Friday, May 15, 2009

Do I Know You? : Strategies for Connecting with the Community as a Citizen or Trustee

Speaker: Judith Ferrell, Friends of Washington County Free Library

Developed a Friends Outreach Program (received a $1,000 grant from Citizens for Maryland Libraries)

Find ways to communicate a unified message—Library, Library Director and Friends.
Increase public awareness
Increase political awareness
Increase number of volunteers
Increase literacy
Increase funding for programming
Increase awareness of library values

Brought in a speaker to coach Friends in public speaking and one-on-one advocacy. (16 people took part in that training)

Developed pre-packaged fact sheets targeting particular audiences to prepare Friends for addressing various constituents. Also wrote letters to the editor.

[NOTE: CML has started to award two $1,000 grants per year to Friends groups. Must be member of CML to apply.]

Speaker: Marion Francis, Director, Anne Arundel County Public Library

AACPL had no formal Friends group-- though they have many corporate friends.

Director went to Library Board about establishing a foundation. 501c3

Board was somewhat reluctant that government funding might be reduced in an amount equal to that raised by a foundation.

Conducted a feasibility study; determine if the library’s current message was getting out to the public.

Target the 4 Ls
Library supporters
Local leaders (active citizens)
Legislators (funding leaders and elected officials)
Ladies who lunch (womens’ groups—could be professionals, could be individuals who have never worked)

The importance of developing a library story to share with these groups.
Articulate it. Project it. How?

Share your facts: What are the 3 most significant and unforgettable things about your system?

Develop an emotional hook: A story, one minute or less, that captures the essence of why you are involved with the library. This will hold the attention of groups.

Why was it meaningful to you?: Convey your passion and be able to do it in any media—interviews, one-on-one talks, addressing large groups, printed fliers, etc.

Make your own treasure map. Groups to talk to: Rotary club, neighborhood associations, other Friends groups, family members and their groups, professional colleagues, chambers of commerce

Stay up to date on your library’s successes.

Brainstorm with library leaders.

Stay positive in economic downtimes.

Speaker: Joseph Bush, Library Trustee, St. Mary’s County PL

St. Mary's Board of County Commissioners funded a study. 6 focus groups to determine the future and evaluate present library service. 72 people participated: business, community members, parents, staff.

New focus is on Teens, Seniors, technology, virtual users. Gates grant.

Their Trustees/Friends have participated in fundraisers, community outreach and partnerships. Example, local IT company donated PCs and provided WiFi for 3 buildings.

Trustees also accompany Library Director to BoCC talks to provide support.

Beyond the walls: Outreach services in Maryland libraries

Anne Arundel’s Library by Mail program
Determine eligibility
Collect readers advisory profiles (Books, DVDs, any format)
171 people in program; youngest is 23 and oldest is 99
Focus on new materials only (unless patron requests older items)
The LBM responsibilities take approximately 40 hours per week and are divided between 1 Circulation and 2 Information staff members.

Baltimore County PL’s Mobile Library services
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services

Shared some favorite Readers' Advisory sites
Fresh Fiction
Urban Reviews
Romantic Times

Have several vehicles. Most recent addition, Dodge Sprinter holds 3,000 items.

They require a contract for new sites.

BCPL circulated 48k items between two Sprinter vehicles last year.

Caroline County Public Library
3 branches; 1 BKM (2008)
Rural setting
Marketing led to 30% increase in visits and circulation.

Carroll County Public Library: Library Link Service to Seniors
32 volunteers
No fines or fees for damaged items
Maintain a separate collection (8,000 items)
Donated items to people who get to the point of damaging books

Cecil County—Book Buddy program
Volunteers bring books to the homebound
No fines for late items

Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We’re all in this together: Trustees, Board members and Libary staff

ALTAFF, Citizens for Maryland Libraries and local Friends groups should all work together.

Speaker: Valerie Gross, CEO, Howard County PL

inform + inspire + interact = educate
Choose Civility initiative

The unique roles of Trustees, Friends and Director

Library Board of Trustees
Hire and fire director
Set policy (not procedure)

Friends of the Howard County Library
Convey library values
Advocate for public funding
Advocate for private funds

Inform, inspire, engage
Attend meetings
Submit report to trustees
Ensure language alignment: vision and mission
Develop succinct, yet powerful, message

What does your organization do?
Howard County’s 3 pillars: We provide equal education for all Howard County residents. Libraries are in the Maryland Code as a component of education.

Speaker: Pat Fisher, President, P. Fisher and Associates

Role of Trustees
Represent the community
Help set vision
Determine and adopt policy
Advocate to elected officials, family, friends and neighbors

Role of Director
Advise board
Helps set vision
Implement policy of the board
Develop strategies for using legislative advocacy
Encourage neighborhood advocacy
Give numbers and statistics
Develop analogies

Role of the Friends
Advocate for the library
Raise funds to supplement government funding

Vision is put in motion by carrying out the library’s mission, goals, etc.

Greatest advocacy message is a short, heartwarming story (…backed up by statistics).

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. – Yeats

Don’t wing it.
Don’t forget to mention your affiliation.
Don’t tell everything; pick 3.
Don’t forget that relationships are the key to successful advocacy.
Don’t forget your stories, facts and figures.

Speaker: Ari Brooks, Executive Director, Friends of the Library Montgomery County

24 paid employees, plus part-time staff with $1.2 million budget

Branch Friends groups have 1 annual meeting with umbrella group.

Ms. Brooks is invited to staff meetings.

Ms. Brooks and her staff are invited to strategic planning meetings, then her Friends board drafts their own strategic plan in alternating years, so that goals of the library and the Friends are aligned.

Friends fund Staff Development Day ($50k) for 600+ staff.

Joint meeting with branch managers, Friends chapters and library board held annually.
Library Director delivers State of the Library address.
An elected official is often the featured speaker. (Most recently, County Manager)
Come up with 3 points, a unified message for the year.
Listen to and follow through on what the elected officials say.

The Library Director has a column in the Friends newsletter.
The Friends Executive Director has a column in the staff newsletter.

MLA 2009 Keynote: Paul Holdengraber

His programs are often discussions (no lectures). They are best with no rehearsals and with allowances for the unexpected.

Break all the rules of the library.

Try different things.

Don’t worry about failure.

The power to try, fail, succeed

Bringing solitudes together (respecting reading as a personal and isolated act, but recognizing the power of programs to bring individuals together)

Find humor in programs

Seek new forms of engagement

We must recognize the importance of the cultural sphere in the midst of scarcity, like the WPA during the Great Depression.

Make art popular or make people artistic – Oscar Wilde

The goal of library programs -- seek to create a moment of focus for your community.

Every good book, every good painting is a victory over death.

Learn the community, what they appreciate and then take them one step further. Don’t just give them what they want. Give them what they didn’t know they wanted.

What are subjects that people are thinking about today? Find themes that matter.

Smaller libraries can move very fast and are more agile. Use this to your advantage.

NYPL does not pay their speakers. Their programming budget is shoestring. Most programs have 800 seats and the library sells tickets to these events. There are two seasons for these programs. Sept – Dec & Feb – June; Summers off.

The importance of partnerships and sponsorships.

Stressed the importance of building a collection of email addresses. NYPL currently has 25-30k.

Holdengraber recommended Alain De Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

It is natural for people to initially feel small in the presence of so much culture (at the library); we must discover how to move them, to empower them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Collaborate in the Workplace: One Conversation at a Time

Presenter: Andrea Mayfield

Leadership and how it guides organizational culture

Which behaviors encourage collaborative cultures?
How do leaders create an environment that ensures staff are engaged with the organization?

Rankism = organizations in which the hierarchy gets in the way

Many problems arise because of confusion about process. Often staff within an organization are working toward the same goal, but there has been no discussion of process. This can result in infighting between departments.

The importance of moving from the implicit to the explicit

The intent/impact gap. Leaders should try to narrow their own intent/impact gap. What is your intent? What is the impact of your actions? Our actions can be easily misinterpreted. We should strive to narrow the gap between intent and impact.

Don’t assume intent of others. Discuss things--particularly with difficult people. Ask direct questions. Is your intent to…? That is how you are coming across to other people. Make assumptions visible. Get it out on the table.

Un-discussables—-the elephants in the room--result in nasty surprises or missed opportunities. Discuss and understand.

Robust dialogue is a vital and healthy part of conversation. If you or your organization is uncomfortable with disagreement, frame the conversation and prepare for opposing viewpoints.

Dissent is not disloyalty. A good (productive) fight is healthy. Frame it up and depersonalize it.

I trust your passion about the collection and about our goals. I have concerns about whether you’ll meet deadlines. What can we work on or change?

As you prepare for a meeting, try to determine what your role is and why you were invited. Was it to drive the meeting? Discuss issues? Play Devil’s Advocate? Offer your experience and expertise? Each meeting is different and, to be most effective, you must determine and embrace your role.

With elements of organizational culture (example: assigned parking, close to the building for management), we must ask ourselves -- Does this help us or get in our way?

The say/do gap: What we say we believe versus what we actually do

Find examples of corporate cultures that you admire. Look at and learn from them.

System theory breaks staff into top, middle and bottom. Middles can be allied with upper management or front line staff. There are strengths and weaknesses to either alliance.

Arrogant/confident line – we walk it everyday.

A culture that promotes almost exclusively from within is not looking outward for new ideas. One administrator stated, Incest made us slow and dumb.

The quickest way for leaders to erode trust in their organization is by allowing incompetence and bad behavior.

Decision making – if it will be I want to hear from everyone, then I will make a decision in my office, then say that beforehand.

Understand that this is very different from We want consensus. Consensus means that everyone must eventually agree; that is an extremely long process.

Perhaps the decision must be made by the leader and then you seek consensus on how to roll out a new product, policy or service.

Sunk cost bias = We’ve already spent X dollars on this, let’s stay the (wrong) course

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Learning solutions through technology

Slides here.

Learning Solutions through Technology--Lori Reed

eLearning solutions
synchronous (like Horizon Wimba, WebEx, Dimdim)

The information people need to do their jobs will not be posted on a whiteboard, it will be found from interacting with other people.

Check out T is for Training

Tips to implement e-Learning
You need support from the top
Include IT in discussions early on
Trainer, train thyself
Don't put speed over quality
Have a plan
Be prepared to demonstrate Return on Investment
Enlist the help of tech-savvy staff
Look for support from local businesses

Rockin' Staff for everyone: Empowering your staff through tech skills building-- Sarah Houghton-Jan

Why is staff tech training important?
Increase staff retention rate
Show institutional commitment to lifelong learning
Save money
Strengthen staff skills and confidence
Improve customer service
Increase efficiency and productivity
Motivate staff to keep learning

Benefits of a skills based approach
Equitable expectations for all staff
Reveals training needs
Accurate job descriptions
Helps with performance evaluations
Consistent customer service
Helps staff adjust and handle change

Project planning
Skill lists

What are your goals?
Who manages the project?
Do you have, or need to create, a skills list?
Do you have a timeline in mind?
What are your resources (funding and staff)?
What training resources exist and which ones need to be created?

Ensuring staff buy-in
Listen: ask staff for their input and use it.
Keep everyone informed.
Reassure staff that they don't have to know it all now.
Managers must follow project plan.
Hold a brainstorming session or party.
Fun. Rewards. Food.

Ensure Admin buy-in
Write a purpose statement
Determine measurable deliverables (% increase in skills by individual or unit, # of classes or hours completed, etc)
Build training into performance evaluations
Train Admin/Management first or separately (if need be)

Creating a training program
Decide on types and numbers of trainings
Start with the basic topics
Open trainings to all staff
Mandatory or voluntary attendance?
Training budget based on staff needs
Set goals and rewards

Four types of learning
Scheduled learning
Unscheduled learning
Ongoing learning

Add fun!
Use real world examples
Personalize the exercises
Highlight tips and tricks
Encourage student independence
Ask students to dream at the end ( that you've learned this, what could you change about where you work...)
Be available and accessible

Importance of ongoing reassessment
What about staff who don't meet expectations
How will you measure success? (assessment, anecdotal reports from staff, evaluations, successful tech launches, better customer service)
Celebrate successes!