PLA 2008 Day 1: You’re Fired! When the Ideal Candidate Becomes the Problem Employee

Speakers: Paula Alston, Sean O’Connell, Jody Treadway

Common mistakes:
– a warm body to fill the vacant position
– if you have reservations, don’t hire that person

warning danger avoid
– the whinny candidate
– the helpless candidate
– the candidate who has to be talked into taking the job
– the candidate who has conditions on taking the job
– the candidate who doesn’t commit to pre-employment deadlines

most important – would you hire this person again?

Really use the probationary period

Application – if they are careless on the application, they might be careless in their job

Interview questions – answer those yourself beforehand, then during interview, you can more accurately look for answers you want

Most people will fire themselves – they’ll either do something they know will get them fired, or they’ll resign. How odd!

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PLA 2008 Day 1: What Does it Take to be Good at Reference in the Age of Google?

Speaker: Joseph Janes

Title: What Does it Take to be Good at Reference in the Age of Google?

Aside – Sorta humorous – moderator asked us to turn off our cell phones… in THIS session about emerging trends in the age of google! Hee. Probably should have said “put cell phones on mute.”

“we can find things they can’t find” – this is a revelation to many people.

we shouldn’t emphasize ready reference anymore – Google is the rough equivalent of ready reference, and we can’t compete with it.

We can do better than that – we don’t have to answer the dumb questions anymore!

Google does great at orientation

Google is free, quick, easy, and good enough – we can’t beat that!

What Google cannot do:
– not good at gathering – Google does great at finding, but not gathering…
– google doesn’t evaluate, decide, understand, help
– google doesn’t do print (yet)
– doesn’t do fee-based stuff
– google doesn’t have highly sophisticated search (lexis-nexis, etc)
– not part of the community

How to be a good reference librarian in the age of google?
– be a reference librarian
– just not the same one you would have been 10 years ago
– do a good interview – regardless of mode (in person, phone, email, chat, IM, text message, etc)

Know the tricks:
– be more effective searchers
– know all the tricks, advanced features, etc
– know alternatives, when to use it and not to use it

articulate our strengths – we don’t do a good job of that!

(aside – Joe works a couple hours at the desk at the library – that’s cool! My library profs hadn’t worked in libraries for years)

Build tools that help people without direct intervention
– research guides (Cornell vodcasting Research Minutes on YouTube – how to use the library in 90 seconds or less – I need to check these out!)
– use easily understood names for services, tools, etc…
– citation = traffic ticket
– catalog = comes from LandsEnd

Position ourselves and our services as time-savers
– google’s fast, but we can save you time! average time spent searching in Google is 11 minutes! Wow! We are obviously faster than that!
– why search when we can help you find?

Be where they are
– we must be available, positioned, and ready to support, assist, and participate – on their terms

good point – when people ask us questions, it’s because they already tried and failed…

people ask shelvers questions – why? Because they’re there…

what to do:
we can’t beat them on quick, fast, easy, and cheap – we can fight them on quality, depth, education, instruction, literacy, etc
– play on our strengths
– and how they fit in the emerging world

What about print?
– in the short run, it’s a secret weapon – not everyone has access to print!
– they are unique
– in the longer run, they will be slowly decreasing in importance

wikipedia – if you don’t like it, get over it!
– instead of whining about it… do something about it!
– if you don’t vote, don’t complain
– create and edit entries, cite sources, fight for quality, be a positive force (a la learning 2.0)

– search for libraries – even funnier – search for “libary”
– make a video!

– have your own, yes, but also participate in community/others

Read blogs of people in your community – and participate by commenting!

Second Life
– it’s a new way to create
– it’s a way to get into the ground floor of a whole new way of creating

Most important – Work Together.

the idea of library has escaped the building
it’s now an extended notion of library – anywhere, anytime, any way in which people interact with information organized, provided, supported by their own community via their library staff.

“We have to be even better online than in person”

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Above and Beyond Customer Service

Director's desk and patronsSomething cool happened in my library a couple days ago. Take a peek at this picture, and let me explain the scene:

This elderly couple (you can’t see him, but there’s a man sitting down in the pic with the woman) came to the library with a specific task in mind – to look at some old slides from the 50’s and 60’s that had been turned into digital photos on a CD. The couple doesn’t own a PC, so they naturally thought “I’ll go to the library.”

Walking into our main doors, they met Gina, our library director, who was taking her turn at our Greeter Desk (we have a “grand rotunda” that looks amazing. It’s also a directional challenge, so we’ve been placing staff in the rotunda and calling it our Greeter Desk). They explained the problem, she said “sure, we can help,” then looked at me (I was chatting with her). I had the unfortunate task of reminding her that we don’t have CD drives in our public PCs (it’s an inherited problem – hopefully changing it soon!).

Gina gave it some thought for like 5 seconds, then asked me to take this fine couple up to her office to view their pictures. Yes, you heard that right – on a staff PC, in the Director’s office.

When they were done, I walked back to Gina. She looked at me, pointed a finger at me, and said “that’s 2.0, David.”

And I’d agree. No, it’s not really about technology. It’s not about using RSS feeds. But it DOES display the type of above-and-beyond customer focus that my library is developing. For us, that’s a 2.0 change for the better.

And… if you like that story and want to hear more from Gina, well… you’re in luck (that is, if you’re headed to Computers in Libraries). She and I will be giving the last presentation of the day in the Innovation and Change track on April 8. Here’s more about our session:

Title: Leading Technology in Libraries: Making Time for Web 2.0

Description: Millsap explores the digital divide between administration and staff and looks at how leadership is the key and technology the tool. She shares strategies for leading with technology, not in spite of it. King focuses on why libraries need to make time for Web 2.0; why they need to learn about and experiment with new tools; allowing staff the time needed to play with these tools; making time for Web 2.0; and facing change.

Stop by and say hi!

Library Camp Kansas 2008: Final Session

We came back together at the end of the day to share… here’s what I heard:

hearing each other’s idea talk

sharing between public and academics

felt like they had to choose…

Had a wonderful experience hearing what academics are doing… “they are so way out there… compared to a little public library”

More timely topics at this unconference because of the spontanaity of topics/discussions

This was the conversation you usually have outside of conference sessions

Liked the idea of going to lunch, talking about a topic – don’t usually have this at a conference

Networking and continuing the dialog is important

What next?
We have the wiki – add the notes to those sessions, add to those discussions
have a contact page up of people who attended (we have that already)

It would be nice to go a little more in depth in a topic and come away with some take-home points to try out at your library

Maybe have someone do a 5 minute intro on a topic

Michael Sauers mentioned Nebraska is planning a similar unconference thing

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