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Posts Tagged ‘Professionalism’

10 ways to make yourself indispensable at your workplace, Stephen Abram

Posted by Editor on January 31, 2012

From:  Information Outlook Column (Jan/Feb. issue), Due Dec. 28, 2011

By Stephen Abram

It doesn’t work 100% of the time but you’ve probably noticed that there are some people that seem to survive every organizational restructuring.  In this latest economic downturn we’re seeing layoffs and downsizing on a scale in all sectors that most of us have never seen.  As for me, I’ve been through too many to count – survived some and didn’t make it out the other side on others.  By some counts there have been over 14 downturns in my professional career since 1978.  These swings in the economy have burnished me and, ironically, made me less dependent on employers for my self-worth or finances.  The private sector reacts to protect the whole enterprise during the business cycle and, although we shouldn’t take downsizing personally, it’s hard not to!  The public sector is arguably experiencing a major downturn with extensive layoffs for the first time in memory for many.  I was inspired recently by an article that was shared with me (from Black Enterprise: “10 ways to make yourself indispensable at work”), so I’ve adapted its 10 points for library land, but the original can be read without translation too.

Is the grapevine working overtime in your business, industry, community library, school board or institution?  What do the water cooler conversations resemble in your sector – excitement about the future or doom and gloom?  Are you seeing terrible budget debates, revenue shortfalls, business disappointments, investment or trust fund losses, or shortfalls in taxation support?  What can you do to reduce your chances of layoff?  Barring situations of collective bargaining where the rules can be prescribed, there are things you can do and should do precisely when you don’t need it right away.

Make a plan.  Assess your strengths.  Define your value, and, most importantly tend to your personal and professional network.

What tactics can you accomplish that will reduce your personal chances of layoff or prepare you better to shorten your period of unemployment?  Remember that this isn’t about protecting the ‘library’ but of communicating your value as a “librarian.”   There is a big difference!  Here are ten:

1. Take ownership of all your responsibilities by seeing your role in the context of the entire enterprise and community.  What would you increase as an activity and what would you decrease?  Employees that think strategically are more valuable than one-trick ponies.

2. Take personal responsibility for your professional development and career preparedness.  In difficult economic times no one else will quickly step up to protect you or guide your career. In times of transition, individuals must be proactive and not look to an employer to prepare them for their next job.  Indeed training and development budgets are usually one of the first to be reduced or eliminated. You might have to invest your own dollars and time in yourself for e-learning courses, training, association memberships and conferences but, still, fight to get your promised education reimbursements.  The enterprise is not your mother and bears no responsibility to your progress.   What key specific competency would make your more valuable to your current and prospective employers?   Develop it.

3. Maintain a visibly positive attitude while protecting your job.  It’s far easier for decision-makers to cut a Negative Nellie.  You aren’t the only one who’s stressed by the economy.  If you see others handling it better, model their behaviours.  No one wants to be constantly reminded of the fact that everyone is now doing 2 or 3 jobs and extended effort. . When things seem to pile up and you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath and think that this is better for your personal physical and mental health.  It’ll also allow you to keep wok relationships friendly and positive. Be the colleague people want to have lunch or a coffee with rather than avoid.

4. Become a Renaissance person.  Yes, this means taking on extra tasks or spending personal time on events that can be great for the office culture – parties, birthdays, charity events, etc.  Learn to do new things as other people leave.  You gain new skills and you clearly increase your long-term value.  You also gain a story about how you learn and adapt for interviews. Read the rest of this entry »


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from the Wikiman: Stop BREAKING THE BASIC RULES of presenting!

Posted by Editor on April 11, 2011

Public speaking and giving presentations is becoming more and more important in many career paths. There are nervous public speakers, confident public speakers, and many people who are making the journey from one to the other. But ALL of them could do with avoiding breaking just the most basic rules of presenting – it’s amazing how often one or more of these will crop up at a conference, training day or event.

I hope this is taken in the spirit it is intended.

Stop Breaking The Basic Rules of Presenting
(click through for transcript via Slideshare)

Posted in Good reads, Thinking Long Term | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Bringing Everything We Have, from Roy Tennant

Posted by Editor on March 30, 2011

Roy Tennant

March 30th, 201, in LJ

March Madness is upon us. Part of what I think about when I think about sports is who is hungrier. Who wants and needs to win the most? That matters. Perhaps that is why none of the top-seeded teams made it into the top 4. Sometimes a team can lull itself into thinking it deserves to win, since it has a good track record or whatever. But even if you deserve to win it’s no guarantee you will. You either earn it, or you don’t.

Frankly, I’d rather bet on the underdog, as they have nothing left to lose. And I have to tell you, you don’t ever want to be up against anyone who has nothing left to lose. You simply don’t.

So what does this mean for libraries? I’d say these days we need to meet our challenges with everything we have, as if we have nothing left to lose.  What does this mean in real terms? It means thinking imaginatively about how to meet the needs of your community in perhaps new and even surprising ways.  It means not doing some things we’re doing now which really don’t matter that much to end users (gore that sacred cow!). It means getting rid of the staff who are just hanging on and hiring excited, engaged, and energetic professionals (and don’t get me wrong, this is not an age thing, and yes, I know how difficult and time-consuming this process can be for most institutions).

You can make your own list. But the key is to meet our challenges and seize our opportunities as if our very professional lives depended on it. Because increasingly, they do.

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Announcing: MCLC Tech Talk – Sept 23, 10:30-Noon

Posted by Editor on September 10, 2010

Please plan to attend the MCLC Tech Talk committee’s program Six Web Things You Can’t Live Without! on Thursday September 23, 2010 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Burton Barr Central Library.

We will examine free tools that make your online life easier and more connected.  We’ll also discuss their relevance to libraries.  Join us to learn more about Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs, Dropbox, Evernote and Four Square.

Also, the MCLC Tech Talk committee will host (almost) bi-monthly events through July 2011.  Make plans to attend the following activities:

  • September 23, 2010- Six Web Things You Can’t Live Without!
  • December 16, 2010- There’s an App for That, Mobile Gadget Show & Tell
  • January 27, 2011- Consumer Expectations for 2011 Technology (tentative)
  • March 24, 2011- Phoenix Digital Studios
  • May 26, 2011- The Book is Dead, eReaders and Media Players Gadget Show & Tell
  • July 28, 2011- Annual Business and Planning Meeting

Learn more about MCLC Tech Talk via Facebook and our blog.

Thank you, and hope to see you soon!

We connect today’s community to a world of possibilities.

Melodie D. Moore, Library Assistant
Community Relations, Web Content
Phoenix Public Library
ph: 602-534-5554

We connect today’s community to a world of possibilities.

Melodie D. Moore, Library Assistant
Community Relations, Web Content
Phoenix Public Library
ph: 602-534-5554

Posted in Educational opportunities | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

From the AL: The Professional in “Information Professional”

Posted by Editor on September 9, 2010

September 9th, 2010,

Since we’re discussing academic and public libraries this week, let’s compare them in another way. (As for you “special” librarians, I’ll ignore you like the rest of the profession does!)

It’s been the contention of many that public libraries are there to give people what they want, provided of course they want multiple copies of bestselling novels, scratched DVDs, and waiting in line to use slow computers with dated software.

Is there anything that librarians in public libraries can tell people they need? Or better, is there anything they can tell people they shouldn’t want, and thus won’t be supplied?

In academic libraries, that’s what librarians do all the time. Academic librarians buy certain kinds of books and journals because they’re better than other ones, and then they try to teach students to evaluate the information they find so that they can also pick better information. Read the rest of this entry »

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Be All You Can Be, to Everyone, All the Time — from the Annoyed Librarian in LJ

Posted by Editor on September 1, 2010

September 1st, 2010

I don’t normally read the other AL, American Libraries. It’s like the Pravda of librarianship, the house propaganda organ to feed us feel good stories, or  stories like this one about recruiting new librarians through undergraduate internships, which tells us in all seriousness that, “As the library profession ‘grays,’ many academic libraries anticipate staff shortages as older employees retire within the next 10 years.” So why don’t you go to library school now, boys and girls, because there will be a librarian shortage soon!

Reading the other AL can give one insight into the schizophrenic nature of the profession, though. For example, there’s a recent interview with Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who of course is most famous for serving “ as one of several celebrity honorary co-chairs of the American Library Association’s Spectrum Presidential Initiative.”

On the same page was a post from a blog called Green Your Library, which I assume is a regular blog at the other AL. The catchy title of the post is, “Out-of-Box Collection-Defining Libraries a Thing of the Future?”  Both pithy and informative!

The Ogletree interview is moving, as these things go. He’s certainly a fan of libraries:

Libraries have been the savior of my life. From the time I was a little kid, reading books at my local county library, I’ve always appreciated the fact that in order to lead, you need to know how to read; if you are able to read, it can then enhance your chances in life. Although a lot of things can rescue young people from the challenges of society in the 21st century, there is nothing that makes you stronger than to have an agile mind, good judgment, and a rich resource of experiences through reading. The library is a sanctuary for those who want to make a big impact on our society.

That’s a ringing endorsement both of libraries and the thing they used to be most associated with in the eyes of librarians: reading. Saving people’s lives. Building agile minds with good judgment. Providing those who can’t otherwise afford it the educational opportunities that reading can give. Serious stuff!

The “green library” blog post, on the other hand, is very different. Ignore for the moment that the post has nothing to do with greening your library. The topic is how to declutter your house by cluttering up libraries with junk people don’t use very often.  There are libraries around the country that lend pots, tools, gardening implements, and other non-traditional items. The idea is far from new, and I’m pretty sure somewhere in the AL archives I’ve also recommended the same thing as part of Library Spa 2.0.  Anything anyone needs should be available at the library: manicures, crockpots, firearms, etc.

The businessy librarians like to talk about branding. We could talk about branding, or we could use the more traditional purpose. The question would be, what is the purpose of the library? You can phrase it in whatever management babble you want, but the point is the same.

Ogletree thinks he knows what libraries are about. They’re about reading, and reading is good. A lot of librarians don’t agree. Libraries aren’t about reading. They’re about community or fun or giving everybody what they want and being all things to all people.

The problem with trying to be all things to all people is that libraries inevitably fail. They can’t possibly be all things to all people, so they make irrational and random choices about what they will offer.

They offer books, music, and movies, but why not pots for cooking? Or tools for the occasional handyperson? Why not cars? Libraries could work on the Zipcar model? If cars are too expensive, how about bicycles? More bikes wouldn’t green anyone’s library, but they might help green the rest of the world. Libraries have toilets, but why not showers and washing machines? People would be less likely to complain about the homeless if they could wash themselves and their clothes at the library.

And for that matter, why not clothes? Something for the poor guy or gal who can’t afford a decent dress or rent a tuxedo for the prom? A lot of bowlers would probably prefer to check out free shoes from the library than pay bowling alleys for them. Why not circulate bowling shoes? Or martini shakers? Or silver candelabras? Or small appliances? I’m sure there are people who need a food processor or stand mixer only intermittently. Why not circulate those? A lot of people would be just as entertained by them as by videogames….read entire column here.

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