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!
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Episode 209: Conferences – Attending and Presenting



ICAPP Conference on Natural Disasters and Environmental Protection

This week we are talking about professional conferences: attending them and presenting at them. This is your chance to meet other people who do what you do, who like the same things you like, and who are experiencing some of the same challenges you are facing! In our system, made up of all types and sizes of libraries, we have many people who are solo library workers, or who work with a very small group of people. That kind of isolation can be tough, so conferences are a great way to be sure you connect with other people in your area of the library world! And, as you are part of a big profession, this is also a chance for you to be giving back to everyone else with your ideas, your experiences, and your material.

We all work better when we are working together, and sharing information is a responsibility of being part of a community. (plus, it’s really fun to present at conferences! You get to feel like you are contributing, and you get the chance to really talk about issues and ideas that are important to you!)

Contents on our full information page:
Contents of this page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Attending a Conference
  • Presenting at a Conference
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion

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 206 Conflict Management



 

Usually we talk about how wonderful libraries are – and they are! And we talk about cheery, happy, fun things in libraries – and there are tons of them! But today we are talking about a much more uncomfortable topic, but important in libraries: Conflict.

We are all about Minnesota Nice here, and it would be wonderful if everyone was nice, everyone agreed on library issues, and everyone agreed on everything. But we all know that when you work with other people, and when you work with members of the public, things do not always turn out so well. Conflict is inevitable and dealing with it can be hard.

But: like so many things, there is a process you can follow to make conflict situations better! We are going to walk through some ideas here to help reduce conflict situations, and hopefully to make things better. We are not going to fix everything – nothing will. But “better” is a good step in the right direction! Check out our podcast on Stress in the Workplace from Season One to get some good strategies for handling stress that may be a part of conflict.

So everyone take a deep, yoga breath, sit in a nice comfy chair or be engaged in a happy activity, and let’s talk about some skills for reducing conflict in your library.

We have material on our site for this episode; and we also have material on this skill, along with many others, available in our Skills Toolbox section of our site.

Contents on our full information page:
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Strategies
    • Conflict with patrons
    • Conflict between staff
  • 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 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!

Episode 202: Instructional Design



Instructional design types - Hamdani

This week we are talking about Instructional Design. (Thanks to one of our loyal listeners, Chuck, for suggesting this topic!)

A big part of the work you do in any library is to provide instruction in all kinds of things to our patrons. We do this individually, we do this in small groups, in one-shot sessions or in classes lasting a week or a semester. This is where we see that no matter how broad and wonderfully diverse our profession is (we are! It’s what makes us special!), most of what we do is really similar.

No matter what kind of library, or archive, or museum, or history center you might work in – our fundamental mission is to serve our community. And one of the main ways we serve people is to instruct them in all kinds of stuff. The specifics of what the content of instruction will be in your library will depend on your materials and your community needs. But the basics of instruction are the same across all of us.

Contents of our podcast page (click to go there):
  • Intro
  • Background
  • Basics of Instructional Design
    • Instruction theory
    • Setting objectives
    • Connect to students
    • Strategies for instruction
    • Outcomes
    • Doing assessment and evaluation
    • Connect back later to be sure learning worked
  • Books We are Reading
  • Conclusion
  • Other 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 201: Community Engagement



Community Engagement - Maps of teams and workflows

Season Two Episode 201

Welcome back to Season Two of Linking Our Libraries podcast!! We are excited to be back, sharing information and ideas for all types of libraries.

We are from Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and our mission is to support libraries. That means we are here to help libraries and library people to find information they need, to build skills, and to share ideas about all the things that make our profession great!

Do you want all our background information on this topic, with lots of information and links? Go here to our website!

This week we are talking about Community Engagement. This is an extremely important area for libraries, as making connections with your community is at the heat of all your service.

You need to define your community, and to really know who is there. It’s not enough to just have some ideas – do some research.

  • In a public library, your community is everyone in your district or taxing area; and that is a community that changes more frequently than you might guess, so you need to keep checking on that.
  • In a school library, your community is of course the students, but it also includes administrators and staff in the school, parents, and even members of your town or county who have a stake in good libraries and good schools.
  • An academic library has a community of students, and again the wider community of profs, staff, alums, and maybe members of your town if they also have access to your material.
  • Hospitals serve doctors and nurses, but also patients, researchers, and other people who may need to use your specialized collections.
  • Law libraries serve lawyers, court staff, people who are representing themselves, students, and more.

“Community” really varies depending on your individual library’s mission; so be sure you know who they are!

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 request a visit or a phone call from us.