Libraries, the universe and everything

Things I’ve been reading – January 2012
February 1, 2012, 16:09
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reading

In the first of what I intend to be a regular series of posts, a selection of my online reading over the last month. My criteria remain rather undefined, but generally these are library-related things which I found particularly interesting or important, or which struck a chord with me for some other reason.

Motive #1 is to create a resource to assist myself when it comes to putting my Chartership portfolio together, but probably more importantly I felt it would be useful to keep a record of this type of thing for future reference – currently I tend to star items in my Google reader and then promptly forget all about them. I’m not 100% sure this won’t simply replicate that process (although the idea is that this will be rather more selective, and include fewer recipes and knitting patterns!), but figured it would be worth a try…

Becoming a departmental liaison 
My role involves some liaison elements, although admittedly not in a university faculty context. I think Wayne Bivens Tatum makes some really good and more widely applicable points in this – I used several of these techniques when I worked in a law firm library and some in my current post too – and all of them are worth bearing in mind.

Top tips for running the perfect event
This is probably cheating as it was written in November last year, but I’ve only just read it so have decided that it counts! I attended the event in question and was intending to blog about it myself, but this post says it all. It was a great evening and I picked up some useful pointers which are definitely worth remembering (especially as I’m not sure where I put the handout from the evening). I was also delighted to discover that I’d ticked quite a few of the boxes with a big event I organised last October 🙂

The counter-intuitive benefit of small time blocks
This post really resonated with me, as I am forever putting off starting big things because I’ve decided I need a large chunk of time to work on them and can’t make that kind of space in my diary. I’m definitely going to try this approach.

Tips for getting more organized: don’t
My first (and ongoing) response to this was ‘gnaaagh’ – I kind of see what Michael Schrage is getting at but I’m resisting! It’s certainly worth thinking about though…

Spoon feed them, then give them the spoon, then chuck away the spoon
This. Just, this. Yes. I’d been reading other posts on the topic, but Ned summed up exactly what I was thinking in a far more structured, eloquent, and (importantly) evidence-based way. (I also really liked Lisa’s comment on the post too.)

Give your high performers boring jobs
This one really made me think – I just about agree with it but with the huge caveat that the staff in question should be empowered to try out new ways of doing the tasks, otherwise surely it’s just demotivating.

What am I doing here? (Athene Donald on ‘Imposter Syndrome’)
I definitely suffer from this, albeit in a much milder form that some people seem to experience, so it’s highly reassuring to hear that other people do too, particularly when they’re senior and successful individuals like Athene! I must say I quite like imposter syndrome though, I’m sure that being on edge compels me to produce better work than I do when I’m feeling more confident (or complacent) about things.

How it was for me (Claire Warwick on giving an inaugural lecture)
I really like this post – a fantastic piece of writing. I really wanted to go to this event but had a prior engagement that night, Claire has also posted the text of her lecture here and I’m now even more sorry that I missed it.

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

An interesting list thanks.

I made it to the lecture that was indeed well worth attending (as were the drinks at the Grant Museum afterwards).

I understand the point about the boring jobs – but being able to change things about them will be the key. I once got a very boring task – picked it apart and then had my manager make me do another boring task to put it back together in all it’s boring glory. I guess I wasn’t high performing enough to come up with an elegant solution to make it less dull (the answer in the end – as with so many things – was the internet).



Comment by africker

Thanks Alan, I’m delighted that this is of interest to someone other than myself, and your boring task anecdote sounds very familiar!


Comment by Emma Davidson

Really like the idea of bringing together as a monthly list stuff you’ve found most interesting. Lots of interesting and controversial stuff on varied themes.

Though if boring tasks (for anyone) resulted in high amounts of eagerly motivated individuals in full creative flurry of process re-engineering (and that they were authorised to do so as has been pointed out!) I’d be astounded!


Comment by Isabel

Thanks Isabel. I do wonder how many managers actively encourage their staff to come up with improvements though – in my experience it tends to be more “this is how we do things here, just get on with it”. That said I do realise one person’s boredom can be another’s comfortable routine, and that all jobs have their less-interesting aspects – my own favoured solution is to save the duller tasks for Friday afternoon when I have no brainpower left for more challenging things!


Comment by Emma Davidson

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