Saturday, January 31, 2009

Archived posts: OLA 2009

(only the fun stuff)

Session # 612: 8 R's Update
With Ken Roberts and Kelly Moore, this session focused on conveying and interpreting the results of the 8Rs study and relaying information about the Summit on Human Resources (held in Ottawa in Fall 2008 to discuss a national strategy and action plan). Tentative ideas from the summit:
  • A national pool of job exchange/internship opportunities, especially for mid-career librarians
  • Discussions about re-certification: Well, we don’t even have any formal “certification” process. Librarians don’t have to “pass the bar” or pass a standardised test to call themselves librarians. Re-certification, therefore, is just simply “maintaining your skills.”
  • More management courses are needed in library schools
  • This is problematic, because students aren’t interested in management courses in library schools, stating “it doesn’t jive with the reason they want to be a librarian.”
  • Should we be targeting BComm or MBA students to enter library school?
  • What about joint BComm or MBA / MLIS degrees?
  • Employers want future managers, and that’s the minority of students. Most students are attracted to the profession because of an expressed desire to help people, or because of the perceived work/life balance in the profession.
  • Students tend to want to work in the area they studied in – what implication does this have on streams in library schools? Attempts must be made to break down the “sectors.”
  • Managers at the Summit asked “how can we escape the feeling that people are saying, I take my number and I wait – seniority – and BOOM, I’ll be a manager!”
Session # 1822: Leadership 2009
I was somewhat disappointed by this session, as it was kind of more a booktalk of best-sellers in the business world relating to management/leadership.

A few quick points:
  • Don’t spend time on the “bottom-feeders” or the “stars” in your organisation: focus on those who, with a little help, could be nudged up to star level. These people can be helped and this help will pay off.
  • Qs to ask yourself about your organization: what can we be the best in the world at? What appeals to our stakeholders? What is our passion? Put these three answers together and that is your niche. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
  • Our output (“profit” but for non-profit sector) is the extent to which we have accomplished our mission. Our mission should thus be stated in measurable items – not just statistics, but stories.
  • Most people are most willing to support libraries as transformative (making a difference in the community), rather than informational (the information field is too crowded).
  • Librarians are particularly in a culture of niceness: this means we often don’t confront problems.
  • From The Tipping Point: there are 3 types of people. Mavens (know things! Suffer curse of knowledge, and can’t state what they know in 2 minutes!), connectors (the people who know those with influence), and salespeople (people who can make the pitch).
  • Our biggest donors will likely be people who don’t have library cards.
  • Top executives shouldn’t stay more than 6 years: studies show that school principals lose effectiveness in 7 years!
N.B. A recommended books list was handed out at this session. I have uploaded the books on the list to my LibraryThing account and they are tagged leadership_OLA (click here).

Justin Trudeau was the closing speaker, and, again, this will be an unpopular view, but I was underwhelmed! Why do librarians insist on being sucked in by charming popular figures who do nothing but get up there and pat us on the back for doing a great job? He said one lovely thing, though, that I jotted down: “To develop empathy, there is no better way than by reading fiction. In fiction, you project yourself into someone else’s experience.”

Fun stuff I picked up or saw:
  • What’s On @ Toronto Public Library (their program flyer): I especially like how they use icons to ID programs for adult literacy and for Francophones.
  • Oshawa Public Libraries (Jan/Feb 2009 programs): Great program ideas included MythBusters for kids (debunking myths like, can an egg bounce?), movie nights for movies based on books (City of Ember, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), an Anti-Valentine’s Day Party for teens (cranky crafts, moody music and spiteful snacks, wear black and red), teen travel flicks (docs about travel or different countries for travel-inclined 16-22 year old backpackers), Teen Book/Media swap, Literary Speed Dating (6 mins to talk about your fav books), Coffee and news / News and Views (discussion groups for local, national and international events, co-sponsored with a seniors centre),
  • TPL branch visits: I went to the Dufferin/St. Clair, Annette St. branches, as well as Toronto Reference Library. Blogged here!

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