Professional Development

Author Archive

SELA/COMO

Monday, October 13, 2014 11:35 am

I currently serve as the North Carolina Library Association’s state representative to the Southeastern Library Association (SELA). SELA currently has about 250 members and generally partners with southeastern Library State Association Conferences to hold their annual meetings. The last time it met jointly with North Carolina was back in 2004 in Charlotte. I was approached at this conference and asked concerning the possibility of North Carolina hosting SELA during our 2017 conference which is to be held here in Winston Salem.

SELA’s 2014 conference met jointly with the Georgia Library Association (GLA) and the Georgia Association for Instructional Technology, Inc. (GAIT) collectively referred to as the Council of Media Organizations (COMO) in Augusta, Georgia during October 1 – 3. The conference theme was “Transforming our Libraries: Master the Possibilities in Augusta.”

NCLA was well represented at the SELA conference. Kathy Bradshaw (UNCG) and I teamed up to present “Leading from the Middle: Are You Ready?” Middle managers are often in a difficult position; not always the ones to have a hand in developing the strategies and subsequent decisions, but generally the one tasked with seeing that they are implemented. We shared with the audience details surrounding the values middle managers bring to an organization, discussed some of the common challenges they face, outlined the most desirable managerial traits and also offered suggestions on how they might be best prepared for the job. As a leader, when your staff think of the following traits, will they think of you? Are you competent, honest, trustworthy, fair, consistent, passionate, empathetic and approachable? In conclusion we offered practical solutions to a few of the audience participants’ real life quandaries.

Michael Crumpton, also of UNCG, shared insight on “Meeting the Challenge of Community College Librarianship: Trends Ahead and Competencies needed.” Community Colleges serve about 50% of all undergraduates in the United States. Most have the least amount of staff, many lack the range of critical resources all of this while serving the most diverse student populations. Changes within the high school curricula such as the creation of early and middle college programs are among the many trends which continue to have huge implications to the work of Community College librarians. I found this statistical data, as it relates to community colleges, most interesting.

  • Over 1200 Nationwide
  • Over 12.4 million enrolled
  • Average age = 28
  • 15% age 40 plus
  • 42% first generation
  • 58% women
  • 45% minorities
  • Large % employed

Crumpton’s second presentation ran concurrently with the session I presented in, so I was unable to attend. He spoke, upon my request, to our statewide planning efforts in the creation of the NCLA Leadership Institute. His presentation may well serve as a resource for my upcoming conversation with SELA board members around the possibility of conducting a regional leadership institute.

The “Virtue of Value-Based Leadership” session leader reminded attendees that librarians have a long history of upholding intellectual freedom, equal access to information for all, privacy and other social values. However, when library leaders design programs, services and other offerings do those values remain at the heart of the libraries and librarians? Do we empower our staff to make values based decisions? Are the values of the University interwoven within the library mission statement? Does your library clearly state and share its values with the public? I was eager to say that our library does!

Trevor Dawes, ACRL President, was the closing keynoter. He shared more on his campaign for libraries to partner with campus financial aid and student services offices in the fight for financial literacy. Of student debt, roughly 26% of it comes from cost associated with the purchasing of textbooks. Are libraries willing to take the fight for open educational resources? Washington University partnered with a local bank conducting an informational session around financial literacy. Attendees indicated that they found the program worthwhile. Topics suggested for future conversations centered on loans, budgets and investment strategies. Also RUSA was recently awarded an IMLS grant to create a best practices document on this topic.

Wanda @ ALA 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014 8:33 am

ALA in Las Vegas was indeed a hot and draining adventure for me, but surprisingly not for my hair. I have decided that climate (one that lacks humidity) works perfectly and that I should move west some day. Recently re-elected to a two year term on the Executive Board, I was happy to join my colleagues at the BCALA leadership retreat on Thursday evening. Friday BCALA Executive Board members continued discussing issues around membership recruitment and retention, web page design and upkeep, as well as the 2016 ALA meeting in Orlando. BCALA has written a formal letter of concern over the American Library Association’s decision to convene in Florida because of its’ take on the “Stand-your-ground law.” We did decide not to boycott, but to go specifically in support of the businesses of color. BCALA would love to have Trayvon Martins’ parents, Sybrina Fulton and/or Tracy Martin join the membership meeting as keynoters. I will work with a task-force charged to further investigate this idea.

Saturday I began familiarizing myself to the LLAMA Vice Chair Human Resources section responsibilities. From what I observed, this year I just attend meetings and acquaint myself with others in preparation for my task in 2015 of appointing members and chairs to the six sub-committees within the HR section. My Leadership Skills committee continued to finalize program proposal ideas for our program at annual. We are also planning for a pre-conference for annual of 2016 tentatively entitled “Out With the Old, In with the New: Recruitment and Retention Strategies that Work.”

The ACRL Personnel Administrators Group meets twice at mid-winter and at annual. Both meetings centered around issues on hiring practices, organizational development and work life balance. One presenter who spoke about using the Strength Finders assessment tool as the foundation for reorganization, quoted someone from here at ZSR referring to Strengths Finders as a life changing good thing. Not sure who you were, but you did make an impression! I really enjoyed the discussions around diversity recruitment. One library representative shared their practice of having applicants answer a question around how they as individuals would contribute to diversity on that campus. I really liked the concept behind this and think I would like to form a similar styled question for use during my interview with potential new hires. I’m not so sure I buy the written statement approach, but I do plan to follow up with the presenter to get more insight into this practice.

In a session that puts together Diversity Counselors and others, the topic of cultural competence and retention arose. It was this session that re-energized my desire to have a Diverse Librarian in residence here at ZSR. You may remember that Lynn submitted a funding proposal for this concept via the appropriate campus channels a few years back. Though unsuccessful, Lynn has continued in her fight to diversify library staffing with implementation of programs such as the “Sutton Rule.” Perhaps now would be a good time to consider resubmitting since we will have “Friend” in the Provost office who just might be in a position to advocate for us.

I was introduced to what appears to be a spectacular 2014 class of ARL Leadership and Career Development Program participants. Graduates showcased details of their individual projects during the poster sharing session. A few of the topics I noted were, the role of the digital humanities librarian, use of multimedia in reference and instruction, social sciences librarian attitudes on data research, community engagement and scholarship, reference and instruction for international students and how to support Latino librarians. You can meet the entire class here. ARL LCDP 2013-14.

This conference was full of meaningful conversations around personnel related issues. It was a most worthwhile trip. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

TALA Paraprofessional Conference – 2

Friday, May 23, 2014 11:22 am

As you know the Triad Academic Library Association (TALA) held its first conference of library paraprofessionals last week. Let me share just a little more history behind the conference. The idea for the conference came from Rosann Bazirjian, Dean of Libraries over at UNC-G back in 2012. Rosann enlisted support from our Dean and Joan Ruelle Library Dean over at Elon. They both agreed that the idea was one most worthy or pursuing and these three subsequently ended up financing the entire conference. They then took their idea to the other TALA deans and directors where it received support as well. So in late 2012 representatives from most of the TALA libraries started work planning for the event. Anna Milholland and I were the initial representatives from Wake Forest. Of course this was prior to Anna’s leaving for Salem College. Committee members met for about once a month to begin and increased with frequency as the conference date grew closer. We owe a special thanks to Craig Fansler for designing the conference logo. In the early stages of planning our targeted number for attendance was around fifty, but we were pleasantly surprised to see that number escalate to more than a hundred. The day was a spectacular one in that it met our expectations. We wanted our library paraprofessionals to have a day of their own; one with workshops, presentations, discussion groups and networking opportunities. Captured below are a few takeaways from the day.

On Tuesday May 13th I attended, along with many from ZSR, the first TALA Paraprofessional Conference held at UNC-G. After a great keynote given by three separate deans, Lynn, Rosann Bazirjian from UNC-G, and Joan Ruelle from Elon I attended a session called Staying Relevant: The New Technical Services. I chose this to gain a better understanding of the different tools available to our Resource Services department in doing their day to day job. After lunch which included a high energy Career Branding presentation by Patrick Madsen from UNC-G, I attended Mary Beth’s and Craig’s presentation on Emergency Procedures. They both did a great job and many questions and conversation followed. It was a good day and even though I did not connect with my counterpart from any other libraries I enjoyed the fellowship of all the other paraprofessionals of the TALA committee. – Tim

Of all the sessions I attended at the TALA Conference I particularly enjoyed the session led by Patrick Madsen of UNCG, on Career Branding. Madsen is the director of Career Services at UNCG and I found his approach and energy level very unique especially for a library conference. His main thrust was that we as individuals control our brand and success and failure in the workplace can be determined not just by our level of skill in our work, but in our social connections with co-workers and our attitude. Since ZSR is such a service focused workplace I thought this was very relevant session. – Bradley

I attended the session, Staying Relevant: The New Technical Services, because it was mostly out of my area of work and I wanted to peek behind the curtain. The speakers didn’t get “technical” but rather addressed common concerns we have in all areas of academic libraries. They pointed out that their staff (both librarians and paraprofessionals) is shrinking so it’s important to demonstrate the value of the work they’re doing. I appreciated their support for training and professional development and they gave good examples of where those opportunities are available. (see speaker slides) Shannon Tennant from Elon University pointed out the importance of visibility in making the needs and value of your department known within your institution. I think ZSR does a good job of letting people know who we are and what we do but it was an encouraging reminder. Both the lunch speaker, Patrick Madsen, the Director of the Career Services Center from UNCG, and Shannon Tennant encouraged the attendees to identify our strengths and apply them to our work. I hope to do some personal reflection on this point to better target the intersection of my interests and the needs of my ZSR team. I thought the conference was a great opportunity to see how other libraries confront common challenges. If this conference continues, I look forward to opportunities for more interaction between the attendees to discuss specific concerns. – Ellen M.

I really enjoyed the conference. The information was useful in the sessions I attended. I wish there was more time to talk to others who catalog. – Beth

The highlight of the conference for me was being able to spend the day with my ZSR Library colleagues who I don’t get to spend time with outside of the library. My favorite presentation was “Dealing with Different Types of Patrons” by John Champlin (WFU). It was good to be reminded that each patron is unique and helping each one based on their uniqueness and need gives the best service (students, staff, faculty, parents). – Kristen

The session of most interest to me was Technology, presented by Michael Vaughn from Elon. It was exciting to hear about new technology. The group was especially captivated about 3D printing. We actually got to hold an octopus he had printed! – Mary Reeves
Technical Services operations are changing from print based to digital. It is very important to have cross training within the department. We need to engage in more metadata clean-up services. - Doris

Students face many challenges during their college experience. Some are stressed, some relaxed. Some are prepared, some unprepared. Some are on the road to success, some sidetracked. Whatever the circumstance may be, we have many opportunities to make a difference in the students’ experiences at WFU. Helping them obtain the knowledge needed and serving them with kindness and smiling faces will set the stage for a successful study. Hopefully the ZSR library will not only impact their lives academically but be a place where they made many friends with students and staff. Technology continues to change the future of the library. Embracing this change and incorporating past successes will create new opportunities and new challenges. Our vision and attitudes could be the difference between success and failure. Being prepared for disasters before the event happens could be the difference between life and death. Preparedness reduces the amount of time for the actions that need to be taken. – Mark

I thought the conference gave us a great opportunity to meet and establish new relationships. There was a lot of emphasis on accepting change. The lunch speaker pointed out a lot of things that we do, but don’t realize they affect others. I think making people aware and just the realization that we sometimes do things without knowing will definitely make me more conscious of the energy that I give off. – Monesha

Providing quality service for internal and external patrons requires a balanced approach of discipline and empathy to minimize the price of non-conformance to library policies and procedures. To meet the needs of our patrons, libraries need to adapt and be flexible with ongoing trends in e-resources and non-traditional events and activities. – Travis

I found the TALA Paraprofessional Conference quite informative. The session on email and technology were of most interest to me. In the email session, one of the more vocal participants was my counterpart from the UNCG library. She brought up several of the same email issues I deal with concerning communicating with vendors. The session presenter gave excellent points on how to email vendors without assigning blame yet helping to initiate actions by the vendor to resolve the issue. – Prentice

Who knew this would be such a great experience meeting other third shift Paraprofessionals from across the Triad! Can’t wait until next year’s conference! Thanks so much to everyone that worked so hard in planning this year’s conference. – David

National Library Legislative Day

Friday, May 16, 2014 4:29 pm

On Monday May 5th I met up with some really cool people from across North Carolina and headed to Washington, DC for National Library Legislative Day. This year NCLA selected 12 students from an essay contest on the importance of libraries to also attend. Each winner was accompanied by one of their parents. State Librarian Cal Shepard, NCLA President Dale Cousins, and both chairs for the Advocacy Committee were also on board. The students were wonderful and their stories will make you “Happy” about the work of Librarians across our great state. You may meet the students and read their essays here.

This was indeed a tightly packed trip as we arrived just in time to join Librarians from all of the 50 States for the opening reception at the Hart Senate Building. The NC delegation was recognized for the second year in a row for having the most supporters attending. During the reception Rebecca Morris, choreographer for the “Happy Dance” and UNC-G LIS faculty member, taught the dance steps to all of the audiences willing participants. It was a lot of fun! Afterwards it was back to the bus for a late 9:00 pm dinner.

The next morning we were off to meet with NC Representatives and Senators. My group met with aides for Walter Jones, Jr. (3rd District), George Butterfield (1st District), David Price (4th District) and Senator Richard Burr. Our advocacy conversations focused on the Library Services and Technical Act (LSTA), the Innovative Approach to Literacy (IAL), and Workforce Development. New in format this year, we allowed the student winners to have a voice in our advocacy efforts. It was good to hear them plea for books so they wouldn’t have to stare at computer screens for extended periods of time and for more reliable broadband reducing the frequencies of which their work is lost. We were on the steps of the Capital preparing for our photo op with Senator Burr when we were suddenly TOLD to leave the area because a dignitary was arriving. It turned out that Vice-President Biden was the star of the moment coinciding with a scheduled press conference concerning the extension of unemployment benefits.

Our final event was the rally for libraries which we organized. It was held on the lawn across from the Capital. ALA President Barbara Stripling, ALA Legislative Day staff, as well as a few of the Librarians who learned the “Happy Dance” the night before, all joined in with our group giving speeches and holding signs. Each of the students shared their views on the importance and value of libraries. And of course the finale was the “Happy Dance.”

 

 

The Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:10 am

Thanks to a scholarship from the University I was able to spend March 12- 15 in Charlotte attending the Inaugural Winter Institute for Cultural Communication sponsored by the Institute and the Wake Forest Office of Diversity & Inclusion. It was a great gathering of about 80 attendees; thirty of which were from WFU. The Institute offered a choice of four different three day classes. During breaks and meals together, it was obvious that folks were all engaging in some pretty lively discussions. My class choice entitled Emotional Intelligence and Diversity: Building the Personal Infrastructure for Interpersonal and Organizational Effectiveness was taught by Lee Gardenswartz and was one of the best I’ve had on this particular topic.

Like me, you may be wondering how these two concepts Emotional Intelligence and Diversity work together within the workplace. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand and manage our emotions and those around us. Emotions are at the heart of our energy and motivations. Emotions drive behavior. They are fundamental in how we react to the differences we see in others. Gaining understanding and mastery over our emotions leads to greater success as an employee, manager or leader. Emotions are the source of energy for doing the right and the smart thing. Each day’s class featured role playing, self-exploration and tons of spirited conversation. Class discussions focused around these four key elements:

Affirmative Introspection addresses why we behave and react the way we do. The more we know about ourselves and how life experiences have shaped who we are and how we respond to any given situation, the more we can manage our emotions. The more we understand and manage our emotional responses, the more comfortable we are in working relationships, the more effective we are in our daily interactions and the more we are at peace within our own skin.

Self-governance enables one to gain mastery over the feelings that arise when facing uncertainty, change and difficult people. This aspect of Emotional Intelligence involves dealing with the ambiguity that diverse environments bring. Management of our own mental self-talk is seen as crucial. Bringing logic, accuracy and reason to the forefront aids in mastering self-talk aids and in governing our emotions.

Intercultural Literacy involves understanding others cultural rules, norms and values, while being able to empathize with them and walk in their shoes. Resist the temptation to judge as inferior, styles, customs and values that are different from your own. Each culture has its’ own set of norms. Rules for “polite behavior” differ from culture to culture, family to family and even from person to person. Empathizing demonstrates caring and understanding. What do we as an organization do to learn about the cultures of those we serve and interact with daily?

Social Architecting is an intentional and conscious decision to build productive relationships by serving as a cultural interpreter. The Interpreter helps others understand the different cultural perspectives involved in situations. Serving as a cultural interpreter involves these “mindful” steps: being aware of our first reaction to and interpretation of an event, suspending our judgment of it, identifying alternative ways of understanding it and finally having a repertoire of choices in responding to the situation in order to increase our effectiveness with others.

I have a workbook on each of the elements. This is really good stuff. I would love to continue conversations around this topic and/or share the material with anyone who’s interested.

ALA Midwinter with Wanda

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 11:59 am

Continuing in my quest to get more involved with the Library Leadership and Management Section (LLAMA), I attended my first meeting as Member at Large for the Human Resources Section. I had a dual role during the meeting as I also reported for the Leadership Skills Committee, of which I am also a member. In late fall I was asked to run for Chair-Elect of the Human Resources Section. To be honest I wasn’t sure how all this aligned with my current service as Member at Large. I kept trying to get the LLAMA organization visually in my head. I found this LLAMA organization chart from 2012 and it does help some to make all this clearer. I thought you might also like to see the other areas of emphasis.

I enjoy the work of Human Resources, so I can’t believe that I will not for a second be fully engaged in this work. As we outlined a program proposal on leading virtual teams, I knew this area was a good fit for me. What are some of the best practices around leading teams of which the lead has no real authoritative power? What are some of the tools available for hosting virtual meetings? How do you keep members motivated and on task? One committee member suggested we partner with LITA on this program. Of course one hurdle is getting board approval to host at this annual and not annual 2015. Discovering at this meeting that our timeline was off, we immediately began discussing ideas for our program at annual of 2015. Our next program will look at ways to identify unconscious biases and understand how they impact your everyday beliefs and interactions. The program will also offer strategies for overcoming unconscious biases.

During the ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group meeting, I heard Karen Calhoun share details on the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System Leadership Development Program. This is an internal to Pittsburgh program open to any library worker. Both Librarian and library worker may elect to self nominate or may be nominated by the Dean or supervisor. With an annual budget of $25,000, Karen manages a 9 month program that seeks to make strong people even stronger. Attendees learn to identify and acknowledge their own individual strengths and then how to make best use of them to benefit the library. Other session topics include time management, organizational change, effective meetings, project management, managing your professional image, team-building, crucial conversations and communication planning. Change within our libraries has to occur quickly, so a lot of emphasis is placed on leading from right where you are. From the audience came concerns on the benefits of having open and free flowing conversations and how this might be dampened with attendees all coming from the same organization.

We also heard from UNC-Charlotte’s University Librarian, Stanley Wilder who gave a review of Library demographics within ARL Libraries. Though he spoke primarily on ARL trends, I found much of what he said to be right on the mark for ZSR Library as well. We have been hearing for years now about the graying of the profession and the big retirement trending. Around 2009/10 we were right in the middle of it. With the economic downturn during this same time some elected to push retiring back a few more years. Those retirements however made way for libraries to evolve and meet the current needs of their users. Look back a few years and you’ll see we were able also to do the same. Positions such as Scholarly Communications, Access Archivist, and Instructional Design were made possible from staff retirements. Wilder stated that libraries are paying more for in many cases fewer positions. Student assistant hiring is down 25% and down in expenditures 3%; support staff though down 20%, expenditures are up 25%; professionals up 10.5% and up 57.5% in expenditures. Also the focus on IT skills has impacted the gender swing in libraries.

Of course I spent considerable amounts of time with my BCALA family and did my usual tour of the exhibits. It was here that I took my one conference photo. It’s not a great photo, but I am always amazed at bravery in any form. And you must admit that one has to be pretty brave to wear this outfit when there’s snow outside all around. STimaging paid tribute to breast cancer awareness with a bright pink scanner and of course a salesperson willing to be on the spot!

Culture Keepers VIII

Friday, August 30, 2013 11:57 am

Culture Keepers VIII: Challenges of the 21st Century – Empowering People, Changing Lives was the theme of this year’s conference of African American Librarians. The conference, sponsored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was held August 7 – 11, in Covington, Kentucky. This conference, though probably not intentional on the planners, does more than inform and educate. It brings librarians of color together and magically fosters a spirit of acceptance, appreciation, collaboration and unity to those who attend. Many of the librarians in attendance come from institutions that have few folks who look like them within their staffing. At their state and local functions perhaps they’ll encounter a few others if they themselves attend. Of the speakers, we (librarians of color) are often thrilled if perhaps one of the keynoters is a minority, specifically an African American. So perhaps that helps you get just a glimmer of the pride I feel, and the motivation I get coming to this particular conference where at least 99% of the speakers and presenters are folks of color. Budgetary constraints, coupled with the host sight not being one of the popular let’s all go visit cities; attendance was lower than usual, around 215. Those low numbers however did not hamper at all the excitement you could see and hear throughout the convention center.

I volunteered for a community service project that involved supporting the local Kenton County Public Library which recently completed a 65,000 square foot, 12.5 million dollar renovation. The library has the largest genealogy collection in the country including a national Lieutenant Governor’s collection. Coincidentally this library was the first in the south to provide racially integrated service to all in their community. The volunteer project involved moving the children’s holiday collection from one sight to another. The books were already classed together by holiday, or so we thought. Our one dilemma occurred when we found books in the Christmas collection about Hanukkah shelved together with books on the Jewish Passover.

Dr. Melissa Harris Perry host of MSNBC’s weekend talk show was the opening keynoter. In a conversational styled interview, Melissa a Wake Forest University alumni, told the audience about her first library job here in the ZSR stacks, her steep learning curve as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago, her life as a black college student, woman and mother, and her work with Michele Obama in Chicago prior to the Obama election as President. Melissa shared the story behind how she became the Obama political expert. There was one statement she made that took me by surprise. When asked about her work as a student of theology she replied, I am searching for an answer. How is it that a people who have never known anything but generational bondage and inequality, would think that God loves them? The answer Perry says is not addressed in moral academic channels. Thanks to my colleague Julius Jefferson, I was able to have this photo taken with Dr. Harris Perry.

Conference programming planners gave attendees about two choices of workshops per schedule segment. Sometimes my choices were somewhat limited and focused heavily on the value of preserving African American heritage, culture and people. Empowering the Past: Telling Your Stories, gave examples on how one could take on the role of historian by collecting photographs and archives from their families to document the family history. An historical genealogy might include the political, the social, the sports great, the arts and entertainment and any other oddities that may have had an impact on the family and the life choices they’ve made. The example the presenter used detailed the life of her step father, a black plumber who worked on the “Hill District” a one-time thriving black area in Pittsburgh. Her photos and archival documentation depicted him as an ordinary man, a slave descendent, living through the Jim Crow era, raised as a sharecropper son, a World War II veteran, a worker in the steel mills and a black plumber who made weekly trips to the local Union requesting permission to join.

Giving Voice to Our Stories: Oral History as Integral to the Documentation and Preservation of African American History, was the title of the presentation given by Kelly Navies, Special Collections Librarian, District of Columbia Public Library. Her work focuses on collecting stories from the North Carolina Asheville area. Oral history is of particular importance to the African American community. It gives voices to members of the community who most would consider not worthy of historical documentation. We as Librarians are in a unique position with an opportunity to document gentrification and the closing of those schools valued by the African American community, racial profiling, return migration and incarceration. Generations of students will return again and again to hear these stories. They need to be captured. I regret not having my father tell me more about his service in World War II. I know he was stationed in Germany and that he was responsible for bringing ammunition to the troops, but little else. I seem to know more about the mistreatment he received upon his return to the United States. Perhaps that’s what stood out the most to him.

And yes there were numerous sessions on health and wellness efforts in the black community. One session encouraged attendees to pursue a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. Pursuing wellness is not only a personal benefit but also one that will advance and preserve a community of people. The author also addressed the implications of mental health and how it is responded to within the black church. Added stress levels which studies have shown have a direct correlation to cultural identity and all the “stuff” that comes with that. Documented incidents of invasive and horrendous treatment of African Americans and test subjects compel many African American to question the safety of clinical trials. A panelist of doctors shared insight coming from both angles. To see the worst of what can happen in clinical trials, check out this sight. http://www.holeinthehead.com/

To end on a much happier note, let me share how pleased I am about Lynn’s plan to implement the “Sutton Rule” (after the NFL’s Rooney Rule). As we search to fill future position vacancies, at least one of the candidates brought to campus must be a minority. I am very optimistic. It is so cool and worthy of duplication across the state within our North Carolina libraries. There we go again, leading by example!

 

Transforming Libraries- Wanda at ALA

Monday, July 1, 2013 7:08 pm

Let me first say that this has been one of my best ALA conference experiences, however, I am not a huge fan of Chicago as a conference site. It is so spread out and personally, I find it somewhat challenging crossing the street with 50 other folks at the same time. That aside, I have had a wonderful conference. During our BCALA Executive Board meeting our first order of business was to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries. This is intended to serve as a strong public statement of the value of libraries for individuals, communities and our nation. This is an initiative of incoming ALA President Barbara Stripling. With this libraries will have the opportunity to hold signing ceremonies where community members, organization officials and others can visibly sign and stand up for their right to have a vibrant school, public academic or special library in their community. I hope we can have a signing at ZSR.

My work with BCALA felt particularly rewarding. I really care about the organization and want it to be successful. In September 2012 BCALA President, Jerome Offord, asked me to chair a task force to review member recruitment and retention, the membership process, and the value of BCALA membership. The task force was asked to review BCALA current processes, create a survey to measure member engagement and satisfaction, and provide the association with a detailed report on the pros, cons, along with any recommended changes to enhance the association’s service to members. The whole process went well and our report which included recommendations was well received by the board. We were even asked to research further one of the recommendations and report back at Midwinter.

I attended both Saturday and Sunday’s ACRL Personnel Administrators & Staff Development Officers Discussion Group meetings where our agenda items included: new hire orientations, managing student workforce, and metrics in HR, Ipads in training, social media in recruitment and competencies for HR success. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to revise our new employee orientation for our library employees. It was good to hear what others include in there orientations. Metrics that show where we get the bulk of our applicants from, how long we take to fill a vacancy, how much we spend on an average vacancy were each of interest to me.

I attended Enhancing Services through Integration of Interlibrary Loan and Acquisitions and heard from three different libraries how they have made this approach. Libraries represented were Kansas State University, Indiana University and Fort Vancouver Regional Library. One of them left the lending portion of ILL in Access while moving the borrowing to acquisitions. Two of the sites actually didn’t actually relocate staff, just integrated practices. Knowledge of copyright issues and e-resources licenses, knowledge of acquisitions purchasing and receiving, and knowledge of purchase on demand requirements were amongst the motivations for the mergers.

Librarians explored diversity sensitivity against a desire to have retrospective collections in the session entitled, The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same…or do they? Presenters spoke on behalf of Native Americans, the LGBTQ community, folks with disabilities and African Americans. Each presenter gave examples of films and/or tv shows which in earlier years seem to take great pride in highlighting the more negative images of each. From the creepy lesbian, the unfaithful Indian, the ghetto black man to even the bookish librarian all were the central focus of some producer’s eye. While we don’t condone these images, we must strive to be as inclusive as possible in our collections. That means not only collecting these popular titles, but also going beyond to acquire documentaries that help to present a more balanced approach to that ethnicity or profession. I have several titles that were featured as examples that I am happy to share if you’d like to hear more.

The ACRL Assessment Group program was entitled, Wonder what the balanced score card really is? The balanced score card was defined as a way to use evidenced based practice to make decisions concerning processes. It really is a continuous improvement document. There are four main categories, user perspective, internal process, learning and growth and finance. Objectives are defined within each category, and then measures for success are identified and then the specific resulting action is scored and the strategic initiative is stated. One example used included as the objective – improve discovery of and access to scholarly resources, measures – use of licensed e-resources, strategic initiative – web site re-engineering. I think the process we have here at ZSR is very similar within our strategic planning processes. We identify and track the progress of our strategic initiatives. The one difference in this process, is that objectives are visited twice each year under the four categories. After administration reviews each area, the staff is included in the next round of conversations to obtain their observations, ideas or input concerning the initiative. So in the fall each topic is addressed and measured, staff are consulted in December with training where appropriate. Then in the spring those four areas are visited again, one at a time and then in May conversations with staff are held, and if necessary, training is offered again.

I was recently appointed to the LLAMA Leadership Skills Committee. Our program was entitled Project Management: a skill set every Librarian needs. Panelists representing academic, public and special libraries demonstrated their use of project management flowing. Crucial elements to this process require having a clear vision and understanding of the desired goal. Next obtain the full commitment from administration and leadership, establish a clearly defined process and lastly pull together a core group of desired people. Often times it is best to NOT have the person with the most knowledge about the situation serving as project manager because that person would have the tendecy to just do what they want without the consensus of the group. Communication is a must. Identify who the key stakeholders are, determine who will be responsible for communicating and how. Set a timeline and determine who will accomplish what. Have a formal hand-off between task and when complete, have a formal closeout and celebration.

Communicate with Confidence: One year to success, was a fun filled session with energetic speakers. Though the focus was on communicating, my take away was that you could use their recommendations to improve anything you desired. Start by agreeing to spend an hour each week towards this improvement plan. First identify what you do really well. This may take more than one week. Then later identify what you don’t do so well. Then spend at least an hour each week reading about that issue. This may be challenging, but you’ll need to find a way. This is just one specific issue that you’ve identified as necessary for you to have progress in this area. You may have other issues that are necessary for you to explore to get to your desired level. Talk to colleagues and get a mentor. Now identify how you can use what you have learned. Remember you are responsible for your own growth.

I hope if I have sparked your interest in any of these sessions, that you will drop me a note or join me for a cup of coffee/tea to talk further. I do enjoy sharing my notes.

CUPA Conference day 2

Thursday, May 16, 2013 12:39 pm

The second day of the CUPA HR conference was just as enlightening as the first. I began the day by attending Employee Recognition: A Look at the University of Oklahoma HR “STAHR” Program. The presenter Eric Sourie was filled with energy and enthusiasm as he delivered the program details. In the Oklahoma program STAHRs are recognized daily, quarterly with a luncheon and annually with a major celebration. The program is based entirely within Human Resources, a department of 72 employees. A STAHR is a Super Talented Associate of Human Resources. Sourie offered advice on building an effective recognition program. In a recognition program everyone should know exactly what the organization hopes to recognize? What behaviors do you want to reinforce? Is it the peers who recognize or is it the supervisor? Effective employee recognition programs reinforce the mission, vision and values of the organization and should be easy to administer. Above all they should be valued by the employees. For the most value, you really need to find out what the employees actually value. Sometimes there are challenges in maintaining enthusiasm and value around the program. It’s never a done deal, but more of a continuous cycle to evaluate, recognize, celebrate and then evaluate again. Programs should consider recognizing those: whose opinions are heard and valued, those who give extra effort, those who are examples to their peers, those who volunteer above and beyond, those vested in the success of the organization, proactive and those committed to excellence.

Creating a Culture of Respect on Campus: Developing Standards of Professionalism, explored how inappropriate interactions reduce optimum performance on our campuses and was led by Sibson Consulting representatives Barbara Butterfield and Robert Conlon. Values of the organization should be interwoven in the daily interactions of both faculty and staff. Professionalism actually starts within the search/interview process. The search committee and its interactions should display the highest levels of professionalism. This conveys the message of expectancy. Language that speaks to collegiality should be included in the job description. Professionalism is defined by respect, integrity, positive communication, fair, doing your best, knowledgeable, and controlling your emotions. Does professionalism matter? Yes it does! It should be communicated and modeled. Rochelle Arnold Simmons, Organizational Development Specialist at Johns Hopkins University, shared details of an active John’s Hopkins case study with the audience. Why would Johns Hopkins undertake a study centered on professionalism? As a leader in both teaching and research they need to be able to continue to attract and retain the best faculty, staff and students. The committee’s charge was to cultivate an environment/culture characterized by trust, mutual respect, open communications, accountability and collaborative interactions among all members of the Hopkins community and those they serve. A healthy campus has a climate of trust and respect, with work/life balance and ethics. It has behaviors conducive to physical intellectual, emotional, financial, social and spiritual well being. A healthy campus displays behaviors which are consistent with organizational values to promote a productive and supportive, collaborative, fun, dependable and safe workplace. Johns Hopkins launched a phased approach to developing the desired culture. First gathering information from the university and select peers on standards of professionalism. Next they analyzed the data to determine internal patterns and reviewed best practices. Currently they are creating an executive summary which will include a recommended implementation plan and a supporting structure. Ideas from that days’ brainstorming session is to be included in the documentation.

Putting Social Media to Work in HR, led by David Zajchowski of Rollins College, took a different spin from what I had hoped. His focus was on HR’s value and advantage in using social media in advertising position vacancies, updating and sharing university news and communicating with faculty and staff. I had hoped they would talk some about effective ways to use social media in the actual search process, however, none the less, the information given was beneficial. Of particular interest were the statistics on social network usage across racial lines. Whites lead with 79%, Hispanics with 12%, Blacks 10% and Asians 3%. The presenter asked the audience if we knew why the numbers were so low for minorities. I asked him what the source of his data was to which he replied, from Nielsen ratings. I said that says a lot since, I have never known any African American who was asked to participate in any of the Nielsen rating events. No one else had any possible reasons to offer either. Social media, if used correctly, can promote deeper engagement with communities of interest. Attendees were advised to safeguard the fine line between personal voice and institutional voice.

The last session of the day sought to provide “Answers to your Toughest Legal Questions?” and was led by attorney Beth Tyner Jones of the Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice firm of Raleigh. Some topics touched on were, retaliation lawsuits, departmental mis-classification within exempt and non-exempt categories and ADA compliance. I was also glad to hear her recommendations for universities conducting criminal background checks on previously hired faculty members and complying to Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines specific to adjunct faculty and the provision of health care benefits. Concerning background checks, Jones asked that we consider these factors: time passed since the offense, conduct while working with your university and the length and terms of sentence served; nature of the job held in relation to the offense and the nature and gravity of the offense. Institutions should allow faculty members the opportunity to explain. With regard to adjuncts and ACA compliance, Jones stated that most often, institutions do not track hours worked but instead pay adjuncts per course, taking into consideration the specific course’s demands, preparation time, in-class instruction time, and out-of-class responsibilities. Teaching twelve credit hours equates to 36 hours of work time. Counting of these hours is to begin in July. The discussion on having interns and volunteers advised employers to state the terms up front within the internship/volunteer agreement. Specifically one should address expected hours, mutual benefits and desired outcomes, include statements that reinforce that no wages are attached to this project and there is no commitment to hire.

Overall this was a super conference and I am grateful for the opportunity to attend. Please see me if you want to hear more on any of the topics covered.

HR 2013 Speedway to Excellence – Day 1

Thursday, May 2, 2013 8:41 pm

 

On April 28-30, Charlotte was home to the 2013 College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) Southern Region Conference. I didn’t see any official numbers, but I’d say there were about 250 folks in attendance. This was my first time attending this type conference and I was especially grateful for the opportunity to attend. It was a really great conference, packed with lots of relevant information. You may recall that the salary market analysis conducted back in the fall used data from CUPA for the review and that I also serve on an ACRL committee to review CUPA library position descriptions. I drove in to Charlotte both days and can honestly say that this is one commute I am thrilled not to have to make with any regularity.

The opening keynoter, Dr. Christopher Bouer, author of Better Ethics NOW: How to Avoid the Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming, suggested a preventative maintenance approach to ethics and values training. Research shows that institutions lose about 5% of their bottom line to unethical practices. Good ethics programs that are easily defined, clear and concise will reduce fraud losses of up to 15%. Ethics are the total of our guiding values; the rules we follow even when no one is looking and all we know about doing the next best thing. My take away from this session was to make sure that supervisors include a conversation concerning the library values statement as a part of our new employee orientation.
The next breakout session provided the opportunity for affinity groups to connect. I along with other WFU troopers, Angela Culler and Christy Lennon, attended the private institutions gathering. Here we discussed endowment distributions, admissions, diversity recruitment efforts, title IX and faculty background checks. When polled concerning the number of institutions conducting faculty drug and background checks, almost all attendees responded affirmatively. Only one institution indicated that they had gone back and conducted checks on those hired prior to implementation of the policy.
Leadership Conversations: Developing Managerial Capacity for Inclusive Excellence through Dialogue, featured Pearl Alexander and Cheryl Cofield, both of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who discussed ways to foster inclusiveness in team/group meetings. Attendees participated in role playing activities to generate self-insight and improve listening techniques. During the paired up listening exercise, I wanted to say, yes I understand, or I remember when, but our instructions were to listen only for the full two minutes. It was hard. We practiced giving delighted attention, equal time and uninterrupted conversation. Interruptions can derail the communicator, causing him or her to lose their intended message. During the session we also watched the Susan Boyle video of her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. The underlying theme is here was no one expected her to triumph. They all made assumptions based upon her demeanor. So this is the same in life. Our perspectives are often timed colored by our individual opinions, attitudes and beliefs. Many times these assumptions are laced with unconscious biases, sometimes racially based. The presenter’s example focused on stereotypes of laziness which often lead interviewers to probe deeper than usual for evidence that applicants will actually work if given the job. Diversity mature leaders strive to be aware of these conversations. Value added does not always reside with the usual suspects. Leaders need to work at creating a culture of dialogue. The experience of being understood versus being interpreted is so compelling you could charge admission. (presenter’s quote) This session was really good and they covered lots more of which I am happy to share, but I’ll stop here and move on to the next session.
Enhancing Employee Engagement in Difficult Fiscal Times, topic for Ann Lennon of the UNC System and John Toller, ECU’s presentation, stressed the importance of tracking employee engagement. Research indicates that about 30% of employees are engaged, with 50% not really fully engaged and 20% actively not engaged. People are the source of power for our learning communities representing the engine and fuel for sustainable success. What attracts new hires and what retains is closely aligned and should have respect at the center along with future career advancement opportunities, maintaining job interest and adequate compensation. These three things were cited as factors which lead to dis-engaged employees. 1) Being under-utilized. Leaders need to tap into the full potential, redesign jobs and listen well. 2) Being invisible. Leaders need to recognize people personally and appreciate them. 3) Feeling like they are not making a difference. Managers need to celebrate successes no matter how small. Engaged employees are willing to give extra effort, they feel energized because their needs are met; they feel enabled because they have what they need to get the job done. Empathy was cited as the glue that holds it all together. Here are some other best practices:
• Show respect
• Build career paths
• Capitalize on engageable moments
• Write thank you notes
• Demonstrate strong leadership
• Actively managing change
• Focus on the customer
• Have equitable rewards in whatever forms are possible
• Promote collaboration not competition
• Use power sparingly
• Invest in the core
• Identify strengths and utilize them – right fit
• Hire or develop great managers

There’s more to come from day 2 when I attended sessions on employee recognition, standards of professionalism, social media in HR and the tough legal questions. Including both days in one post makes for a much longer post and I really want to hold your attention, so I’ll report more a little later.


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