Time to go FISHing

Monday, October 19, 11:15 – 12:30

During this time of cutbacks and economic hardship it is especially important to keep our customers happy. First see the FISH! Philosophy video, based on Seattle’s famous Pike Place Fish Market customer services methods.

Quotes from Video: “energy, passion, fun, play, choose your attitude, make it fun, we all like to have fun, you have to have fun at work, really dealing in service, realized that serving people is making people happy, be with the people moment to moment, don’t ignore ’em, be present moment to moment, be here now, do what you have to do, you have a choice at work – do what you can to have a good time or don’t, be happy, man, it’s not acceptable to be in a downer mood when you work with the public., choose your attitude, that’s fish”

Then Mark Willis, Community Relations manager for the Dayton (OH) Metro Library and author of “Dealing with Difficult People in the Library” describes simple ways to make improving service fun.

It’s not about the fish, it’s about the people. “I never want to hire someone who says they want to work in a library because they love books – it’s about the people.”
First impressions are important. Be careful of signage, especially negative.
Don’t use the word NO in a sign.
If the library is shabby and/or dirty/cluttered, patrons will do more damage – building not valued.

It’s all about you meeting/greeting the people.
Secret shopper strategy to check on quality of customer service: check w/o library card, get a library card, ask questions, ask to volunteer, etc, etc. Comments of secret shopper are always about attitude.

Be present
Be pleasant
Give the patron your full attention.

Never say, “It’s not my job.” Instead say I’ll find someone who can help you with that.”
Be a team.
Go the extra mile. People expect it. They expect a LOT.
Look at the book stores – they are the success stories in terms of value-added customer service.
Sometimes it’s just the co-workers having a great time at the circ desk. MAKE SURE that the patrons are in on the fun.
Be yourself, and offer personal info if it’s friendly conversation to put the patron at ease.
Art & craft by the librarians exhibition
Staff suggestions
Try to find ways you can bend rules, be flexible toward promoting goodwill, forgive small fines or damaged/lost books. Make exceptions.

Try not to say NO.
For-profit being booked by non-profit to use library facilities. Put menus in staff room instead of on public bulletin board, let people check out reference sometimes.

Take care of each other on the staff – help each other in little ways, be supportive, empathic.
Take care of yourself – be rested, fed, healthy, mentally healthy.

Ideas from the librarians in the audience:

Check voicemail message – make it happy. “The joy of life in your voice”

Recognize people: Thank you notes and/or acknowledgment to donors, to program leaders, to volunteer storytellers, to staff.
Put recognition cards out for patrons to fill out. Put a star on a sheet with each workstation listed.
“Patron of the month” program
“This is the BAD library, Daddy” story – shapeshift a difficult situation with a hostile patron by laughing it off.
Back office to circ desk mindset shift = going on stage, get in character, putting your face on
Look everywhere for good examples of customer service. Open your eyes to what works with you on the receiving end as a customer.
Throw parties. Use any excuse.
Weekly coffee time in the library
Look for the “Giving the pickle” video
Have the staff clap for the little kids getting their first library cards.

Planning for Better Times

Monday, October 19,  8:30 – 10:00

Mary Rose Quinn, director of Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, MA and Ron Van Winkle, Town Manager for West Hartford, CT discuss the hard decisions that have to be made in times of economic strife and share ideas on how we can look down the road and plan for better times.

Mary Rose Quinn:
Three downturns in last 10 years: 1999, 2004, now. When you are in good times you are planning for the bad, and when in bad, you are hoping for better. Planning is key. What are your library’s priorities – what are those things that you can’t live without?

Be mindful of ebb and flow of budgets. If you add new technology, can you sustain it in the next economic downturn?

Town manager insists that items in the library budget are rearranged in terms of priority.
1. People
2. Collections
3. Technology
4. Physical plant.

Think strategically and prepare for the siege. Library directors should read “The Art of War” and/or learn to play chess.
Plan for the best while anticipating for the worst.
Have a Plan B – not to be shared with town officials. Have your contingencies in place. ” But  If” -What can you afford to live without while maintaining your services.
What is sustainable and what is not.
Gather your allies.
Marshall your forces and build strong community partnerships. (Rec dept & Senior Center)
Make a friend of your town manager. Make sure thay understand your services and will advocate for you.
“Hang together or hang separately”
In a downturn, libraries are vulnerable and need to build a moat – take stock – what’s important and communicate what your priorities are.
Preserve what you value and make tough choices.
Reduce book budget to save jobs – you can fund raise for books, but not salaries.
Elevator message (Gates Advocacy) – simple message for the parking lot.

Boston Public Library was cut last year by 4-5 mil. had a Ref Ctr for businesses, but closed that branch and moved it into the Copley Square branch which led to increased hours, more accessible, increased attendance, higher level of effectiveness.

Librarians and tragic flaws:
“But we’ve always done things this way”
We try to do too much with too little.
We believe that if we work for others, they will come to our aid – vs every man for himself.

In budget meetings with town officials:
Do not offer any info you are not asked.
Do not throw any one else’s budget under the bus.
Present “we are one big happy family” working toward a common goal.

In a long range plan, focus on the ideal – if you get it you have to be able to sustain it.
In tough times, retrench rather than retreat. Reinvent and plot your next move for when economics improve, recapture your lost ground.
Technology is a prime mover.
Attend: 12:30 “What if”
State of the States.
8:30 Tues Difficult financial times
12 steps
When time are tough ithelps to laugh.

Ron Van Winkle:

Libraries are key for community.
Town managers have a tough role in a downturn.
what is the difference between a town manager and a dog – if you let the dog in, he’ll stop whining.
We have lost 8 mil jobs in the last year (2 mil in 2002) Unemployment at 10% and rising.
Harshest and longest since the great depression.
W/o the stimulus package, the economy could have had and unemployment rate well into the teens.
NE is better off than the nation (NE lost 300k = 4%) in this current recession
1989-92 = biggest recession in NE, lost 600k and 10%

Recession is over – car accident scenario – in recovery – will be OK
In the meantime, conditions are harshUnemployment will continue to rise.
Borrowing fell, industrial manufacture declined, household debt fell, worst housing market, 23 trillion dollars of wealth evaporated.
Wealth to income is lowest since 1951.
We will probably need a second stimulus by extending unemployment benefits, mortgage supports, first time homebuyers credits, tax reductions, aid to state gov, new health plan, new energy policy, Bush tax cuts expire.

Local level:
Property taxes. No new building, decline in tax revenues, health care climbing. NH third highest property taxes, CT is #1, MA in top 10
Foreclosures are occurring in every town. No one wants higher property taxes
Connect and communicate to your town what library issues are:
increased need for library services in a downturn, libraries increasingly provide social services.
Make sure your community understands and values the library’s services.

Every community values the library. Be a marketer and entertainer and a financial officer – Know your budget well.
People looking to relocate to your town by buying or building houses, want to move to a town with a great library.
provides big incentive for town managers to supprt the library.

More than just a library, you are a person, you are part of the solution to the recession, identifies the town – library as the heart of the community.

What can your Friends group do for you if they arn’t providing funds for the book budget.
Beg and plead not to have a disproportionate cut to the budget come out of libraries and senior centers.

Advocacy efforts through town newspapers – local platforms.
Yahoo group
Weekly library newsletter
Quarterly print newsletter from the library
Twitter and Facebook
Word-of-mouth Tell people who come to programs to spread the word.

Making unpopular decisions in difficult “Financial Times”

Panelists:  Jen Hinderer-Library Director, Tewksbury Public Library, MA;  Ann Davis-Library Director, Stafford Library, CT; Denise van Zanten-Library Direcotr, Manchester City Library, NH


Tewksbury Public Library, MA   Ann Davis Library Director:

Front desk staff should have a few lines to express when asked about budget cuts.


Stafford Library, CT    Ann Davis-Library Director  

Selectboard recently made cuts including line items such as telephone.  Staff would have been cut more if they were not members of the union. Director suggest closing a few hours a week-but even with staff cuts, the library was not allowed to do that. Staff is becoming strained and the public has no idea. Davis did write a piece in the quarterly newsletter and she was reprimanded by town management for doing so.

Davis alleviates stress with exercise. She realizes there is not much she can do at the moment. Much of it is political. What you can do is advocate for more patrons and friends.

Manchester City Library, NH  Denise van Zanten-Library Director

City budget pays for essentials only. Trust funds pay for furniture, travel, ect.  With past budget cuts–staffing had to seriously be looked at.  Who has less impact on the patrons and where can the library save some $$. Each division head has to name someone to cut yearly if need be.  When this type of decision is made, it can very difficult to deliver this type of news to staff.

Actively advocate for your library.They try to attend as many community activities as possible. Prepare staff with information on the issues.  Budgets are stressful. As soon as figures come out-discussions do begin. She keeps chocolate and tissues available at all times. Stay in perspective.

Open to questions/comments:

Why are cuts so invisible? Making it so adds stress to staff. More the administrators make it invisible–the more cuts you will have to endure.

If you can cultivate a relationship with the local reporters–they can be of value to the library cause–they like a challenge.

It is important the manner in which you present the issues to the public. State the facts with backup material.

Drop-In Resume Review

Monday 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Bertha Chandler, Assistant Director for Human Resources at Cambridge (MA) Public Library, Patricia Banach, Director of the Eastern CT State University library, Pat Hollaway, Director of West Hartford (CT) Public Library, and Christine Donohue, founder of The Donohue Group, review your resume and make suggestions for improvements. Take advantage of this helpful session to update your resume, even if you are not currently job hunting.

Even though this was a highly personalized session based on the resumes participants brought in, I’ll post some helpful tips from the handouts given.

Personalized Resume Review from Ms. Donohue:
(Note: I am a career changer seeking a pre-professional position and my resume reflects that. Your mileage may vary.)
– Add MLIS studies, if you are working towards one.
– Don’t hesitate to add volunteer experience, especially if you are working in a library.
– Avoid overloading your resume skillset with jargon from your previous career, especially if you are apply for an entry-level/pre-professional position. Better idea: Read the job description and then “parrot” the skills required by the job onto your resume.
– Mention the career change in your cover letter.

Tips for Resumes and Cover Letters (Ms. Banach)
1) Correctly spell the name of the person to whom you are addressing your letter.
2) Tailor your cover letter to the specific job to which you’re applying. Mention the specific job title.
3) Specify how you can fulfill each of the job requirements in your cover letter.
4) If you have non-library experience, include it anyway if it shows a high level of responsibility, or management experience.
5) Apply via email and attach your resume and cover letter.
6) Follow up with a printed, signed letter and resume on good quality paper.
7) Make sure your resume looks professional.
8) Arrange your resume in chronological order.
9) If there are gaps in your resume, explain them in your cover letter.
10) The cover letter can be more than one page if there are numerous job requirements or if it’s for a senior position.
11) Do not call and follow up multiple times unless you fail to get an acknowledgement that your application was received.
12) If you’re lucky enough to get a phone or personal interview, always send a thank you note to each interviewer, preferably by mail immediately after the interview. Reiterate your interest and emphasize how much you want to work for that specific employer. Fit is important.

Cover Letters/Resumes/Interviews/Follow-up (Ms. Chandler)
– No typos
– Network for background (talk with people who know the library/organization, if possible)

In your cover letter:
– What do you know about the community and why is it a good match for you?
– What ‘added value’ you can offer
– One page
– Include references (or bring a separate page to the interview)

In your resume:
– At the beginning, list your exxperience which relates to the job for which you’re applying
– Make it simple for a reader to follow your employment history and education — explain gaps
– Make your contact information easily readable

At your interview:
– How you dress matters
– Firm handshake, sit up straight, look people in the eye, smile
– Be concise but pithy (precisely meaningful) in your answers
– Read the body language of the interviewers
– Practice ahead of time — read books, read the Internet, etc.
– Bring some written questions

– Email is ok
– Handwritten note is even better (send it after 1-2 days)

Tips from Ms. Donohue

Resume guideline document: http://www.crummer.rollins.edu/career_management/skills/resume.PDF

some not-so-obvious guidelines:

a) Remember that the resume is primarily a key to getting the attention of the employer..use it as a tickler that will set the stage for more in-depth discussions if you get an interview.
b) Learn as much as you can about the company/institution to which you are applying before submitting your resume. Incorporate this knowledge in your cover letter.
c) Look at the resume from the point of view of the prospective employer. Is there anything that would spark your interest if you were doing the hiring? Is there anything that would seem irrelevant or inappropriate?
d) Ask a colleague to review your resume and give you comments/criticisms.
e) Be neat, not cute. Negative attention is worse than no attention at all.

Additional resources:
Interviewing Styles: Tips for Interview Approaches by Nita Wilmot
Sample Interview Questions
More Sample Interview Questions (courtesy of the Boston Sunday Globe)

Looking Good on a Budget: Principles of Design for the Artistically Challenged

Monday 4:00-5:00 p.m.

With the advent of powerful, freely available graphics and desktop publishing programs, librarians can now create attractive and readable publications. Whether on a web page or in a mailing, the way your message is presented is often as important as the message itself. Darrell Eifert, from Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, NH, focuses on basic design elements, including typography, layout and placement. Learn how to license images from the new low-cost “micro stock” agencies and the basics of Open Office Draw, GIMP and Scribus. Free CDs are available for those without high speed Internet access.

– Use Flickr images (look for Creative Commons Attribute, which allows you to freely use images provided you give proper credit — 8,000,000 images available) http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
– Flickr is FREE – no need for professional photographers or to purchase stock images
– Sometimes purchasing images is necessary, i.e. when you have a specific idea that requires a narrowly focused, professional photograph or you need a human being in the picture (go to istockphoto — they have model releases on file)
– Can purchase images from istockphoto for $5
– Can “try before you buy” — download low-resolution, watermarked images

– Keep it simple
– No more than 2 fonts per layout
– Use serif fonts for body text
– Break large sections of text into multiple columns
– Balance columns across page so text lines up.
– More white space to enhance legibility

– Adobe Creative Suite retails for $1500
– Microsoft products retail for $500
– go to http://www.techsoup.com for savings (get MS Office for $16/workstation, minimum purchase of 5 licenses)
– or get Adobe CS3 Premium Suite for $160/yr (1 license max, there’s a waiting list)
– Most important purchase: a printer
– specs: wide carriage inkjet, capable of printing 13″x19″ borderless images on both matte and glossy paper, retails for $200-400
– his recommendation: HP OfficeJet 7000 Wideformat printer (available for $150 at staples.com)

Design Rules:
– Good design is based more on observation and analysis than it is on some vague notion of “creativity”
– Rule #1: Before anything goes on the page, decide what is most important. What single idea (or perception) do you want to communicate?
– Rule #2: Make what is most important the visual and verbal center of your project
– Rule #3: Arrange the elements in a visually pleasing layout that reinforces the central idea
– Three principles of design: composition, components, concept
– Composition: eye should move naturally from most important information to least important information

Recommended Reading:
book called Design Basics Index by Jim Krause


Photography and Image Sources:
Creative Commons Licensed Images on Flickr — http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons
Royalty Free vector clip art (15,000 images) — http://www.clker.com
Open Clip Art Library (7,000 images) — http://www.openclipart.org
IStockphoto (poster quality images for $5 each) — http://www.istockphoto.com
When you need big posters (email presenter for instructions) — http://www.mpix.com

Can request free CD-ROM of above software at deifert@hampton.lib.nh.us if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection

Our Cataloging Data: The Future of Sharing and Creating

Chris CatalfoMonday, 3:30 – 5:00

Suddenly our catalog records are hot commodities The Library of Congress wants out of its “alpha role” in providing cataloging. OCLC wants to clarify who may share contributed records with whom. Biblios.net and Open Library offer open access alternatives. RDS disseminates catalog records into web-based entities. Where is all this leading? How will our data be created and shared in the future? Chris Catalfo, programmer at LibraryThing.com, shares his thoughts on the future of cataloging data. The NETSL business meeting and reception are included.

Available tools: OCLC, Open Library (good for sharing with web users), Biblos.net (good for sharing between libraries), Hathi Trust (online digital hosting)

How are we doing?

  • Sharing: ineffectual. Mechanism are out-dated, not everyone can participate. Needs good software to support sharing and finding of records (OCLC does do this, but still not all libraries can afford it)
  • Z39.50 – permits standardized sharing, but dates to the 70’s so it is a bit old and is a barrier to non-librarian programmers who could help make our data more available
  • New/better protocols: OAI Protocol, SRW/U
  • Another issue is who owns the data and records? OCLC? The libraries? Can they be owned?
  • OPACs: need to embed metadata into html catalog page, using OpenURL COins, Zotero (Firefox plugin), Librarything for Libraries catalog plugin

Looking to the future, none of these tools quite meet all needs: sharing between libraries, easy to use for non-librarian web searchers. So how should we share in the future?

Sharing is important:

  • The more we share with each other, the cheaper it is for libraries
  • The easier the data is to find, the better for our patrons (and libraries, since we’re easier to find)

What do we need?

  • More modern protocol XML over HTTP?
  • Clear up the ownership question
  • A platform to share to

How do we create data, and how can we improve?

  • Copy catalog or original cataloging (then keep internally or share back with OCLC)
  • Non-libraries: Google Books data comes from publishers, libraries, OCR scans (this is not perfect); Amazon mostly comes from publishers; flickr and LibraryThing (the wider web world) mostly comes from users
  • Libraries can learn a little from each of these alternatives: users are not always accurate, but it is large volume, powerful and popular
  • Can cataloging rules be streamlined – AACR, Dublin Core – and give catalogers more time to focus on other things
  • Need to get past political arguments of today and work towards the betterment of the data

Questions and Answers

Where to publishers get their data?
They type it in, so we shouldn’t need to duplicate that effort?

Is there copyright issues if they are creating it?
-Not sure…
It is part of their marketing effort, so they want it out there. So you’d think they’d want it accurate, but that isn’t always the case – so we also need a shared maintenance system
-Yes, it’d be like open source software, where everyone has access to various versions

Does Librarything do data cleanup of contributed data?
LT staff doesn’t, but dedicated users do authority control of author cleanup and cross-references

Is it in our long-term best interest to consider record sharing by itself? OCLC isn’t just a source for records, it provides a service

Does LT have tag guidelines?
I don’t think LT does much (I work more with LTfL) – there was a tag combining feature, but it was turned off – so it’s all user-generated.

Tags have the great benefit of not just connecting users to books, but connects users to users, but it could benefit from standardization (“my sister” is subjective, not objective).
Right, tags should compliment a structured language, not used exclusively.

From Information to Intelligence: Using the Social Web to Transform Communities

Stephen Abram and Social Web and LibrariesMonday, 1:00 – 2:30

We know that libraries make a difference. A big difference. Can we challenge ourselves to move to the next plateau quickly? Can we do that in an era of restricted budgets and financial pressures? What strategies will work? What technologies show the most promise? Are our communities ready for this? Stephen Abram, VP Innovation at Sirsi Dynix, shows us some of the innovations that are working in libraryland and some opportunities for us to transform our communities.

Slides available [pdf] at Stephen’s Lighthouse

Start with Is Social Media a Fad? video

Do you pay attention to the ads you see? In this day, information (and ads) find you – Google ads change depend on what you’re searching for, Facebook ads change depend on what you ad/upload, geotagging can customize a message for different parts of the country.

DVDs make up a large percentage of our circs – what is our plan in 5 years when DVDs are outdated? YouTube? Hulu?

Does anyone have 100 million books in the library? Google books does (will). How do we compete?

The critical advantage of libraries is librarians. But our websites have no photos of staff, no videos, no bios – we don’t tell people why to use us – instead we hide. Professionals should not be anonymous (do you want to know your doctor’s name?). How can we use social media to push our critical competitive advantage?

What are libraries really for?

  • Economic impact: libraries are the only social service people use by choice (no one wants the police, or fire, or medical personal to show up at their door)
  • Equity: diminishing the digital and generational divides by integrating population growth and supporting the process of learning, not just facts
  • Student performance: schools with libraries have 25% increase in test scores – add 5% more for schools with close ties to the public library
  • Seek competitive advantage: we’re falling behind Canada, EC, India China, etc. We now know genes influence learning styles, so schools (and libraries) need to respond and cater
  • Social glue and democracy: the top two things people value in libraries are 1) community and 2) learning – we need to support these interactions

Need to combat the idea that Google can do everything – this is shallow thinking (eg: most laws are online – do you still need a lawyer?) Do you want a heart surgeon who has watch a how-to video on YouTube? Also, Search Engine Optimization can cause false information to rise to the surface (Where was Obama born?).

People trust the opinion of their peers, so social web tools that allow interaction (LibraryThing, Chili Fresh, Sopac, etc) are valuable.

People are online: Facebook, Twitter, etc. They choose to Friend who they want, not be pushed to. But if you’re not there, you’re not part of their life. This is especially when we lose kids – they come to the library when learning to read, then move away when they become social.

Computer technology can be a love/hate relationship, but it’s the direction of the 21st century (printing and publishing dates to the 16th century). Social media permits different learning styles – not just one-way, but has feedback, and lets you treat students like students and adults like adults (if they’re looking for information on divorce, they’re probably looking for different things).

Two stickiest things for websites: news and weather. Put them on your website! This is the IKEA method – put everything in one place, and let the patrons put it together. We filter resources for context and relevance to save the time of the patrons. Get their feedback (using Surveymonkey polls, et. al.) to build community by building relationships.

Most people use cell phone – if you don’t pay attention to them, you will miss them. That’s why Iowa polls for 2008 election were wrong – they only polled land line home phones, but most voters were young first-time voters, who have cell phones and not land lines.

Libraries exist at the intersection of community need and social trends. This is especially true for broadband – libraries often have best internet access in small communities, but Google is soon to offer broadband on old analog TV signals.

More videos for Social Media Trends

Program idea: instead of having an “internet safety” class (which only parents would come to), have a “pimp my myspace” page – kids will attend, and you can teach them internet safety in a context that matters ro them.

Google is designed to meet the needs of its customers – that is not you. If you use Google for free, you’re not a Google customer – everything Google does is catered to help their advertisers.

Is this a “journal world” or an “article world” – what good are bound periodicals:

What problem do you serve for your patrons? Patrons don’t want to search, they want to find. Context is King, not content.

The future is complex – where do libraries fit in?
Social Graph Platform Wars