Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Berkeley Staff Organizes to Prevent Lay-Offs

While Trustees were exploring a plan that would lay off employees and reorganize staffing, unionized library staff members took bold action and published a commentary and call-to-action in their local newspaper. Jane Scantlebury and Andrea Segall, both Librarians at the Central Library in Berkeley, California, apparently had quite an affect as the library board ultimately did not approve the cuts.

Hats off!

Initial tip via Resource Shelf.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Five Characteristics of a Professional

1. Take advantage of every opportunity. I started my career as a hairstylist. At conferences I am often asked how I become a speaker, author, and executive speech coach? By noticing and using every chance that turned up. Opportunity doesn't knock just once. It knocks all the time, though you may not recognize the sound. One technique is to learn from successful people by finding out how they achieved their success.

2. Start by asking questions. Successful people will share their knowledge and experiences with you if you ask good questions that stimulate their thinking and responses. The quality of the information you receive depends on the quality of your questions. The key to connecting with others is conversation, and the secret of conversation is to ask the right questions. A conversation can lead to a relationship, and a nurtured relationship can produce amazing results.

3. Dedicate yourself. Two questions you should ask yourself on a fairly regular basis are, "What can I do to contribute to my profession--to my employer and my professional association?" and "How can I be professionally accountable?" When you can do this, you'll get so much more than you give.

4. Use stories. Be inventive in selling yourself and your profession. Learn to network, one on one, by using memorable stories. Sometimes, it's appropriate to fade into the background. Most of us are shy in some situations. But, to be professionally accountable, you must be able to stand out and speak up. When you are in any situation where you're meeting the public, how do you introduce yourself? When people ask what you do, can you tell them in a way that will stick in their minds? I challenge you to come up with a one-sentence way of presenting yourself and your profession so that people will never forget. Create a vivid,visual picture of your job, its challenges and triumphs. People will remember the picture you create in their minds, rather than your words.

5. Develop your persuasive powers. Being professionally accountable means knowing how to influence people. President Dwight Eisenhower, said, "Leadership is the ability to decide what has to be done and then getting people to want to do it." How do you influence people? One of my clients is Horst Schulze, president of the Ritz Carlton hotels. He advises prospective employees,"We are all ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. Our guests pay our prices to have an experience, and it is your job to be part of that experience. You will never say, 'That is not in my job description,' and you will never bring your own problems to work." Obviously, this works at the Ritz Carlton. Do you have a similar motivator for yourself, your colleagues,and your fellow professionals? Are you persuasive in representing my company,department or association in public? More from


Guess what turned up in my Bloglines this morning?
BlogJunction! Congrats on joining the LIBlogosphere, WJ!

Promoting Free Stuff at the Library

Nice article about libraries from Gregory Karp, personal finance writer for The Chicago Tribune:

Perhaps the ultimate in careless spending is paying for something you can get free. And no place offers more valuable free stuff than your local public library.

A library card gives access to a plethora of freebies bought by your tax dollars, many you probably don't know about.

"In essence, you've prepaid for all of these services, so you may as well get good use out of them," said Jennifer Owens, adult services manager at the Fremont Public Library in Mundelein.

If you haven't visited a public library in a while, you may be surprised by the breadth of lending materials and services available. Of course, libraries offer books and magazines, which alone would save you about $140 a year on average, according to government consumer expenditure statistics. Read more...

Post Categories Installed

Well, after a bit of fun over the weekend, I managed wrap my head around fine tuning this site. I wanted to show post categories in the sidebar, and by combining and Rss Digest. The system works without too much trouble, despite the fact that I'm spamming my own content.

Having come from several years of blogging with Wordpress and the ability to use SQL, I am really used to having more flexibility in the template design.

Ah well, maybe one day I'll purchase a doman name and some hosting space for this place, but this will do for now.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Tag: Library Staff

What's a Tag?

No Posts Yet!
Congratulations, you've discovered a tag with no posts! To contribute to this tag, just make a post to your blog about library staff and include a link to this page like so:

Now there is!

Since Blogger doesn't use categories, I'm going to try Technorati Tags, which also incorporates a kind of Social Bookmarking that has peaked my interest...more later.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

In the Year 2014

Epic 2014. A scary, exciting vision of information dissemination in the not too distant future.

What will the information world be like in the year 2014? This highly polished, thoughtful piece gives us one compelling possibility. Highly recommended. People will be talking about this. From the Library Autonomous Zone

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Miss Gulch

We're currently working on getting all the branches and departments on the same page procedurally on our cataloging software, and I'm scheduling short mandatory training sessions at various locations around the system. I have the feeling they hear The Wicked With of the East theme song as I come in the door.

The last time we did mandatory training I verbalized this thought, even did a few notes of the song...And got a laugh! As LJ Mover & Shaker Michael Stevens puts it, "Humor works."

Maybe I can do Library on Fire when I do disaster planning training next month.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Praising Library Personnel

Personnel at the circulation desk in the library aren't just there to check the library's physical materials out and back in, and to collect fines on overdue materials. They, too, are trained to address reference queries from all the patrons. They have an excellent grasp of the library's resources and have also been trained to locate information of all sorts and provide you with access to it. While these people may be swamped with a line of patrons waiting to be taken care of, they may also politely refer you to another librarian at the reference desk. They have a very tough job too! In Praise of Library Personnel, George G. Morgan,

Link via

Monday, April 18, 2005

Powerpoint Companion to Defusing the Angry Patron

CoverDealing with an angry patron is one of the most difficult (and possibly dangerous!) things we do in a library. Often, staff need assistance to know how to deal with and counter anger. Many libraries already have a copy of Defusing the Angry Patron: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians by Rhea Joyce Rubin. The book does an excellent job of explaining the behavioural aspects of anger in a non-technical manner and allows the reader to explore his or her personal reactions. When applied, these real-life theories really work!

Course objective:
  • Put anger into context
  • Offer various techniques or strategies using real library situations
  • Provide tools on the job for handling anger

    Materials Suggested:
  • Defusing the Angry Patron: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians by Rhea Joyce Rubin. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman, 2000.
  • Powerpoint presentation
  • Sunday, April 17, 2005

    Perceptions from Our First Week

    Opening week here at Library Supporter has been alot of fun. Bloglines notes that our feed now has 21 subscribers. Sending thanks, I got a mention in Neat New Things by "Librarian without Walls" Marylaine Block and J Baumgart said it was "Great Stuff!"

    And from someone outside the library blog world, or as I like to call it, the LIBlog O'Sphere:

    Bloody hell, could you imagine writing a blog dedicated to your job? Of course, Librarian is a comedy euphemism that I like to use for ladylovers. Perhaps then, the Library Supporter blog is dating site for gay women? Get it bookmarked, folks! Get a Life!
    I've studied the public perception of library staff for awhile, but this is a new one. ;)

    The Litblog Co-Op

    A great resource for Reader's Advisories!

    Marking a departure from the solitary life of reading and writing, about 20 independent literary bloggers announced last week that they will begin working together in hopes of drawing readers to books they feel deserve more attention.

    Calling themselves the Litblog Co-Op, the effort includes the sites the Elegant Variation, Moorishgirl, Rake's Progress and Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, all of which will continue to operate separately, the bloggers say.

    Key to the effort is the Read This! campaign they've created, in which five of the bloggers will each nominate a title he or she thinks deserves readers' attention, then the co-op will vote for one to promote jointly. The first title (four will be selected each year) will be announced May 15 on the group's Web site, Associated Press via The Wichita Eagle

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Feeling Good at the Library

    From the Feel-Good Librarian

    One of the things I like about the public library is that many of the questions we answer are relevant to people’s lives. The information they are looking for is important to them; it matters. Ideas are also important, but these questions move past ideas and into reality; practical application of ideas, not just speculation. Read more...

    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    The Library Burnout Factor

    The very nature of library work predisposes us to burnout. A normal library workday can be described as a continuous round of interruptions. When demands for our services (including reference questions and reader's advisory) roll in, we must refocus ourselves to find the answers and set aside whatever else we have been working on. These constant breaks in our day interrupt the flow of our concentration and make it hard for us to complete our tasks. The repetitive nature of library work induces monotony; boredom can easily set in by doing things over and over again, making us prime candidates for burnout. From Running on Empty: Dealing with Burnout in the Library Setting by Tim and Zahra M. Baird, published at
    The authors go on to suggest that burnout is an extreme consequence of workplace stress and that investing time in oneself outside of work may ease the symptoms.

    This is definately an issue in Libraries, and I would like to agree that you do have the power to change how your work environment affects your life!

    Jux2 Metasearch

    click here for larger view

    I've gotten attached to Google, but now I see I am not quite getting all possible results in my searches.

    Try Jux2 and see what you're missing!

    Link via "Google Friend or Foe" at Inside Higher Ed through a post at LIS News.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Blogging 101

    Five reasons why you should get into blogs, if you haven't already:

    1. You get a direct line into the thinking of important people in the field, think Jonathan Schwartz or Tim Bray (Sun), Miguel de Icaza or Nat Friedman (Novell), Bob Sutor or Alan Brown (IBM), Don Box or Robert Scoble (Microsoft), Adam Bosworth (Google), Dan Gillmor (San Jose Mercury News), Jon Udell (Infoworld), Steve Gillmor, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, and many others. It's unfiltered and in their own words. This means a lot of typos and misspellings (my blog being exhibit A of that), but also an up to the minute take, in their own words.

    2. Reading from a news aggregator is a *much* quicker way of reading news. For example, when I log in in the morning and hop over to Bloglines, in one interface I can see what around 70 people, along with news outlets like the NY Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe, or groups like, the Mono Project, Google, or GNOME have to say. Sure beats visiting the hundred or so websites individually to see if they might have some updated content to read.

    3. The group mind knows things that one mind can't. There's no better example of this than Slashdot, where a post will bring thousands of different opinions and facts together in one place. That sort of group aggregate information assembly is very difficult if not impossible for one person, but trivial for the blogging world.

    4. You get a much better picture of the individuals involved; what they're working on, what their concerns are, sometimes even what their favorite restaurant is. It's a different way to build relationships. Not a replacement for personal interaction, of course, but one that has its place and has a lot more scale to it. If you're a PR/AR person trying to get my attention, for example, it might help to know something about me.

    5. You heard it here first. Blogs very commonly have announcements and news long before the mainstream media has heard, digested, and written it up. It's a nice complimentary source for the mainstream media, and it's a highly effective tap into the pulse of important news and announcements. From How to Get Into Blogs, 101 at tecosystems.
    The article also has an excellent tutorial on setting up a Bloglines feed like the one we use here.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    Happy National Library Workers Day!

    The ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) has promoted National Library Workers day since June 24, 2003. During the 2002–2003 Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada, the resolution was approved by the ALA Council to honor library workers on National Library Workers Day, which will be held on the Tuesday of National Library Week each year.

    This year the ALA-APA hosted a webinar through the Dynix Institute, "Making the Connection: How Salaries Affect Recruitment in Libraries" featuring ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano who introduced the program and gave a “state of the industry” analysis of how the library world is changing in relation to the economy and the population. The groundbreaking film, “Working @ Your Library: For Love or Money?” was shown.

    The free, archived video presentation may be found

    Click Here!

    Writing for the Web's Malcom Davison offers another insightful article on training for web communicators, however in his arguments for using "Click here" as a link phrase he does not mention one important factor: the intended audience of the web page. Trainers, especially, often have to be very specific in writing HTML and linkage so that everyone has access to the same information no matter their skill level.

    Tip via Poynter Online.

    CAPC Publishes "Source of Title Note for Internet Resources" Draft

    We want to remind folks that this document is intended to serve as a best practice guide developed by a community of electronic and audiovisual catalogers. Like most best practice guides, it has been developed because existing resources have not fully addressed the needs of working catalogers. More at Catalogablog
    DRAFT - Source of Title Note for Internet Resources
    Online Audiovisual Catalogers Cataloging Policy Committee (CAPC)

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    WebJunction Offers Courses, Community

    First on the agenda here at Library Supporter: spread the word about WebJunction!

    In 2002, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) a three-year grant to build a portal for public libraries and other organizations that provide open access to information. Building on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's five-year-old U.S. Library Program, which has provided over 40,000 computers with Internet access to more than 10,000 libraries across the United States and Canada, WebJunction is the work of five organizations, led by OCLC.
    Don't know enough about searching the web to help your patrons? Would you like to find out how to troubleshoot your PC so when you call the Systems Room you won't sound like an idiot? Try the free, webased courses over at The Learning Center. Perhaps you need a little boost? Try All Aboard!, WebJunction's Community Center, where you can share ideas, brainstorm, ask questions... or just say three words.

    I guess I need to mention that I'm proud to be a Webjunction Advocate. ;)

    Library Support Staff in an Age of Change

    We can expect support staff to be used increasingly in both new and reconfigured roles, in many cases performing tasks previously considered to be the exclusive province of librarians. In addition to increased responsibility for the direct provision of information to patrons, support staff will assume increased supervisory responsibility, including the hiring, training and evaluation of staff; complex support roles in computer technology and applications; and an ever greater responsibility for cataloging, acquisition, document delivery, and interlibrary loan. It is likely that eventually support staff will be granted primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations of our libraries. Read more...

    History of Library Support Staff

    The history of support staff helps us know who we are and where we came from and goes back to the roots and evolution of the library itself. Generally, libraries have existed since records were first kept. The first libraries may well have been established by Stone Age cave people. One cave person's thoughts and experiences, painted on a cave wall, were considered worthy of saving, to keep and share with neighbors and future cave people.

    As these expressions and records evolved from pictures to clay tablets to printed letters on paper, thoughts became portable and collectible. These collections took a formal arrangement in the record rooms or archives in the ancient world of Babylonia and Assyria. By the 14th century B.C., Egyptian manuscripts referred to early libraries and by 537 B.C. Athens could claim the establishment of the first public library.

    Technological advances, like the printing press and movable type, helped create more books for more people. At the same time these books became available, a parallel development of educational institutions helped create a literate society. Read more...

    No, I'm not a Librarian, but...

    ...I can help you.

    To the general public, anyone who works behind a Circulation Desk or tells a story at Story Hour in the library is a professional librarian. Library support staff may not have an MLS, but they are paraprofessionals, clerks, cataloging technicians, administrative assistants and more. Sometimes they are professionals in their own fields.

    Personally, I hold a Bachelor of Communications degree, am Staff Development and Training Coordinator for a large public library system in the Southeast, a member of ALA and PLA, a WebJunction Advocate, and a member of my State's library service continuing education committee.

    We, as a collective, are all those things that keep the Library running smoothly.

    My purpose in this blog is to address the major issues confronting Library support staff and to provide information and resources that can be used in our careers.

    I hope you find it useful.

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Hello World!

    Happy National Library Week!