Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category.

CIL2009 — Obstacle or Opportunity, It’s Your Choice

Pam MacKellar talks about obstacle or opportunity it's your choicePam MacKellar, Consultant and author of The Accidental Librarian

Presentation will be on slideshare later. Worked at state library of new mexico, went around dealing with many libraries who were small and underfunded. Undergrad training in fine arts, brings out creative/idea person,  tries new things, likes taking risks, sees possibilities, attracted to possibilities.

When she went to school, had to formulate searches in advance, expensive, used acoustic data coupler modem. 1991 presentation on “internet listservs.”

How can I make a difference? Spread word: Basics of libs/libnship, know lib/org mission, know community’s info needs, planning, design goals to meet needs, know where lib going, funding with grants, removing barrier thinking.

Common obstacles: lots and lots — we’re just a small lib, so can’t try new tech. Not enough $. Not enough staff. We’re disadv. and underprivileged. I’m not a tech expert, I don’t know enough about tech, tech can’t improve on what we have already, don’t have time to learn, needs assessment show we don’t have any tech needs, IT dept won’t let us, computers too old, network out of date, not right hardware/software, no new ideas in bad economy, director not interested, other purchases more important.

When we see obstacles, negative cloud, lose customers — it’s catching. = negative library marketing.

Negative marketing results — discouraged negative staff, negative signage, outdated online presence, broken tech, obstacle-driven org.

Negativity often comes from the top, difficult to change.

Negative signage — book collection closed!! no checking out.

Outdated sites: upcoming events from 1996 — still sitting up there for public to see.

Reality is ever-changing

Things change — benefactor could give millions of $. How we frame it is our choice. We can flip neg to pos.

Since you can create own reality, why not focus on opportunities rather than on barriers? Repeat the positive, opps to self. Not mean wishing makes it comes true, but mindset in that direction, when opportunity comes, you will be open instead of having reasons why not.

Success story

Aztec public library, NM — got grant for digital media arts program. Fulfills need, goal and purpose driven, funded mult. sources, mult. partners (for ex., state employment agency), new “library paradigm” model for community. Biggest challenge — small town thinking and breaking out of libraries don’t do that paradigm. Lack of support some town leaders, board members.

Lessons: stay committed, have a mission, think big, strive for goal, stay in your power, keep trying, be fearless, don’t listen to criticism, be fearless, don’t listen to criticism, just jump in, believe in yourself.

Second success story

Martha Liebert — mother in 60s started library with other mothers, got book donations, $500 from town, local lumber company gave materials for shelves, VFW painted them — took leadership, vision, mission, dedication, personal commitment.

So now what?

Evaluate outlook, identify problem, guiding principle, take action

1) Use test tools — learned optimism test, etc — links at Use to help identify problem — what negative thoughts about work sit go through mind regularly, what must you face to turn attitude around, what do you most want to adjust/redirect, what resources do you need?

2) Decide to change — outlook result of choices we make, not permanent, can choose to change but not change someone else — ppl only change if they want to.

3) Develop a guiding principle. Write a statement of purpose — personal goal or specific community need you want to focus on. Change is fun when you know what aiming for. Do something to support it every day, encourage others, believe in self. Change your vocab. Replace neg. w/ pos.

4) Set yourself up for success — use tech as tool, do something to make a difference in community, use free tools, take free webinars/tutorials/read, try something easy, not a lot of time and staff, have fun, be flexible, loosen up — doesn’t have to be perfect, spread word about successes. Look for new funding opps — American recovery and reinvestment act, and 2009 omnibus appropriations bill might = $ for libs. Library grants blog. Need to be ready w/ ideas to get $.

Question: Classroom 2.0 has online webinars — social network you can join w/100k educators.

Happy Chanukah, all!

Internet Librarian 2008, post two = Innovation

Helene Blowers Preaches It

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Here’s Helene Blowers, who’s much more dynamic in person than my photography might indicate, speaking on “Innovation – From Best Practices to Fresh Practices.” If you have a chance to see Helene speak anywhere, do so. If not, or to whet your appetite, here are some highlights:

What is innovation? Basically, innovation = DOING NEW THINGS. Innovation involves taking a fresh set of ingredients, then coming back to your workplace and doing something with it.

This in itself seems easy, but getting someone within your organization to allow you to do it, may not be so easy. If you’re a manager, changing your behavior to allow people to do new things may not be so easy either.

innovation isn’t about best practice, it’s about fresh practice. It’s not about duplicating others’ success, but about looking at that success and seeing how it fits in your own organization with your own twist.

Seth Godin says that nothing is original, we’re all working with same set of elements and pieces. It’s the combination that creates remarkable. Innovation is about being remarkable, not about changing the world.

Books on innovation, see Godin, Peters, have to do with how to change an organization’s culture to allow it to happen. Seeds of innovation — creativity, strategy, implementation, profitability.

Creativity = ideas

Regarding ideas, focus on quantity, not quality. This is hard because we are a profession that focuses on quality. Don’t worry about ideas being crazy, start thinking about how many can put out, not how good they are. Become a collector of ideas. Get outside your comfort zone; you can’t generate ideas from routine. Bounce your thoughts around; don’t just record, share, and the best ideas are those that gain momentum. When you bounce ideas around you can see the ones that are sticky — they bounce back to you.


Being a strategist = being a change agent.

1) Make it believable. MVV — Mission, Vision, and Values — admins love that stuff, because that’s what they do. TIE YOUR IDEA to MVV, communicate it that way. Not “it’s just cool, our customers will like it.”
2) Create alliances. If you’re going to be a change agent you can’t work in a silo, you need to make connections now. Being a change agent is about making really good relationships. Bounce ideas off those people, get them involved with your ideas.
3) Don’t ask for permission, ask for support. Permission = I have a great idea, I want to give it to you and have someone else do it. Support = I have a great idea and am going to put my own energy and resources and passion behind it. If you’re in a culture when boldness not appreciated or rewarded, ask for support, build the leadership opportunity to take an idea and run w/ it.
4) Sell your vision personally. Make an appointment to share your vision with the most strategic person in your organization, a person who could champion that idea for you.
5) Find a champion. On the front lines, if you want a leadership opportunity, find someone in the organization who shares the same kind of thinking. Find a champion who will support new leadership. Someone who’s overburdened will support someone else doing it, if you wiling to take leadership and do so.

Implementation and profitability

Implementation is about projects and project management. Symbol of a triangle, because project management talks about resources, time, and scope — constraints on every project.

Profitability is about the change that is going to occur. It’s about outcomes, how to make it meaningful for your organization.

Innovation is iterative — it doesn’t just happen one time, it happens constantly. This can be incredibly messy, which we don’t like because there’s not way to know outcomes when we start. Also embrace constant beta — be comfortable delivering something at 80%, so you can refocus on the rest through that iterative process. You’re never at the edge, always changes to come.

Innovation is about risk taking. You have to be comfortable with risk — you’re going to fail with some things.

Lots of libraries have lifelong learning in MVV — look at in terms of innovation, because innovation goes hand-in-hand with learning.

Seven steps to highly innovative people (except I missed step 7!)

1) Persistence. To move an organization forward, it takes a lot of erosion to create landslide of change. Don’t try something just once — we often have an idea, get shut down once, give up.
2) Remove self-limiting inhibitions. Biggest barriers to innovation come from ourselves, our own limitations, when we don’t put forward ideas, don’t build alliances. Start with yourself to become a change agent/innovator. Kids teach you this — to change their behavior, you need to change yours first.
3) Take risks, make mistakes. You learn something from every mistake.
4) Escape/explore new angles.
5) Collect ideas, write them down, find patterns, create connections.
6) Don’t focus on outputs when innovating, focus on inputs. Stay curious. Ask WHY.

Slides: — I don’t see them up yet; check back after the conference.

Internet Librarian 2008 post one of…?


Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

So I was going to try the whole liveblogging thing at Internet Librarian this morning, but I couldn’t get a connection (nor could anyone else, so I don’t feel slighted). So, first impressions: Apparently attendance is down from last year, but last year was record-breaking and you wouldn’t know to walk around. Could the economy be hurting conferences already? Although I’m assuming people made their plans for this before the complete craziness hit.

Went to the Howard Rheingold keynote this morning, and was somewhat disappointed — most of the content was rehashed from his old Smart Mobs book, and the speech seemed both dated and recycled. Although he did talk at the end about an interesting new initiative called The Social Media Classroom and Collaboratory, and invited librarians to participate as educators. Also, this is available as both a free download and as a hosted service, so it might be worth playing with.

Face your inner manga

It’s an avatar

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

I just built myself an avatar at What’s yours look like?

I can’t stop playing with Wordle!

Here’s the cloud for chapter 1 of What’s the Alternative. Guess it’s pretty clear what the book is about!

It’s Final!

Full-body contact reading

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

A few days ago, we received our adoption finalization documents from the court. It’s final!

Car, meet pole

Car hits electric pole in our yard

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

So, I go to Maine to do a presentation to LLNE. Unfortunately, I got stuck in New York overnight on the way back because my connecting flight through LaGuardia was cancelled (note: New York is NOT the cheapest city to get stuck in). Doubly unfortunately, I therefore missed seeing school-skipping teens tearing down our street and taking out the utility pole at the corner of our yard with their SUV. And then I missed the electric box on top of the pole bursting into flames. And I also apparently missed terrified teenagers scurrying in all directions and flinging suspicious substances into the woods by our house.

Luckily, my husband took photos.

O rilly

The 2nd day of "spring"

Originally uploaded by lib_rachel

Yesterday was the first day of spring. Accordingly, today it did THIS.

They Move! They Shake! They’re…

Library Journal’s 2008 Movers & Shakers! Use Jessamyn’s handy list if you want to see people’s names instead of just the cutesy titles. If you’re bored, try to guess which profiles I wrote… and which of those they edited to be even cutesier :) . But seriously, congratulations, guys! Good group this year.