the thing about meetings…

So you know when you’re in library school, and you’ve got to do all that group work, and you fall back into the old grade-11-calculus-doubting-mode where you constantly demand to know “When are we EVER going to use these skills?!” ?

Well my fellow librarians, all that group-work skill you picked up while slaving over your portion of that inevitably shoddy frankenstein of a report actually DOES come in handy in your real job! Yep, that’s right, you heard it here first folks!

One of the biggest surprises for me so far has to be the amount of meetings that an academic librarian ends up taking part in. There are SO many meetings! Long ones, brief ones, informative ones, boring ones, ones where you are totally distracted and ones where they serve delicious food…(ok, I’ll admit the ones with food almost inevitably end up being the distracted ones…and they also somehow feel brief. So, these adjectives are not mutually exclusive).

I have suddenly become that person that has to “check their schedule” (because my own schedule no longer relies on just ME)…and I kind of like it!

And that’s just the thing. As a new librarian, the sooner you realize how to communicate and behave in a meeting environment, the more pleasant and productive your meetings (and your work) will be! Some basic points to observe:

– Speak in turn.
– Read the agenda BEFORE the meeting has begun.
– Bring note-taking materials.
– Take. Notes. (with followups and takeaways)
– Brush up on your appropriate vocabulary and speak very VERY politely.
– Be strategic, get your message across without stepping on toes or offending anyone.
– Meetings are not the same as debates.
– Be engaged

And here’s the REAL thing: the sooner you stop seeing meetings as obligations, and start to see them more as learning opportunities, the better.


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Anatomy of a Librarian

If not informative, then just generally fun to look at [kind of like a weather girl]


++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Anatomy of a Librarian | Infographic |
Image Source:

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Social Media Style.

Yesterday’s post had me describing why I’m finding it important to share multi-media content through the library’s social networks. What I failed to share was my original idea for really taking this notion & running with it …a library Style blog! Or, more accurately, a library Style feature, either on Facebook or linked to Facebook through a Tumblr blog.

I figure that since our students have such amazing style, this might be a good way to highlight their talent and creativity while prompting them to connect with us through Facebook tags and tumblr reblogs, and check back for the promise of updates [think: placing them in the library, and placing the library in their cyber sociality].

Who doesn’t want to be given kudos for their sense of style? more importantly,who doesn’t want photographic evidence of aforementioned kudos from a third party to rub into their friends faces?[don’t even think about lying, you totally do]

This project is stalled, however, by privacy concerns, rights waivers (which are exhaustive and super redundant but required), and sharing restrictions. All of which are being dealt with as I type. My favourite work-around to date is introducing the Style feature through a once-a-week event for, say, a month, after which we would invite students to submit their own photos and avoid the heap of legal-administrative concerns all together!

yay for using social media to help tell our student’s daily “stories”, and double yay for not letting boring paperwork get in the way of a fun idea!

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productivity and comfort.

 Be forwarned: I am playing around with the alignment justification of my text today, yep, its one of THOSE days, so if you’re up for it, here’s my actual post…

Walking through the library today,I’ve  noticed a marked shift in the students’ attire. Maybe it’s  half-way-through-the-week fatigue, or the stress of this time of year, but our perpetually dolled up and styled student population seems to be preferring sweats and hoodies to their usual skinny jeans and leather jackets…which made me wonder about the library’s role in the exam-induced comfort craving that is upon us, and how students feel about the physical space that is the library.

Really, I guess this is just a long-winded way for me to have gotten around to realizing the importance of sharing multi-media on social media.

 I’m suggesting  that we could use social media channels to build or reinforce feelings of comfort and security that is so important for students to associate with the library. Tweeting candid shots of students curled up with their laptops, identifying a particularly cozy nook to study in, or sharing the type of music that someone is listening to in their headphones while working on their assignment in the computer lab, are all messages that not only reconnect students to their library spaces, but also create moods and associate feelings of belonging and ownership that are so vital to the student library experience. “The library” should be a place of intellectual inspiration and creativity, a place for group work and collaboration and faculty interaction, a place where students feel comfortable and unafraid to ask questions.

The way I see it, media-rich communication through social networks is what  might make all the difference between the library being just a resource gateway, and the library being a sanctuary of knowledge and support.

p.s. how awesome would it be to actually have the library feel like a home library with cozy furniture and wooly blankets at your disposal [hmm, maybe this comfort craving thing is contagious…]

image source: November Vogue

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successful thought. Or, a thought on success.

Warning: you are about to board my train of thought. Keep arms and legs inside the cabin at all times, and prepare for some confusing turbulence.

So, social media is. period. And we, as people and as librarians need to sort out and negotiate how we will be living within the ubiquitous social media culture that surrounds us. Personally, I’ve made my peace and found my niche. Then, I think “well, Libraries need to be on social media” (because, duh, that’s kind of my job) and “social media is the chance to reconnect the drift created by digital resources” (no offence, love me some digitized manuscripts, not to MENTION those handy-dandy online article databases that have saved my behind more than once–you know that feeling, don’t tell me you haven’t been there.). So not only does social media help spread information, but it encourages a dialogue, and we know this. We know it helps people feel connected. We know its personal. And we know the library can benefit…but I just haven’t exactly figured out entirely how.  Or even my confident version of the why.

I am in no way suggesting ignoring social media here. In fact I strongly encourage participation and experimentation (you know, in college…nevermind.) In fact, development and innovation come from actively going for it, rather than speculating. But before we begin throwing out hash tags, we need a pragmatic understanding of what social media is, how it can be most effectively applied to libraries, and, most importantly, we need to reach an honest understanding of what real success is in this realm.

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“real” good, feel good.

I’ve spent quite a bit of my time recently researching clever new marketing strategies and communications incentives to get our Twitter followers really amped and excited.

But between intriguing tag lines and clever tweet phrasing, I’ve come to realize that nothing, so far, has been as gratifying as when someone out there in the inter-webs decides to put an inkling of thought into a reply to your post.

Don’t get me wrong. Retweets are splendid and “likes” are swell, comments like “that’s awesome”, and “great idea” are terrific as well (wow, look who’s turning all Dr.Seuss on you). But to receive a thoughtful suggestion, or equally-clever response to my oh-so-wry tweet is truly a pleasure.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but just a reminder that in a network where the quantity of followers, friends, and hits seems to be the easiest way to understand and make sense of one’s social media prowess, don’t overlook the quality of your interaction.In a world where our devices prompt us to “touch” our social communications through a screen, what we’re really looking for is to feel something.

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Monday Mid-Afternoon Breakthrough (sort of).

Ask and ye shall receive. Anybody else who’s thought that to be a bit of a grand statement? Well, I’ve got to tell you that I have just proven that in some cases, it really is that simple.

I’ve been struggling with my library’s Facebook presence. Currently, it is a page with over 180 “like”-ers, that goes totally unnoticed.

So I dropped in on a library committee meeting that included some of our students, and all it took were a few sweeping questions about social media and Facebook traffic to get them throwing suggestions at me! The top few include an articulation of not wanting to be “bombarded” by an organization on FB (bombardment on Twitter is still  fair game), an urge to reach out to new incoming students who are unaware of the value of their voice for the library, and a reminder to, above all else, remain human (sound human, not corporate).

Which brings us to our shining contribution. I raised the question of students having difficulty being “friends” with an organization (currently, we can only be “liked” as a page, not friended, because we are not Facebook PEOPLE, but a Facebook THING). On the flip side, when suggesting to librarians that they should create dedicated FB profiles to communicate with students, both the librarians AND the students seem to pull back from this type of relationship. So now what?

Well, one student suggested an idea that I had previously disregarded as a silly marketing tactic…Cartoons! She suggested creating a fictional character to represent the library on Facebook, and was joined with nods and “oh yeah”s all around!

Upon some very light reflection, I’ve decided that this might just be the treasured compromise between interacting with “someone”, without having to put much thought in to the relationship you (the student) are forging with a perceived authority figure (me, the librarian–hah!).

So I ran off and created my first attempt at a fictional “librarian-type” FB character. I wonder if she’ll have better luck with her “friends” out in the Facebook world. All you got to do is ask, right?

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