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!)

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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!)

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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!


Episode 211: Technology Training for Library Staff



Contents of our information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • A Few Technology Training Resources
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion

Today we are talking about one of the biggies in the world of library work: Technology training. We all know it’s tough to keep up with the tech we need to use, and it can be even more complicated to help patrons to use their own tech! To help us with this, we have a Guest Host: Angie Kalthoff, Technology Integrationist in St Cloud School District 742.

One of the “fun” things about technology training is that it is never done. You will never know enough, and the field will always keep changing. Don’t get discouraged! Just adjust your own framework to know that there will forever be something new and interesting and cool out there – and you will keep discovering these things and keep learning new skills! (Continuous learning is not only important for continued job success, but helps to keep your brain agile as you get older. So for those of us who are aging rapidly (all of us!), tech is a tool to keep us young!)

Remember: CMLE is here to help you with training! If we don’t have the material here for you, we will help you find it.

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 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!