Professional Development

Author Archive


Monday, November 9, 2015 4:45 pm

The North Carolina College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) met October 7 – 9 in Cherokee with about a 150 in attendance. It was a pleasure joining our campus HR colleagues, Christy Lennon, Chris Dinkins, Pearlie Patton and Kari Reese for the event. The opening keynoter, Jeffrey Mangum, a Chicago playwright and founder of the Theater-based Learning & Development, shared insight based upon a body of research conducted by Joseph Campbell. According to Campbell, research tells us that there are a set of specific needs that must be met on the leadership journey in order for one to become a “hero.” We learn more through our eyes than we ever will with our ears. We need to take seriously our obligation as leader in supporting those that report to us. Make sure each one feels safe enough around you to give their truest opinion. Each journey begins with a slight imbalance. There is always room to improve our retention, our ability to engage, productivity efforts, and improvement of team effectiveness.

There are six steps on the journey towards succeeding, (1) the call to adventure – most people will say no first, these are the ones you want; (2) supernatural aid – tempering your hero for the trials that come; (3) crossing the first threshold – this is what makes your place unique; (4) the trials – any obstacle that stands between the hero and the prize; (5) the prize – the more clarity you give it the more likely they are to achieve it; (6) the return – this is what the hero gets.

Beth Tyner Jones, from the Womble Carlyle Law Firm gave the HR update. It was during this session that I was reminded of some pending legislature surrounding positions classified as exempt. There are proposed salary changes that could take the current minimum from $23,660 a year to $50,440. Campuses should start now by conducting audits of all exempt positions. Do they meet the established criteria? Some employers may have classified a position as exempt in an effort to reduce overtime pay. Beth also discussed the ACA compliance. It was here that we learned that resident advisers are not counted as FLSA employees.

With laptops, email and the need to be online at all times, Beth asked the audience if we had considered when compensable time starts. Here are a couple of considerations to think about. Do you send your employee an email the night before with the expectation that they read it before they get to work? Does your employee travel to a conference, if so, are they gone more than the 7.5 hour work day?

During the session on the Intersection of Title IX and Human Resources, I was pleased to see that WFU has already complied with the necessary steps as outlined by the presenter. Among those recommendations was the establishment of a dedicated Title IX coordinator, engaging in ongoing efforts to educate students, faculty and staff about sex discrimination and what it means, conducting an assessment of the campus climate and establishing/communicating the grievance procedure.

Chris Dinkins joined a panel of presenters discussing the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) for which WFU is a contributing partner. Wake joins ECU, NCCU, Davison and Pitt Community College in this effort. HERC offers the largest database of higher education and related jobs in the world. All jobs are cross posted on the leading job board aggregators. The recruitment and retention of exceptional and diverse faculty and staff are critical to NC Colleges and Universities. Collaborating on strategies and methods to help in the area would be a huge win for North Carolina. Wake actually hosted on November 9 an informational meeting in an effort to recruit other interested NC schools.

Wanda at ALA 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015 3:20 pm

Everyone has posted such beautiful pictures of San Francisco. I am envious of your photographing abilities. I think for me though, it is official; I am just not a huge fan of the big city. While there the following lyrics just kept ringing in my ears. Green acres is the place for me. Farm livin’ is the life for me. Land spreadin’ out so far and wide. Keep Manhattan San Francisco, just give me that countryside.

Ok, so the city may have not been appealing, but the conference was great. After finishing my BCALA Executive Board responsibilities, I spent Friday afternoon in a LLAMA sponsored pre-conference entitled: “Mind Over Matter: Sustainable success for library leaders.” Presenter, Kim Nichol spoke of mindfulness as engaging curiosity in an intentional way. Mindfulness has to do with the quality of your attention, your awareness of self and of others, your ability to keep an even keel, and lastly your being responsive and not reactive. Practicing mindfulness is a necessary component for effective leadership. Mindful leaders bring their best selves to work each day. How? They recognize that they are human and so are those who work with them. We each have a human need for physical rest. We have an emotional need to feel valued, welcomed accepted and even loved. We have an intellectual need to explore, to learn and to participate in. We have a spiritual need for community, for purpose and for legacy. Being mindful of these needs and bringing them to the forefront of our daily interactions, will aid leaders in their ability to lead others. This not only ensures that they bring their best selves to work, but also those around them will be more likely to do the same.

The ACRL Personnel Administrator’s group discussed practices and timelines around academic librarian searches. Three to six months was about the average length of time for search from post to offer. Many of the practices shared were similar to those we have in place here. Such as the use of grids/metrics to evaluate each applicant by the same set of criteria. The one option discussed, not in practice here, that I found appealing was that of establishing of timelines up front. So in the beginning of the search process dates of the search committee members as well as other key players were identified and held as possible phone interview and onsite interview dates. The onsite interview dates are then shared with the applicants during the phone interview. Attendees confessed that in most cases delays around bringing candidates to campus resulted from scheduling conflicts at the Dean/Director levels. This was the one step that I thought could impact our ability to keep the search moving along. Discussion followed on the topic of when reviewing of applicants took place. Many agreed that starting the review early in the process, rather than waiting for all the applications to arrive also helped to move the search along.
Supervision of millennials in the workplace was another topic of interest. Student assistant and supervisor training were amongst the areas most in need of attention discussed. Communication, collaboration and the setting of clearly defined expectations were equally deemed as necessary components to a successful partnership. This topic was slated for further conversations.

Below is a list of the BCALA Literary Award winners. One of the winners currently works right here in North Carolina.

The winner of the 1st Novelist Award went to Forty Acres: A Thriller by Dwayne Alexander Smith (Atria Books). The Fiction category winner was Citizens Creek: A Novel by Lalita Tademy (Atria Books). Award winners for Honor Books for Fiction were, Saint Monkey: A Novel by Jacinda Townsend (W. W. Norton & Company), Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Henry Holt & Company and Ruby by Cynthia Bond (Crown Publishing Group). The winner in the Nonfiction category is Visible Man: The Life of Henry Dumas by Jeffrey B. Leak (University of Georgia Press). Leak is an associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the New South at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Honor Books for Nonfiction went to Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland with Charisse Jones (Touchstone), Dorothy Porter Wesley at Howard University; Building a Legacy of Black History by Janet Sims-Wood (The History Press); and The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, edited by Katie G. Cannon and Anthony B. Pinn (Oxford University Press). The winner for BCALA’s Best Poetry Award is Books of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young (Knopf).

As always, I am happy to continue conversations around any of these topics, just let me know.

TALA Paraprofessionals Conference – May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 11:14 am

The Triad Academic Library Association (TALA) held its second conference at High Point University earlier this month. One of the conference’s goals is to provide library workers with multiple opportunities to network around topics of interest. This topics selected for discussion were taken directly from suggestions offered in the 2014 post conference survey. Our planning committee was delighted to host the 105 attendees, though numbers could have been a little higher as a few late bloomers were turned away due to limited spacing. It was by their own accounts quite beneficial for the 12 ZSR staff members in attendance. Below are a few of their highlights from the day.

I attended the second annual TALA Conference at High Point University on May 13th. I found the session on Managing Time lead by Iyanna Sims of NC A&T and Monica Young of GTCC very useful. The presenters explained the challenges of managing time in the modern workplace, especially with the distractions of technology. They recommended some good tools to manage your time and increase productivity such as the Pomodoro App that gives you a certain amount of time to complete a task. This way you can help eliminate procrastination and be aware of how you spend your time. I also enjoyed the networking hour table talks, which were a new addition this year. I attended the table talks on Technical Services staff that our own Monesha Staton lead. Monesha helped facilitate an engaging discussion on some current issues that technical service departments are currently facing such as dealing with the implementation of RDA and navigating new ILS systems. ~Bradley

I appreciate the opportunity given to attend the TALA conference at High Point University. Great conference – great day spent with ZSR Library colleagues! My favorite session was called “Communication and Conducting Effective Meetings”. Cindy Conn of Elon University was the facilitator. I learned about planning a meeting, meeting best practices, communication practices, personal communication and overall how to conduct an effective meeting. I’ve had the pleasure of being the chair of the ZSR Library Employee Recognition Committee this year (my first time as a chair) and this session gave me great ideas for conducting the meetings. ~Kristen

I learned the following similarities, ideas, and strategies at the TALA Conference. The top challenges supervising students are poor attendance and lack of work experience. The best career strategy is to have a plan, be ready for opportunities, know your strengths, be a responsive team player, be helpful, and support your department and library. Effective meetings are practical not historical, purpose driven, categorized topics, and time efficient. ~Travis

The TALA Paraprofessional Conference was a very interesting and useful event. I attended sessions on the Changing Roles and Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals, Networking Hour Table Talks, Career Strategies, and Managing Time. While all sessions contained useful information, I found the Networking and Time Management sessions most relevant to me and my duties and responsibilities. In the Networking session I got to hear how fellow TALA member institutions handle their accounts payables. I found that none of the other institutions fully use their integrated library system’s acquisitions module for fund accounting as we do here at ZSR. And I also found that the other institutions represented in the meeting were also treated differently from other departments on their campus by their purchasing departments. Just as we are here at ZSR, the other libraries were treated as separate entities making their own purchasing decisions and not requiring University purchase orders because of the uniqueness of library purchases. And needless to say, time management strategies such as reducing clutter are universally relevant. ~Prentice

Of all the sessions I attended at the TALA Conference I particularly enjoyed the session Managing Time. The session presenter gave us lots of resources and website on how to managed and keep great record of time so that you can be able to work on multiple things and not just one. ~Tara

My experience at the TALA Paraprofessional Conference held at High Point University was insightful and helpful. I attended sessions on career strategies, managing time, and makerspace and other emerging technologies. The session that I enjoyed the most and that I thought was the most informative was the career strategies session. The career strategies session made the participants think about what their personal goals are and think about where they want to go in their career. We were given great advice by Kathy Bradshaw and our very own Wanda Brown. I also surprisingly ended up facilitating a networking session on technical services due to the absence of the person scheduled to run the session. The session was with approximately 15 people from UNCG, Elon, NCA&T, and Wake. In the session we discusses RDA, WMS migration, knowledge base, vendor records, authority control and a few other topics. The session was very informative and we were able to discuss our own processes and offer recommendations to the other schools. ~Monesha

Our opening speaker at the TALA Paraprofessional Conference was Tamara Kraus from Hickory County Public Library. She was picked as Library Journal’s Paralibrarian of the Year for 2015. She gave an enthusiastic talk about finding our inner “Book Avenger” and urged us to find our own superpowers.

Probably the most productive session of the day was when the attendees divided into Table Talks for networking discussion. I moderated the ILL/Course Reserves session. We were able to compare how other academic libraries configure their department and workflow. There were several good “Why do you do it that way?” questions raised.

Elon’s shared service desk panel discussion was interesting. I was glad that they were willing to share what did not work as well as the benefits. It should help provoke productive questions if ZSR considers this service model.

The other sessions I attended were about Effective Meetings and Managing Time. These sessions had a lot of practical information. For effective meeting planning, we were given Best Practices for setting an agenda, timing and taking minutes. Recommendations for managing our time included computer applications such as Toggl, MyLifeOrganized and Pomodoro. ~Ellen M.

The conference was really good. I enjoyed the session on time management. The video they showed pointed out things we do without even realizing that causes us to lose track. They gave us great tips on what we can do to try to manage our time better like prioritizing and setting schedules and reminders. Other people who attended gave advice on ways they do things without necessarily using technology. ~Doris

There were two sessions I found to be very informative. The technical services networking table talk was a great way to find out what was happening in other libraries. We had a very active discussion about RDA, cataloging issues, bulk importing of e-books and Acquisitions of new and different formats. It was interesting to share our knowledge on problems and solutions from the different institutions. The second session was Managing Time facilitated by Iyanna Sims and Monica Young. It provided different techniques to managing your time effectively to maximize your productivity at work. ~Linda

I am so glad that I was able to attend the 2015 TALA Paraprofessional Conference this year and engage with library staff from across the Triad. All of the sessions I attended provided useful information and offered insights towards implementing greater efficiencies and improving the work that we do. One of the sessions that stuck with me was “Communication and Conducting Effective Meetings”, presented by Cynthia Conn from Elon. Cynthia reviewed best practices for organizing meetings– including tips for setting an agenda, developing an awareness of time, and recording of meeting minutes– and discussed appropriate communication practices for meetings and personal communication practices. I found her recommendations for best practices with agenda-setting particularly useful– she suggests providing clear and specific items on the agenda, dividing meeting topics into categories (discussion items, decision items, and information items), and she advises sending the agenda out two days in advance. She also encouraged us to be good meeting attendees and make sure to review agendas in advance of the actual meeting. Cynthia was an excellent presenter AND a practitioner of her own advice– her “meeting” with us was appropriately organized, she had an agenda, she stuck to the time constraints, and was a clear and effective communicator. I will definitely be using her tips and strategies for future meetings that I lead. ~Meghan


Southeastern Library Association

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 5:18 pm

A trip to Alabama was the next stop on my journey as the NCLA Southeastern Library Association representative. The Alabama Library Association played host to SELA in the beautiful water front city of Point Clear April 7-10. During my report to the SELA Executive Board, I shared details around our upcoming conference. I unofficially invited the group to consider NCLA’s 2017 conference, which by the way will be held right here in Winston Salem, as a possible site for their next joint venture. A document detailing financial workings is forthcoming. I did take the opportunity to discuss the idea of NCLA hosting a regional Leadership Institute. The idea was well received by the other state reps in attendance. I suggested having the current SELA President attend the 2016 Leadership Institute might confirm or alter our thinking around this topic.

Whenever I attend the SELA conference I always look for ideas that I can bring back to NCLA. Here are a couple of things I noted. First, the conference planning committee members wore identical brightly colored t-shirts. This made them easily identifiable as those in the know. Secondly, the members of the committee monitored the session rooms and opened the doors when it was about three to five minutes remaining in time for the allotted program. This kept the flow of the day on schedule. The conference theme was around Super Heroes. Each exhibitor had a sticker which matched an entry on the Superheroes bingo card, for which the winner of got a prize. Each meal function was a $$ ticketed event.

Michael Dowling, the Director of ALA’s Chapter Relations Office was the featured facilitator for a session entitled, “Alabama Libraries into the Future.” Dowling facilitated a discussion around the future of the library profession. I thought this type session facilitated by our NCLA President, Executive Board members or even the New Members Round Table, might provide a means for open deliberate conversations around librarianship, member association growth, engagement and development. The opening session featured author Craig Johnson of the Walt Longmire mystery series. This was a lighthearted conversation that set the tone for a relaxed enjoyable conference. Though I never saw any official numbers, their attendance seemed much lower than ours. Attendees were able to choose amongst only five to six concurrent sessions at any time.

Some of the most notable sessions for me were those dealing with issues of management and leadership development. It seemed that there was at least one offering within each grouping of concurrent sessions. Sessions featured mostly collaborators from varying library types sharing experiences and lessons learned around similar topics. I elected to attend those focusing around the management of library student assistants, writing employee orientation manuals and designing content for personnel handbooks. I also found the sessions on engaging 1st year students and building community partnerships most informative.

If you want to hear more, just let me know.

Keeping Our Cool!

Thursday, April 16, 2015 1:56 pm

Let me start with having you listen to this TED talk entitled The Danger of a Single Story. It sets the tone for much of what was shared during the Winter Institute for Intercultural Communication (WIIC). During Spring Break, thanks to a scholarship from the WFU Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I was able to attend the WIIC which was held here in Winston Salem at the Embassy Suites Hotel. I enrolled in the 3-day course entitled, “Keeping Our Cool! Managing Cross Cultural Conflicts,” and taught by Donna Stringer. The primary objective of the workshop was to lead attendees through a process of understanding how our own culturally learned behaviors and perceptions can create cross-cultural misunderstandings and conflict.

During the session we took the Intercultural Conflict Style Inventory (ICSI) assessment to identify our preferred approach or style for resolving conflict. Knowing more about ourselves, our own preferred conflict style, aids in resolving disagreements, managing stress levels, more accurately interpreting the statements and actions of others, and more effectively communicating our interest to others. The institute was chunked full of high energy and thoroughly engaging conversations coupled with numerous opportunities for role playing, scenario writing and reviewing of case studies.

Of particular interest was the discussion around the two primary ways of handling conflict which was categorized as “direct” vs “indirect”. It was no real surprise to me that the assessment results indicated that I was direct. I want to get right at it. However my other indicator was right down the middle with “engagement” but like one hatch mark away from being “discussion.” I would love to have our leadership team and any interested others take this assessment. It was really eye opening to me. I have the ICSI pamphlet which describes the results, but not the actual assessment questionnaire used. Below is the chart that explains in greater detail.

A couple of statements that really resonated with me were; intent does not minimize impact. Because you didn’t mean anything by your words or actions, doesn’t mean that what the receiver felt was any less real. The second was; conflict is an opportunity for greater intimacy. I truly welcome the opportunity for more discussion. A brown bag lunch time would be super. Would you be up for this?

Wanda’s ALA Mid-Winterland

Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:28 pm

I absolutely love calling North Carolina home. This captured my sentiments perfectly as my plane landed to the NC bright blue sky and awesome sunshine. I guess that is to be expected after experiencing winter in Chicago. None-the-less, the conference as a whole was filled with lots of great engaging conversation. During the BCALA retreat on Thursday we began the work of strategic planning. Tracie Hall, Deputy Commissioner: City of Chicago-Dept of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, led the group through an exercise using the Kaizen model. Kaizen combines Kai which means change with Zen which mean good or for the better. As an action plan, Kaizen focuses on improving specific areas within the organization. These strategies bring together and involve teams across the organization with a strong emphasis on linking managerial practice with and to direct services. As a philosophy, Kaizen is about building a culture where all stakeholders are actively engaged in suggesting and implementing improvements to the organization. The strategic planning process documents feedback from peer collaborating organizations, non-members, members, current and past leadership. I volunteered to work with the group of current and past leaders.

My LLAMA (Library Leadership & Management Association) obligation as chair elect of the Human Resources section was still way fuzzy. It wasn’t until my all sections committees gathering that I learned of an executive committee meeting was scheduled for later that very morning. As it turned out, the chair forgot to include me on the email invitation. At the executive committee meeting I heard program planning details for the 2016 Orlando conference. The Human Resources section has the following committees of which I get to appoint a chair by May 1st.

As a past participant in the Association of Research Libraries Leadership Development Program, I was asked to partake in a focus group. We discussed our perceptions of value or lack of around leadership development programs for people from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups. Our feedback will be used to inform the design of future programs.

Also of particular interest was the ACRL Personnel Administrators and Staff Development Officers Discussion Group conversations around employee engagement surveys. The question was asked, given everything that has happened specifically with regards to budget cuts in North Carolina over the last several years, is this a good time to conduct a climate survey? The answer was really isn’t a good time. ClimateQUAL was the most widely used tool, serving as a measurer for both diversity and employee engagement. Conducting a survey like this implies leadership’s commitment to doing something. It is most important to recognize the responsibility of department chairs and their role in improving the climate. It was stressed that leaders need to be deliberate about looking for the balanced picture both within strengths and weaknesses revealed in the survey data.

There were a few in attendance who had participated in the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. Attendees believed that this survey conveys a good picture of where the library stands in relation to the campus. We continued conversations around the “checking references” aspect of recruiting. Many chimed in that they had abandoned the written reference for the more personal phone conversation. The University of Delaware has started using the “Predictive Index” tool as part of the search process for non-exempt and IT positions. The focus of which is on work style preferences and behaviors. Not sure that I agree to using this as a deciding factor in the search process. I think anyone could manage to fake the attributes of a decent manager. Do you think applicants would answer honestly or would they base answers on what they think the employer wants to hear?

Some very interesting data surfaced from one of the ALA’s Diversity and Research grant projects that was showcased at midwinter. If my memory serves me correctly, it was one of the UC Berkley campuses that conducted the study. They surveyed Asian college students concerning their orientation to college life in America. How long was it before they felt comfortable on campus? What search engine did you turn to first? What did you find most difficult to navigate within college life? Just so I won’t misquote any of the numbers, I promise to post more on the survey results once I get my hands on the actual data.




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.”



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