Libraries, the universe and everything

Things I’ve been reading – April 2012
May 1, 2012, 09:45
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reading

Continuing the series of selected items from my online reading…

#chartership chat on twitter – the evaluative statement
I was really pleased to read this post as I was away when this chat happened, and I’m currently trying to get around to starting my evaluative statement! Seems like it was a good discussion with lots of useful ideas raised.

Writing a job advertisement that will attract the candidates you want
I’m not yet at a point where this is directly relevant, but I found it very interesting to read about how this should be done, and to think about how my own experience of applying for jobs has been made better or worse by the quality of the advert and details made available to applicants.

I agree with Tina about many things, and this is very much one of them. I have been similarly resistant to the term reflection, though I do now see the value in being reflective. It is definitely a skill I have had to learn, and something which I often have to push myself in order to do, but I believe it is a habit well worth acquiring (and not just for the purpose of getting my Chartership!). The key is, as Tina observes, that reflection for its own sake is pointless – it needs to be focussed on getting something out of whatever is being reflected on and deciding how to apply it going forward.

Brain constipation: how often does your brain go to the bathroom?
Another winning title, and I’m certainly in need of some serious cephalonic irrigation right now.

Make service easy for your customers
A simple point, but one which I think bears repeating. No matter how shiny your website, or how whizzy your interface, if people have to navigate through 6 screens or follow complicated instructions in order to get to what they’re looking for then you probably aren’t providing good service. Lots of library systems and procedures are actually quite complicated and familiarity is not automatic – how do things really look from the user perspective?

How to respond to emotional outbursts
This post raises such a good point – the thing which prompts an emotional outburst is not necessarily the thing which is actually causing the problem – and outlines a superb strategy for getting to the bottom of this kind of situation. I haven’t had to deal with anything like this (yet) but I can see all sorts of uses for the “Just validate. Repeat back what you’re hearing. Be a mirror.” technique.

Pinterest: some thoughts
One of my favourite things about the network of  blogs I follow is that lots of the writers are much more prolific and ahead of the curve than I am. I’ve been meaning to have a proper think about using Pinterest in a special collections sort of context for a while now, and Katie has clearly and usefully summed up the points I need to consider – thanks Katie!

Meeting with Simon Edwards of CILIP: or what Tina rants about…
Another helping of common sense from Tina, and some important points raised. I’m delighted to hear that CILIP is working on this stuff, and look forward to seeing some big improvements. I really struggled with the consultation as the new BPK covered so much ground, and hearing about other peoples’ responses to it helped me crystallise some of my own thoughts about it.

Running a workshop – putting theory into practice
A really helpful analysis from Jo, and some advice I’m saving up for the next time I need to organise anything like this.

Stress is not your enemy
I had always thought that stress interfered with focus, but actually this article makes a lot of sense to me. Practising stress may seem a little counterintuitive but I do see how it could pay off.

How to work with someone you hate
Some interesting strategies for coping with conflict at work (although thankfully my current colleagues are lovely).

Coping with email overload
An excellent suggestion here, and this isn’t the first time I’ve come across it – set aside designated timeslots to deal with email and then ignore it the rest of the time. (The same probably goes for a variety of other web-based activities too.) I’m quite fortunate in that I don’t receive a huge volume of email at work, so this would probably work quite nicely. Away from the office I find it increasingly hard to switch off from checking my email (not to mention twitter, facebook and RSS feed reader too) and I very much like the idea of pausing whenever the urge strikes.

On ambition
Sara considers how to combine ambition with decency – I really liked this post.

Workers, take off your headphones
I hardly ever use headphones so the idea of routinely plugging myself in at work is somewhat alien. However, I know one or two people who would be completely lost without them as they use music as a way to help them blot out background noise and focus on their tasks.  That said, I do appreciate how closing oneself off into a private soundsphere can contribute to a culture of disengagement, particularly when combined with other external distractions (non-work email, DMs, twitter etc). Thinking about it a bit more, I personally feel much more engaged when working in a moderately chatty environment – I like exchanging thoughts and ideas with colleagues, and have always felt that emailing the person sitting next to you is nonsensical.

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