Category Archives: Services

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 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 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!


Episode 210 Customer Service



Customer service photo

 

Contents of our information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • The Basics
  • A Few Stories from the Front Lines!
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion

This week we are talking customer service in your library: the good, the bad! Patrons, customers, or whatever you call those people who use your services, are the heart of it all – the reason our jobs exist. At our very foundation, we only exist in our jobs to serve these people. Some of them will absolutely be the best part of your job; they will make you happy to come to work, they will fill you with that positive glow of happiness in doing a good job, and will in general be a delight! There may even be homemade snacks involved!

Other patrons will make you question your job, your reason for being in a library, and your very will to get out of bed in the mornings! When, not if, that happens to you, try to focus on taking a deep breath and remembering that this too shall pass. Go back and listen to our episode #206 on Conflict Management, and look through our material on handling stress in the workplace.

But don’t let the few lousy patrons be too big a part of your job! Actively keep your perspective focused on the great things you are doing to build community, and to enjoy the customer service aspects of your job! We are not going to overlook the tough parts of this skill, but we do not want to dwell on it and overshadow the good stuff too. So sit back, relax, and let’s talk about some good customer service procedures you can implement in your organization to make things flow better. And we will share a few stores from the real-life side of working with patrons all day!

Next Week: we talk about technology training in your library, with Guest Host Angie Kaltoff!

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!

 


Episode 208: Evaluation



Performance-Evaluation-Process-z

Today’s podcast is kind of a Part Two to last week’s podcast on Strategic Planning. In any kind of planning process, you want to know how things are going – and that’s evaluation!

Does your library do regular evaluation? If you are like many, or most, libraries – probably not. It seems like a lot of work to get started, it seems hard, and it seems scary: what if people say negative things, or you find out you are doing things wrong or badly?

We get it! First: take a nice deep breath, and let it out slowly. Taking a relaxed approach to evaluation can make it all easier. Evaluation can also give you some solid results you can show to funders to demonstrate your Return on Investment (or ROI) – which is always a good thing, whether or not it is required in your library. We will be talking about Library Impact and ROI in more detail in Episode 215 coming up soon – so subscribe to this podcast now to be sure you don’t miss it!

Remember that you are never alone! CMLE is always here to help you – whether you have 100 people in your library, or if you are the only person and kind of scared to get started. Supporting you is our whole mission, so never hesitate to call on us.

Contents on our full information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Basics of Evaluation
  • Specific Evaluation Examples
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
  • Links with Samples

Want to listen to an episode?

  • You can download an app, subscribe to “Linking Our Libraries” and all episodes will appear on your phone – it’s so easy!
    • Apps we like include Pocket Casts, iTunes, and Stitcher.
    • Download any of these, search for “Linking Our Libraries” and hit Subscribe.
    • If it is not readily available, just enter this RSS feed: http://libraries.blubrry.com/feed/podcast/.
  • Or, you can stream an episode right now on your computer by going to our streaming page, by clicking here.

Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it!
Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!


Episode 207 Strategic Planning



Wikimedia Strategic planning 09

This week we are talking about Strategic Planning.

Did everyone panic a little bit there? No need!

Strategic Planning is one of those things that sounds scary and hard and like it will take you a huge amount of time. But really, it’s just thinking about the future and what you want to do in your library. Generally strategic plans will be about three to five years. After that point, it becomes tougher to know what is going to be happening in your library and in the world around you. The idea is that it is a long term plan. Shorter time periods are tactical plans, or project plans.

(We are working on a new Strategic Plan here at CMLE; so if you are in our geographic region expect that we will be asking you for your ideas as we create and modify plans to help serve our community!)

Today we are going to do a quick overview of the steps involved in Strategic Planning. Your planning process may be more complex, or may be more compressed – you should work on it the way that makes sense for your library and for your community. There are a lot of different ways to create a good plan; but these steps will get you there!

Contents on our full information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Guest Host Kathy Parker
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
  • Sample Plans
  • 30 Sample Vision Statements
  • 50 Sample Mission Statements

 

Want to listen to an episode?

  • You can download an app, subscribe to “Linking Our Libraries” and all episodes will appear on your phone – it’s so easy!
    • Apps we like include Pocket Casts, iTunes, and Stitcher.
    • Download any of these, search for “Linking Our Libraries” and hit Subscribe.
    • If it is not readily available, just enter this RSS feed: http://libraries.blubrry.com/feed/podcast/.
  • Or, you can stream an episode right now on your computer by going to our streaming page, by clicking here.

Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!

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!

Episode 205 Staff Development



Personal Training at a Gym - Cable Crossover

This week we are talking about Staff Development, and we have a Guest Host: Elizabeth Proell, from St. Cloud Public Library.

You know that to do any job in a library means you have to keep building and honing your skills. Everything we do changes, develops, and evolves – and this will never stop.  If there ever was a time in libraries where we could just coast along on skills we learned twenty years ago, those days are long gone! Technology, automation, and streamlining of all organizations and workers means that we are constantly looking for better, faster, cheaper ways to do all the work we do every day. And what that really means for all of us is that we have to not only keep up with things happening around us – but we need to be out there ahead of our patrons so we are ready to help them build their skills! It’s not just embarrassing to not be able to answer a question on email or web design or VR technology – it is bad practice.

We know it is a challenge!! Your budget is stretched to the max already, your time is also filled as full as you can get it. So we are here to help you! CMLE’s website is filled with information and links to all kinds of great places to go to help you build your skills.

  • We maintain a Continuing Education calendar.
  • We share all kinds of places to take classes, either for free or at a reduced cost – and we offer up to $300 in scholarship money to offset the cost of any training you can identify!
  • We are building webinars and in-person training sessions for you, to work though any time.
  • We are also available to come to your library (or archive, or history center, or other organization) and talk with you about some training ideas, or to do some training based on your individual library’s needs.
  • We have material on our site for this episode; and we also have material all kinds of useful library-related skills, available in our Skills Toolbox section of our site.

 

Contents on our full information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Guest Host Discussion
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion

Want to listen to an episode?

  • You can download an app, subscribe to “Linking Our Libraries” and all episodes will appear on your phone – it’s so easy!
    • Apps we like include Pocket Casts, iTunes, and Stitcher.
    • Download any of these, search for “Linking Our Libraries” and hit Subscribe.
    • If it is not readily available, just enter this RSS feed: http://libraries.blubrry.com/feed/podcast/.
  • Or, you can stream an episode right now on your computer by going to our streaming page, by clicking here.

Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!

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!

Episode 204: Library Friends and Volunteers



This week we are talking about people who like libraries allllmooost as much as we do! Does your library have a Friends group? A PTA? A volunteer group? Something else? Any of these can be just great for you, and can really help to make your library life easier.

There a subtle shades of differences in these groups. Generally, a PTA group is focused on helping the school as a whole, but can be working on the library as an occasional or regular part of the work they already do. Volunteers are nice people who come do tasks for us, so library staff can be utilized in helping patrons more directly, or in carrying out tasks that only staff can do. Friends are usually an organized group working in conjunction with the library – ideally not being told what to do, or setting too many Byzantine rules on the library either. In all these relationships, patience and proceeding from a starting place of good intentions given and assumed will help make them work out!

It is so nice to have people around who want to help, so as library people we should make sure we use them effectively so they have a good experience. You can find all kinds of information about developing a Friends group in your library, no matter how big or small you are; and you can find some good training information to be sure your Friends feel confident in their roles.

Contents on our full information page:

  • Intro
  • Background
  • Friends
  • Volunteers
  • Guest Host
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
  • Additional Resources
Want to listen to an episode?
  • You can download an app, subscribe to “Linking Our Libraries” and all episodes will appear on your phone – it’s so easy!
    • Apps we like include Pocket Casts, iTunes, and Stitcher.
    • Download any of these, search for “Linking Our Libraries” and hit Subscribe.
    • If it is not readily available, just enter this RSS feed: http://libraries.blubrry.com/feed/podcast/.
  • Or, you can stream an episode right now on your computer by going to our streaming page, by clicking here.

Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!

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!

Episode 203: Grants



This week we are talking about Grants.

These can be wonderful, and bring your library new materials, equipment, programs, and services! That is all great! Of course, nothing comes for free, so they also bring you extra paperwork, reporting responsibilities, staff time, and the need to oversee potentially new programs. You need to spend some time weighing the costs and the benefits to your individual situation. Every grant will not be right for you and your organization – but if you find something that can bring you benefits: Go for it!! Apply! It never hurts to ask for money to help build for your community!

And of course, as with every topic we discuss here – at CMLE we are available to help you with this process. If you have never written a grant, but get some ideas after listening to this episode – we can help you put your idea together and turn in a great application! If you are an experienced grant writer, but want someone else to look over things for you – we are available to help with that also! We never recommend you creating grants alone; it is always better as a team project. And if you want CMLE to be part of your team, we are ready to help!

 

Contents on our full information page:

  • Intro
  • Background
  • Basics of Grant Writing
    • Find a grant
    • Gather your basic information
    • Put together your stats
    • Writing the proposal
    • Review your proposal
    • Submit your application
  • Minnesota LSTA Grants
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
Want to listen to an episode?
  • You can download an app, subscribe to “Linking Our Libraries” and all episodes will appear on your phone – it’s so easy!
    • Apps we like include Pocket Casts, iTunes, and Stitcher.
    • Download any of these, search for “Linking Our Libraries” and hit Subscribe.
    • If it is not readily available, just enter this RSS feed: http://libraries.blubrry.com/feed/podcast/.
  • Or, you can stream an episode right now on your computer by going to our streaming page, by clicking here.

Whatever tool you use, we hope you enjoy it! Thanks for listening, and sharing ideas on libraries!

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!