Kick Starting IT Collaborations – Internet Librarian 2012

Title: Kick Starting IT Collaborations
Speakers – Michael Porter, Helene Blowers, and Carson Block

Michael Porter:

It isn’t about the departments, it’s about the library. Our mission. Our patrons.

We sometimes hyper focus on the things we know…

When we see a baby crying, we have empathy.

Sometimes librarians, directors, IT departments … are just fussy.

Emotional intelligence
– The ability to accurately perceive emotions in oneself and others
– Use emotions to facilitate thinking
– Understand emotional meanings and manage emotions

Thinking about & incorporating emotional intelligence helps staff succeed.

So … Ask, listen, understand, empathize, chill, process, and keep perspective. Focus on these things with staff, and focus on our unique missions as libraries. This can help trump people differences and interpersonal struggles.


Helene Blowers

Helene doesn’t have an IT or a librarian background. It’s in organizational communications” that has really helped her in her career.

Strategies – you have to deal with the culture. Organizational culture.

Tie your IT strategies to the library’s mission.

Make it believable!

Tailor to your audience.
– Have to change the message to communicate with higher-ups sometimes.

Create alliances.
– Engage staff at all levels
– Have IT user groups, emerging tech committees, transition teams – let non-IT staff help collaborate on these ideas

Communicate the plan.
– Meek a usual roadmap of IT, web, technology plans and share that with staff.
-It shows staff and leadership teams that you really do have a plan

Be a collaborative leader.

It’s not about showing your knowledge or your expertise. Instead, keep that communication open and be a team player.


Carson Block

Collaborations r us
– Libraries are all bout collaboration, so it’s weird when libraries and their IT departments don’t collaborate.

Why is this?

The server room – completely controlled by IT, neat and tidy, etc. In the other IT closets, they are messier.

Often, the library and the IT is separate. This should not be!

Some questions:
– Do you understand your library’s real mission in the community?
– Is your language inclusive or exclusive?
– Do you have trust?
– In your library, is the IT department considered an IT store (just something that other departments pull from)or a strategic partner?

Q&A time: