Libraries, the universe and everything

Things I’ve been reading – May 2012
June 1, 2012, 10:24
Filed under: Chartership, CPD, Reading

Continuing the series of selected items from my online reading…

Our busy LRC
A user-focussed service, flexible frameworks, finding a balance and allowing evolution – I wish everyone could work like this! I liked Claire’s infographic too.

Conference social skills
Some simple and gracious ways to approach networking.

Seven ways to be a better pinner
Another useful post about Pinterest, reminding me that I really need to make some time to investigate this properly.

How can we ensure the future of libraries?
Upon re-reading it seems to me that the advice here is more to do with securing the future of librarians, let alone libraries, but without splitting hairs it is definitely worth a look. I especially agree with the part about putting the right people in front of the public – some of these aspirations are challenging but good customer-facing behaviour is neither expensive nor difficult to achieve.

Find the reverse leaders in your midst
I have a feeling that there are a lot of reverse leaders, or at least potential ones, amongst librarians. This is certainly something to which I aspire.

Developing leadership skills through professional engagement
A summary of @joeyanne‘s presentation to the CILIP in Wales conference, with slides too – some useful and practical advice.

Knowledge management: tales from the front line
I also attended this event and had been meaning to write it up myself, but Claire has provided such an excellent summary that I thought I’d just link to her post instead! I only knew a tiny bit about KM beforehand so it was fascinating to hear about some of the theories behind the practice, and this is definitely something I want to read up on further. In terms of the event itself, I really liked James‘ style – a good blend of him talking and audience discussion segments –  and he presented the theory with reference to how his organisation has applied it in practice so I found it easy to understand how the concepts worked in the real world.

No interest in Pinterest?
Regular readers will have noticed a thread of “I really must get around to Pinterest” comments running through these posts of late. Unfortunately I’m the sort of person who needs a reason to use this kind of thing, I struggle to just jump in and have a play, so I’m delighted to announce I’ve finally found a reason to do something on there!  Expect to see a blog post about my experience at some point, but meanwhile this is another interesting article from a job hunting and recruitment perspective.

Does your to do list need a makeover?
I totally need to conquer my dregs.

How not to tweet
Specifically aimed at library and information services, this set of slides by Ned Potter presents some valuable tips in a succinct and attractive fashion. As well as the content, I really like the way he’s used slideshare for this.

Rude LinkedIn introductions, you just sent one!
I completely agree with this – I’ve received a few out-of-the blue requests to connect recently myself where I would really have appreciated a little message explaining why. I do try to add a personal note in most cases, except perhaps when I’m contacting someone I know quite well in real life and therefore assume they will know why I want to link with them. I’m now wondering whether I should re-think this – I always value a little note so really ought to extend this courtesy to others across the board, and especially to people who I already value, not just those I’d like to get to know.

Is change the only constant?
I am very uncomfortable with the notion that change is the only constant, but I do understand that recognising and dealing with change properly as it occurs is hugely important. I also appreciate how using models like the one described here can be useful in helping others get through change, and for managing periods of change for which you are responsible.

Signing digital contracts: creating a signature
Some very useful step-by-step advice for digitizing your signature.

How I use learning logs #chartership
A simple and effective method of recording and reflecting on learning experiences, with examples of how it can work for all kinds of activities (not just events or training courses). I also dropped in to the #chartership chat on May 24th and enjoyed hearing how others approached their reflective practice – I always pick up some useful tips from those sessions.

Don’t take that coffee break
I’m still struggling with this one, possibly because I make at least 3 trips to the coffee machine every day and value the moments away from my desk. However, on reflection I think that in order to be effective a workplace break needs to involve a change of scene, whether that’s spinning your chair round to chat to a colleague, paying a visit to someone in a different part of the building, or going to fetch a coffee/tea/water/whatever. Certainly for me, attempting to take a break by doing something screen-based (e.g. checking Facebook, logging on to Twitter, or reading some news online) usually feels too similar to whatever I was doing before, and further serves to clutter up my brain with even more to digest than it was handling before. Timing of breaks is also important, if I’m in the middle of working through something process-intensive (e.g. cataloguing) then having a break is often quite disruptive, but if I’ve been sitting struggling with a puzzle a quick change of scene frequently serves to free up my thoughts and allows an answer to pop into view.

Taking care of business (cards)
Simon raises some interesting points in this post. My personal feeling about business cards, particularly those exchanged at an event or conference, is that they are a tremendously useful point of reference. I don’t have the best memory for names, and I often find that I can’t recall exactly who I’ve met, even if we’ve had an interesting conversation. Or, still unhelpfully, I remember their first name but not their surname. However, if I’ve taken their card I can look them up online afterwards, and if I can’t remember which card was theirs I can still do a series of online searches on all the various names in order to work out who was who. I’ll probably discard the card after I’ve connected with them on LinkedIn, followed them on Twitter, or exchanged emails (or whatever), but I’d be completely lost if everyone stopped carrying cards.

Seven lessons about effective leadership
Leadership is something I’ve been thinking and learning a lot about lately, and Jo’s post summarises the key points brilliantly.

I need to build a SharePoint 2010 Intranet – where do I start?
I’ve been involved with a knowledge management project at work recently and improving our intranet has been a significant element of our discussions, so this post really caught my eye. A lot of this advice seems to be applicable to such projects more widely, too.

Wrangle your projects with PRINCE2 Lite
Good project management is so important, and this post summarises Prince2 methodology in a useful and accessible way – I’ll definitely be referring back to it in future!


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