Friday, November 24, 2017

Talent Development in Libraries

I recently came across this 2015 article entitled "Unlocking the Talent Development Puzzle" by Laurie Miller.  The article is based on data collected by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and Rothwell & Associates.  In the article, there is a list of 39 functions an organization might engage in which relate to talent (employee) development.
The 15 functions that the majority of professionals identified as core components of a talent development structure are change management, coaching, compliance, employee engagement, evaluating learning impact, executive development, instructional design, leadership development, learning technologies, managing learning programs, needs assessment, onboarding, performance improvement, performance management, and training delivery.
That list interests me because I doubt that most libraries think that they should be doing each of those activities in order to develop their employees.  I know of job applicants who have sought out library employers who would support their growth.  I doubt that those applicants had these activities firmly in mind, yet they knew they were looking for some sort of a commitment to professional development.

As you think about your organization, can you identify where those 15 core components exist?  And being just existing, are those core components being truly supported by the organization?  If you answered "no" to either question, then I hope you'll work in the coming year to improve the situation.

And if you need help, there are library consultants available to work with you!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

#NYLA2017 : Recruit, Retain, Repeat...Again

Barbara Stripling and Jill Hurst-Wahl

This was a continuation of the discussion begun last year at the conference on recruiting people - especially K-12 teachers - who would like to become school media specialists (a.k.a. school librarians).  In NYS, there continues to be a shortage of school media specialists.  Every school media students is able to get a full-time job as a school librarian before graduation!  The question is how can we (the LIS/school media graduate programs) attract more students who are interested in this career option?  The answers are complex.

After a lively discussion, we invited each person to decide what s/he would do over the next eight months (in other words, before fall 2018) to recruit someone into the profession.  We asked that when a person does what s/he promised to do, that the person post the "what" and the result (if appropriate) on the NYLA/SSL Facebook page.

By the way, the need to recruit more people to become school librarians exists in other U.S. states. 

#NYLA2017 : "Nevertheless, She Persisted," Women's Leadership Panel

Leadership panel photo by Rebecca Rodd
Leadership Panel
Panelists were:
  • Lauren Comito, Queens Library
  • Carol Anne Germain, University of Albany
  • Jill Hurst-Wahl, Syracuse University
  • Mary Fellows, Upper Hudson Library System
  • Sandra Echols, College of New Rochelle
This was a Q&A session on leadership with  discussion of leadership, the work environment, inequality in pay between men and women, and micro-aggressions.  The Twitter hashtag for the session was #NMNWomen. 

After the session, one person said that the session had been depressing.  Yes, going through a situation can be depressing.  Yes, recognizing that these problems still exist in 2017 is depressing.  However, we each need to feel empowered to:
  1. Work on our own situations and make them better.
  2. Work on changes that will improve the situation everyone. Start with your own institution and work from there.
I once met a librarian who had worked in the same library system for a several decades and admitted to not liking that work environment.  It saddened me that the person had not worked to change employers.  It also saddened me that the librarian didn't speak of efforts to change the environment.  This person had persisted in an environment that the person didn't like.  Don't do that! Take matters into your own hand. 

I'm sure there were questions from the audience which were not addressed.  I hope those people will contact the panelists and setup a time to get the needed answers.

#NYLA2017 : Listen Like a Librarian

Elena Falcone and Hannah Ralston

They begin with a two-minute listening exercise.

Your body language can have a big impact on how well you listen.  Recognize that there can be cultural and situational differences.  Keep in mind that your body language also changes you and your outlook.

Use cows as a model: they are curious, no judgment, focus, and are serene.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.  They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.  They’re filtering everything through they own paradigms, reading their autobiography in other people’s lives.” - Stephen Covey

What am I bringing into this situation which will change how I listen?

Your feelings affect you as the listener.  The feelings of the speaker will affect that person.

People don’t always want solutions, they want to be heard.

H - halt whatever you are doing and offer your full attention.
E - Enjoy your breath.
A - Ask yourself if you really know what they mean.  If needed, ask for clarification.
R - Reflect back to them what you heard. Use their words first, then, if needed, reframe to move toward a solution.

We all have equal opportunity to pause, marvel, and smile.

Additional resources
Additional Resources

Friday, November 10, 2017

#NYLA2017 : Big Question, Big Data, and HathiTrust

Mike Furlough

HathiTrust shows how libraries can collaborate.  Over 130 members - academic/research libraries. Member fees support 100% of operational expenses.  Fees begin at about $9500 in 2018.  They do not see themselves as a subscription service.

HathiTrust has a portfolio of work:
  • Collection development
  • Preservation
  • Use
  • Rights management
  • Collection management
  • Computational research 
15.8 million digitized items
  • 7.8 book titles
  • 430k serials
  • Over 1 Million federal government documents 
  • 5.96 million open for reading
Some materials are not fully viewable outside of the U.S. due to differences in  the public domain.

Access in a nutshell
Anyone anywhere can search
Anyone can read public domain works
Can engage in text mining

Members can replace lost or damaged works from the collection (Section 108 exemption).
For someone who is print disabled, member institutions can make any work available.   There is not direct access for students currently.        

Collection Action: Copyright Review
Systematic manual review of copyright registrations to determine status of portions of the HathiTrust a collection, supported by IMLS.  Trying to work 10-15 minutes per item.  Have reviewed 700K items over 8 years. Over time, 100+ people at 30 Institutions have down this work.

Shared Print Monograph Program
Just launching this year.  Phase 1.
49 retention libraries proposed over 16 million commitments.

U.S. Federal Documents Program 
The goal was to digitized as many as possible.
Are creating a federal documents registry of documents since 1776.
They are beginning to do gap analysis and target collections for digitization.
They have set priorities.

“Non-consumptive” Research: The HathiTrust Research Center
Non-consumptive is text mining or data mining.
Indiana University and University of Illinois are cohosting this center.
Analytics portal
Dataset distribution 

HathiTrust has gone through six stages beginning in 2002. They worked on infrastructure first.  
What is different now?
Membership diversification
Organizational maturity
Mass digitization is assumed and non-controversial 
Legal challenges have ended, but questions remain 

Don’t mess up what you do well.
Keep building the collections and do it faster.
No strong impetus to expand collecting focus. 
Quality is important.

#NYLA2017 : The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Library Director

Cassie Guthrie 

Guthrie discussed these five rights of the library director:
  1. A Fare Wage - Finding and retaining the right library director means attracting the right candidates, which means providing a fare wage.
  2. Feedback - You need to give regular positive and negative feedback.  You should give an annual evaluation.  However don’t wait for the annual review to give feedback.
  3. A Unified and Loyal Board - Board members need to respect the collective decisions of the board.  When a library director makes a mistake, the board needs to remain loyal.
  4. Freedom from Meddling - Two most difficult: special treatment requests and overstepping bounds (micromanaging).  For example, the board should not manage library staff.
  5. A Free Hand in Personnel Management - Trustees supervise only one person: the director.  Trustees need to be careful in talking to staff about the library director.  Trustees should not undermine the director’s ability to manage the staff. Recognize that when you (board member) walks into the library, you are not an average patron.  Be careful with how and when you give feedback or input.
The Library Trustee’s Declaration of Expectations:
  • A Hard Day’s Work - In return for a fare wage, the trustees expect the director to do the work.
  • Effective Personnel Management - Trustees should support professional development requests to receive more training in Personnel Management.
  • Options, Not Ultimatums - Give the board all of the available options they need in order to make strategic decisions.
  • Loyalty - The Director needs to be loyal to the decisions of the trustees.
An idea is to have library board training as a part of the monthly board meeting.
If necessary, bring in a third party to help with specific situations.

The Pyramid of Public Library Transformation
  • Traits of trustees who transform 
    • Curiosity
    • Courage
    • Aspirational
    • Politically aware 
  • Good and honest communications
  • Trustees and director understand their roles
The board governs, the director manages.

The Regents see the role of the trustee to be care, loyalty and obedience.

The director is the chief executive officer of the library.
Trustees are the chief governing body.
Trustees do not do operational work.
The trustees plan for the library’s future, development policies.

Recorded webinar “The critical partnership” - Jerry Nichols (handout)

The library Board President is the liaison between the board and the director.  The library board meeting is key for communications. 

The library director should update the board at the board meeting.  Send in advance, so the board can read it and be ready to ask questions.

If the board does not like how the director is doing his/her job, that conversation  needs to happen in a board meeting.

Hold board meetings when the community can attend.
Adhere to the open meetings law.
Be open and honest with the community.
Be fair and consistent with your policies.
The board should understand the library’s policies.  The policies need to be good. The policies need to be followed.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

#NYLA2017 : New Web Literacy Skills for Learners

Matthew Kopel and Davis Erin Anderson

This was a VERY interactive session.  Matt and Davis taught us about teaching others about web literacy through games and other exercises.  There was no lecture, just lots of fun.  

The work they have been doing has been funded by IMLS and led by Mozilla Foundation.  The project launched in January 2016 and has 8 pilot sites.

They noted that there are many learning activities at

Also see copies of their one handout.

#NYLA2017 : Legal Issues in Financing and Building Libraries

Robert Schofield, Esq. and Ellen Bach, Esq.

Schofield and Bach walked through different scenarios and fielded questions from the audience.  This is a session where the information and the answers are specific to specific library types in NYS.  In order to understand these issues, a library needs to understand how it is chartered and then the NYS laws that relate to that charter.  Recognize that if the library is a public entity, what drives the project will be different from a library that is a private entity.

Besides the law, consider talking with an attorney versed in library law and/or a public finance adviser. 

If the library is part of a larger entity (municipality), that entity may be able to provide funding.

They noted that libraries can often set money aside and designate it for a specific purpose.  Both said that the money must be set aside for a declared reason. If it is just “extra money”, the  state may ask why there is extra money.  If the funds are from collected taxes, taxpayers could argue that the taxes should be lowered.

Is your need a true emergency situation?  If yes, some avenues may be own to you.

Very interesting that public entities must pay prevailing wages.  That is not just for construction.  Prevailing wage laws may touch other aspects of the library (e.g., building services). 

Zoning laws are rules adopted locally.  Zoning laws touch every type of library.  True government libraries may be able to claim zoning immunity.  They also talked about zoning deference.

#NYLA2017 : An Adventure in Inspiration: Advocacy with Soul

Dr. Camila A. Alire

She started with a story about front line, on the spot, at a moment advocacy. This is not advocacy with elected officials, but with the people we come in contact with every day.

Do you understand who is in your entire community?  If a percentage of your community isn’t using the library, that likely means you do not understand your community and their needs.

Everyday advocacy is showing people how the library can help them.  It is also showing how people can easily advocate for the library with their larger community.

35% of NYS population is non-white. Of that 44% is African American, 23%Asian, 24% other races,  etc.  That 35% does not include Hispanic/Latinx. 

If you include Latinx in the breakdown, 44% of the NYS population is Hispanic/Latinx. 

NYS college students: 53% white, 47% minority students.

NYS public schools: 45%white, 55% minority students.

If the non-white members of your community are not coming to the library, can you bring the library to them? Can you make the library staff reflect the demographics of the community by making it preferred that new hires represent your minority communities?

Everyday advocacy is telling people what you support and why.  It helping people understand and learn about those things you are supporting.

Understanding these percentages is important because we believe in equity of service.  We need to work with all of our communities, not just a certain segment.

The five common excuses people frequently make about engaging in advocacy:
  • I’m too shy. It could be that people aren’t shy, but that doing this work isn’t comfortable.  Begin with someone you’re comfortable with.
  • I don’t know what to say.  Start by talking about your passion.
  • I don’t have any interaction with the library’s non-users, including those from non-white backgrounds.  Fine...advocacy to those who you have exposure to, which might be teachers, principals, library leadership, etc.  The more you talk to people, they more you are able to inform and persuade them.
  • There are people who already do this.  Not really. They are doing it at a different level and with different people.
  • I can’t make a difference. Yes, one on one you can.  Yes, your one action will help.

  • The growth rate of the white and non-white groups was missing.  Could she share it? While she knows the growth rate is high, she did not have that data for NYS.  The growth rate has tremendous implications for the next 10+ years.
  • Why does our reflection not reflect our communities?  Are there states which are solving this problem?  Some LIS programs are engaged in specific recruitment efforts.  She advocates for outreach to find prospective LIS students.  
  • Someone made a comment about translating library card applications into non-English languages.
  • One person commented that another under served population is our veteran population.  Alire said that what she said today can be applied to any under served population.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Moving to "Platform" Thinking

ChangeSharon Yang, in her 2013 article "From integrated library systems to library management services: Time for change?" wrote:
According to OCLC, an estimated 50 percent or more of a library's collections are electronic resources, and 65 percent or more of the materials budget of libraries are spent on e‐content today (Burke, 2012). Based on this rate, by 2020, an estimated 80 percent of the materials budget will be spent on e‐books and e‐journals (OCLC, 2010). In spite of these trends and changes, libraries are still using outdated systems to manage modern collections.
Two things stand out to me from this quote.  First, the increased amount of money which is and will be spent on digital resources. Yes, we know this and it is impacting every library budget.  Second, the phrase "libraries are still using outdated systems to manage modern collections." I'm sure library vendors do not believe this is true, but I wonder if they - and us - are thinking big enough about the problem.

As emphasized in the IMLS event on the National Digital Platform (relevant blog posts), libraries, museums and archives need to create better platforms for the work they are doing.  In my mind, these are platforms which would allow for better discovery and sharing of material.  These are platforms that would adhere to specific standards, so the sharing of data, as well as material, can be done easily.  These platforms would be built to support the processes our cultural institutions have in place, rather than our institutions needing to radically modify their processes in order to use the software.

I like that vision and there are people already working on it, and systems already being built. What we need, though, are people - who are emerging from their undergraduate/graduate programs - who are willing to carry this work forward.  We need people who will support this work over the course of their careers.  That may mean helping to build and maintain, or it might mean being willing to break with the status quo and use these new systems, OR it might mean working with/for our software vendors to bring them on board.  This means breaking with the way things were done before, even "before" means literally yesterday.

Are you on board?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The Web of Web Definitions

Chatting with a colleague yesterday brought up these terms and reminded me that talking about the invisible web - what's in it, who is using it, how to get at it, etc. - is not necessarily entrenched in LIS education.  We teach students how to search online databases and the surface web, and likely don't mention that most of what is available is hidden, either because it has been purposefully hidden or because it just isn't connected to the Internet.  Consider if 3% of the Internet is findable, that is like being surrounded by 100 people, but only being able to see three of them. Scary, yes?

And so as a reminder - and perhaps to peek your interest - here are some definitions.

Clear web, surface web, or clearnet:
...the region of the Internet that most of us are familiar with, this is publicly accessible web pages that are largely indexed on search engines. - MarTech
Typical search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing actually access only a tiny fraction — estimated at 0.03% — of the internet. The sites that traditional searches yield are part of what’s known as the Surface Web, which is comprised of indexed pages that a search engine’s web crawlers are programmed to retrieve. - OEDB
Invisible web (includes the deep web and the dark web):
Quite simply, it is made up of information that search engines either cannot or will not add to their web indexes.  - The Guardian
Deep web:
The 'Deep Web' refers to all web pages that search engines cannot find. - IDG
Dark web or dark net:
The Dark Web is a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that exist on an encrypted network and cannot be found by using traditional search engines or visited by using traditional browsers. - IDG
The dark net generally means using the internet in a manner that is difficult for authorities or non-state actors to monitor. This is usually achieved through encryption or by layering networks. - Australian Broadcasting Network