head of government agencies, teachers 
Four categories of classified service:
  • Competitive class - competitive exams, provides due process
  • Non-competitive class - some part-time positions are placed in the non-competitive class, see section 75 
  • Exempt class - library attorney, library treasurer, library executive/CEO (CC law 41)
  • Labor class - manual labor, part-time or full-time, See section 75
Depkin and Kirkpatrick frequently mentioned section 75  of Civil Service law, which emphasized the importance of understanding what is in the law itself.

  • Types of exams: open competitive, promotional 
  • May have residency requirements
  • Continuous recruitment versus non-continuous recruitment - when you can signup for the exam
Methods of examinations:
  • Typically multiple choice
  • Used  for most titles
  • May be on paper or computer
  • Training and experience exams
    • Used for librarian titles
    • Structured resume
    • Scored by a computer 
    • Questions about experiences, formal education, continuing education, professional development
  • Combination Exams
    • Frequently used for computer (IT) titles
  • Applicant must meet minimum standards.
  • Passing score and reachable on the civil service list for that position-type.
  • Applicant must respond to the canvas letter, which is sent by the hiring library.  This letter allows people on the civil service list to signal if they are interested in this specific position. It allows the hiring library to know who they should be considering for an interview.
  • The library then selects people to interview from available candidates
  • Once the final selection has been made, the staff member must be official appointed.
  • The new staff member must complete the probationary period.
Types of appointments:
  • Contingent permanent
  • Permanent
  • Provisional - no section 75 protections
  • Temporary - some specific rules based on length of the appointment
  • Non-competitive appointment
  • .....Others
Rule of one of three (rule of three)
  • Ensures that the appointing authority is never forced to choose from fewer than three eligible candidates.
  • Frequently misinterpreted.
  • Appointing authority may choose to appoint any of the three highest scoring candidates including ties, who are willing to accept the appointment.  This is why canvasing process is critical.
  • Within the rule of three, any legal method may be used.

Quick Thoughts

First, I wish that more people had been at this session, especially MSLIS students.  This is an important topic, especially in NYS, so having the chance to hear from people who are well-versed in it is useful.  Yes, there is "A Librarians Guide to Civil Service", but that is not a person is sitting in front of you, answering questions as Depkin and Kirkpatrick did.

Second, a number of people need to understand civil service including library staff, those seeking employment, and public library boards of trustees. While each group may not need to understand civil service at the same depth, each - if connected with or interested in a library whose hiring is government by civil service - needs to know enough so as to not make a mistake.  In NYS, there are a number of people who are well-versed in the law and who would be willing to talk about it.

Third, some states in the U.S. do not use civil service. Hiring in those states is done by people applying for open positions, then the library selecting the candidates they want to interview, etc. While this may make hiring easier, it offers fewer protections to the employees.

Fourth, civil service protects against nepotism and the hiring of friends. While we might rail against civil service, I think we should be supportive of a system that trying to make hiring more open and fair.

Finally, because civil service encourages promotion from within the organization, we need to provide the professional development and career opportunities to our staff, so they will meet the qualifications for the next level up the ladder.  Failing to do this is a problem and it harms the library and its staff.