Libraries, the universe and everything

Things I’ve been reading – March 2012
April 2, 2012, 10:30
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reading

Continuing the series of selected items from my online reading…

A plea to CILIP
This post had me doing the digital equivalent of bouncing up and down in my chair shouting yes, this, absolutely! I’ve felt for ages that it seems wrong for CILIP to be a professional body with no continuing CPD requirements, and was initially completely put off doing Chartership as I’ve known librarians who took an active disinterest in any kind of learning or development activity once they’d acquired their postnomials. I really hope the CILIP Future Skills project produces something along the lines which Tina describes (in fact, I think it’s a shame she isn’t part of the group working on the project!).

MBAs should take competency tests
Following neatly on from Tina’s post, it seems that it isn’t just the library sector which needs to consider how to increase the professional relevance of its qualifications.

The infinite viscosity of managerial brain droppings
I have to admit that I would probably have included this for the title alone, but actually the point in the penultimate paragraph about having the courage to challenge managerial decisions with which you disagree is a good one. Clearly this has to be done with care, but if you really believe your manager is making a bad decision, or you suspect they may not be in possession of all the facts, then it’s worth trying to find a way to discuss it with them.

Do your people trust you?
I don’t manage anyone (other than myself) at present, but as an employee this made me realise that the way I respond to more senior staff is hugely affected by whether or not I trust them. I’d never thought about trust in this way before – previously I would have talked about respect or credibility, and I’m sure they’re all connected – so this is something I need to think about some more.

Should libraries get out of the ebook business?
I always enjoy Bobbi Newman’s posts, and this is a particularly thought-provoking one. The library I work in hasn’t had to engage with ebooks yet but I’ve been following the press about them and I found myself agreeing with the points Bobbi makes. I’m certainly inclined to believe that providing no service is sometimes better than providing a meagre service hung about with caveats, especially in a world of limited resources, and would find it hard to argue against a library which decided to ditch ebooks in favour of improving provision elsewhere in the collection. That said, decisions clearly need to be informed by user requirements, and there might be some sectoral differences too (as I understand it Bobbi is writing about the public library perspective). As with most things in life, I guess there isn’t a black-and-white solution.

Working in a “web 2 landscape”
Some enlightened, straightforward and practical solutions for handling social media engagement – specifically in an academic library but I can see this kind of approach working more-or-less anywhere.

Come on in and make yourself uncomfortable
I had never heard of the term threshold fear before, but I certainly know what it feels like. Absolutely something to think about when considering visitor experience, and I love the idea of putting yourself out there to recreate the feeling.

So you want to be a subject librarian…
I’m sure I’m not the only person who read this and thought “yes, I totally want to be a subject librarian and now I just want Ned’s job!”

I’m sorry if this blog post isn’t very good…
Some great advice, particularly the quote from Fiona’s Mum (why do mums always know best?!). I wonder if this links into the imposter syndrome mindset somehow – we feel compelled to apologise for something just in case people might think it (and by extension, we ourselves) isn’t quite good enough. In the interests of gender balance, I feel compelled to record that the worst over-apologiser I’ve ever known is male!

Yes, and
This is a great way to handle situations in a positive way. I often say ‘but…’ even when I’m aware that it isn’t always the best word to use, so I will certainly try to use the ‘yes and’ technique on those occasions.

Three ways women can make office politics work for them
I’m in two minds about this one, and I have a feeling it probably works better in large corporate organisations than in the small libraries I’ve worked for so far, but worth bearing in mind nevertheless.

6 reasons why you didn’t get the job
I always like to consider things from alternative perspectives, and this light-hearted look at why a boss didn’t hire a particular candidate is quite illuminating.

The magic of doing one thing at a time
I am a compulsive multi-tasker, and can usually be found working on two or three things simultaneously. However, the other day I spent four hours straight working on a single piece of research, and it was wonderful!  To highlight the contrast, the day after that was spent flitting between three or four different tasks and I ended up feeling rather harassed by it all. I suspect that I need to pay more attention to this, and make more effort to work on one thing at a time (where possible).

Flow model: balancing challenges and skills
This follows on so nicely from the previous article that I had to include it!

Pinterest is the new black
I haven’t got involved with pinterest yet, but doing more with visual resources is on my work agenda, and this seems like a handy guide for anyone thinking about setting up an account for their library.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

6 Reasons you didn’t get the job is a good one. My view is that people are doing too many generic applications. If I am wading through a pile of application forms I want to see that you really wanted to apply for the actual job I am advertising. It seems so obvious but loads of applicants just say – I think I would be ideal for this post and then shove in a load of generic stuff that has nothing specifically to say about the current question in hand.

Cheers again for the round up


Comment by Alan Fricker

Thanks Alan, and that’s really useful to know. Aside from the problem of generic submissions, in the past I’ve certainly struggled with how to communicate “I really want this exact job and I’d be great at it” in a way which I felt was appropriate for a job application – maybe the answer is trying to use less fancy language and more plain sincerity!


Comment by Emma Davidson

It is the basic thing – what does the job ad / JD say? How do I respond to that?


Comment by Alan Fricker

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