All posts by CMLE

Episode 305: Discipline and Termination



Austria - Göttweig Abbey - 2015 This week we discuss two topics managers hate to deal with: Discipline and Termination. No one likes this, but it is vital to keeping your library healthy and functioning. Joining us is Guest Host Kathy Parker, Director of the St. Ben’s College and St. John’s University libraries.

These human resources topics are deceptively hard to discuss. On the one hand: employees do the wrong things, or are terrible, or get caught up in budget cuts, or other situations will occur. This will definitely happen, and managers will need to develop strategies to best handle them.

On the other hand – this is not an area where you can just guess what to do. Laws are involved; and good intentions are not wrong, but are not enough to depend on to know you are making the right decision and doing the right thing. We are not giving any legal advice here, and we really encourage you to talk to your library’s or your city or your college’s HR department, and their attorneys before you make decisions. Depending on where you work, you may also have union rules that you need to follow.

Not disciplining employees, and not terminating employees, is not an option. So let’s talk about ways to do this well. We are going to skim some of the big areas of these topics to get everyone started in thinking about it, and putting together policies and procedures for your library.

Check out our full information page for all the details, including links to this week’s books!


304: Motivation and Coaching



Motivation-arrows

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This season, we are working on building a toolbox of leadership skills and ideas. By the end of this season, you will have fifteen specific skills that will make you a stronger leader and manager in your organization.

This week we are looking at strategies motivating people at work.

Although working in libraries is a wonderful job most of the time, the repetitive nature of the work, the service focus on people’s needs, and just working at the same job for years, can start to wear people down. Keeping staff motivated is an important part of that job as a leader. It is also one of the most difficult parts of the job.

Motivating and coaching can be challenges for everyone involved – it is hard to maintain a generally positive attitude toward work all the time. When people work for your library for several decades, everyone needs to stay focused on providing great service. Taking some positive steps to motivate yourself and the people around you can help to build a good organizational culture!

Thanks to everyone for joining us this week! And check back in with us next week to discuss our next topic: Discipline and Termination.

Check out our full information page for all the details, including Self-motivation, Motivating Others, Gamification, and links to the books we are reading this week!

Do you need more books in your life? Sure you do! Subscribe to our Books and Beverages book group podcast. Each week we look at a different genre, chat with our guests about their book suggestions, and sip our beverages. It is always good to find a new book!


Episode 303: Hiring and Staffing



Now Hiring

(Note: Lady Grey was in-house while we recorded this episode; so the parts that sound particularly great may have been influenced by her calming presence!)

Check out our full information here!

Welcome to another episode of Linking Our Libraries! This week our Guest Host is Carla Lydon, director of the East Central Library System here in Minnesota.

If you like libraries, archives, or history centers; or if you work in a nonprofit; or if you just want to learn more about management and leadership, you are in the right place!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and our job is to help libraries! We are a multitype library system, with member libraries of all sorts: public, schools, academics, special libraries, archives, and history centers. Yes – we are pretty lucky!

This season we are looking at a variety of topics related to management and leadership. Our focus is on libraries, but our topics are relevant to all types of nonprofits working to improve their leadership skills.

Do you want to talk with us about a topic? Want us to set up some training for you? Check out our website under “Can We Help You?” and let’s talk!

First we are going to look at a somewhat idealized hiring process. Every library varies in how they are able to hire: some have no input and a new person is just plopped into the library, some have complete freedom to structure their hiring as they want. Hopefully, the steps we look at today will happen, at some level!

One of the most important things a manager can do for an organization is to hire well. You need good staff to have a well-functioning organization, and a bad hire – one that brings in an unskilled, unmotivated person, or person who spends time complaining, giving bad customer service, or just doing poor work – can throw the whole place into chaos. The cost of a bad hire can be very high, and this problem can be very difficult to fix. A good hire will do good work, and add to the positive organizational environment you want to build!

Hiring and staffing are extremely important challenges any library needs to face; and making good decisions, bringing in good people, and getting them deployed to best serve the mission of the library are crucial! It is tough to do, but if you have questions you can always check in with us here at cmle.org!

Tune in next Thursday for our next episode of Linking Our Libraries, where we keep going with our discussion of management and leadership topics.

Do you need more books in your life? Sure you do! Subscribe to our Books and Beverages book group podcast. Each week we look at a different genre, chat with our guests about their book suggestions, and sip our beverages. It is always good to find a new book!

 


Episode 302: Ethics



Business ethics

Welcome back to Season Three of Linking Our Libraries! We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we are here to share information with all types of libraries, archives, and other nonprofits working to build their skills. This season we are working through the tools you can use to be a better manager and leader.

This week we discuss Ethics.

It is surprising how many people do not think about ethical issues being a problem in LIS. This may go back to the mistaken ideas some people have about what librarians do all day – that is, that we sit around all day waiting for people to come ask us lovely and fun questions that we can answer with smiles on our faces. Of course this does happen, and most of us enjoy it when things go so well. But other things happen too, and can pose challenges to our ethics, our practices, and even the laws governing our library and society. When you add in the idea of being a manager, responsible for the actions and behaviors of not only yourself but also your staff, things can get much more complicated when trying to behave ethically.

In the library field, we are a profession, and as such we are governed by an ethical code. To be more accurate: we are a multi-faceted profession with a lot of different people in different professional areas doing all kinds of different things. So we actually have several different ethical codes relevant to the work we do.

Too often, ethics are things that get mentioned quickly in orientation, everyone looks solemn, and we all reassure ourselves that we, of course, would always be nice people who will do nice things. Yay for us. But that is just the barest beginning of ethics and ethics training. We can all start from the stand that we are nice people (most librarians are, after all); but we need to have a specific, written-down, set of ethical principles that we all know, we all understand, and we all agree to follow. And then problems will happen and disasters will come to your door. Ethical codes give you either a nice ladder to climb up out of the problems, or can be used as a handy weapon with which to clobber if you ignore the rules and cause problems that make it into the news.

As a leader, it is particularly important for you to know and to display ethical behavior. Managers who lie, cheat, and steal show staff members that teamwork and ethical behavior are pointless; no one will get ahead in this kind of organization by following the rules and doing the right thing.

Thankfully, the opposite is also true. Managers who create an ethics-friendly organization, and who demonstrate ethical behavior even when it is the harder choice, are showing their staff how things should be done. All of this will add up to an ethics-friendly organization. And you will have yet another powerful skill for your own Manager Skill Set!

Thanks for joining us this week! And check back in with us next week to discuss Hiring and Staffing.


Episode 301: Let’s Get Started! Management Theories for Us All



Future of leadership Initial banner

Want to talk with us about this topic? Do you, your staff, or your organization need training in this topic? Want to write a policy, or develop a program? We are here for you!
Click here to get started!

Introduction

Welcome back to Season Three of Linking Our Libraries! This season we are spending time looking at different tools you can use to be a better manager and leader in your library, archive, history center, or other nonprofit. Over the next 15 episodes, we will cover some groupings of topics: Foundational Ideas, Human Resources, Looking Ahead, and Other People. You do not need to become an expert in any of these skills; but understanding all of them will make you a better leader in your organization.

If you like libraries, archives, or history centers; or if you work in a nonprofit; or if you just want to learn more about management and leadership, you are in the right place!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and our job is to help libraries! We are a multi-type library system, with member libraries of all sorts: public, schools, academics, special libraries, archives, and history centers. Yes – we are pretty lucky!

This season we are looking at a variety of topics related to management and leadership. Our focus is on libraries, but our topics are relevant to all types of nonprofits working to improve their leadership skills.

Do you want to talk with us about a topic? Want us to set up some training for you? Check out our website under “Can We Help You?” and let’s talk!

The Basics

This week we begin with Foundational Ideas.

As a manager, figuring out all the different stuff you need to do can be overwhelming. But everything is easier when you have a roadmap to follow; and fortunately, management is filled with them!

In this episode, we will spend some time looking at some management theories. This will give you some understanding of ideas worked out by people who have spent their careers thinking about the best way to do management well. You may choose to incorporate some of these ideas, or not, as you begin to build your own personal management style. It is always valuable to know what people have done in the past, to help you feel confident in your job.


Season Two: Bonus Episode on Stress Management



The calm after the storm - Port Lincoln - South Australia (Explored)

Hi, and welcome back to Linking Our Libraries!

Just in time for the holidays, we are here with a bonus episode to our Season Two series. It’s a topic we all need now: Stress Management. Whether you are struggling with finals, trying to wrap up paperwork before the end of the year, or just working to get that darn snow shoveled – we understand! (We’re in Minnesota; we really understand the snow!) So this podcast will help us all to just take a break, to have a moment to relax, and to gather some tools for you to work on your own stress management skills.

Check out our full information page for all the ideas!


Episode 215 Library Impact and ROI



Water drop impact on a water-surface - (5)(Tune in for a bonus episode Dec 7 on handling stress!)

Check our full information page for all our material!

This is our last episode of Season Two! It has been great talking about all these topics this season, and communicating with you. Thanks so much for downloading and listening – it means a lot to us. We are already starting to work on Season Three, which will start early in 2018. And in the meantime, you can go to our website, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, our social media, our online book groups. You can listen to all of our archive of podcast episodes from Seasons One and Two on our website (or your favorite app!). So we are not leaving you; we just have some different communication strategies to connect with you!

This week we are talking about the impact libraries have on their community, and ways to evaluate your Return on Investment (or ROI).

You know libraries are great. We know libraries are great. But, do your patrons know all about it? How about your Board? Your funders?

It is not enough to be able to say, “we are so neat!” and expect people to give you money and support. Instead, you need to be able to show, with specific data, how neat you are. Fortunately, this is amazingly easy to do! Any type of library and information science organization, including libraries of all types, archives, museums, and more, will all make big returns on the investments made in us. We just have to be able to show it, and then to loudly share that information with everyone else!


Episode 214: Programming



Check out our full information page here!

Programming in libraries is the tool we use to connect our services with our community members. All libraries and archives do some level of programming, and for most of us doing more is better. But finding time to develop programs our community members want and need, advertising it to everyone, getting needed materials, doing the programming, and doing evaluation of the results is a lot to handle! To help us with this, we have Guest Host Angie Yanke, from Zimmerman Middle-High School.

We have talked about building connections across your community, and programming can be a tool you use to reach out to connect people with your materials and resources. This is something very individual to each library or archive or history center – everyone will have a different population needing to be reached.

Some jobs are all programming and outreach, all the time. Most public services library people will be doing some level of programming, in addition to their other work. So, how do you know what to do? If you are new to your job, or new to doing programming, or just want to spice up your programming offerings in your library, where do you start? We have a few tips!

 


Episode 213: Reference



1930's - ca. - Alma Custead, Librarian, and Staff

Check out our full information page for all the material we discuss here, and some bonus links! Check out our Books & Beverages Podcast book group for different genre discussions every week!

Reference work is what most people think of when they think about a library. Take a moment to picture it in your heads: do you see a smiling person behind the desk, maybe typing into the computer, maybe handing you a book?

That is certainly not wrong, and in addition to this type of service it also involves a lot of other work. Reference is increasingly moving away from sitting behind a desk and waiting for people to come to you with their lovely, well-thought out questions. Instead it now involves setting up a lot of material people can use on their own schedules, spending time training people in using online databases and other resources, and being present in many other locations.

Whether your work in Reference is helping advanced researchers finding material to help them win the next Nobel Prize, or if it involves the more mundane questions of “my teacher says I need to find an author born on my birthday” – it all matters to patrons. And of course, the most common Reference question has never changed: Where is the bathroom? As with so much we talk about on this podcast, there is a system to help you answer questions the best way possible!


Episode 212: Open Access



Open Access PLoSThis is Open Access week, and we are celebrating with a podcast! (Check out our full information page here!)

This is a topic with a lot of passion involved, and lots of big feelings on all sides of the discussion. Today we are just going to walk through some of the basics of how OA works and what it means; and talk with Susan Schleper, from Centra Care Health hospital library in St. Cloud, about one aspect of using it in a library setting in her institutional repository.

As so often happens on this podcast, we are just introducing you to a big topic – and we want you to get comfortable with the basics and then be able to move on to a larger look that makes works for your organization and professional interests.

So, as always, we have a lot of material on the podcast page to help you keep building up your knowledge. And of course, we are always available to come to your library to help you, to talk with you, and to help you set up policies and procedures and training for yourself, your colleagues, and your organization!

Have you heard our book group podcast: Books and Beverages Podcast? Subscribe today for all kinds of genres, lots of beverages, and a parade of great guests!