Archive for January 2009
We are in the process of hiring what is called an "Assistant Director for Research and Learning Services." I am not quite sure what that all entails, but I do know it means me getting a new boss (or rather "sub-boss," a layer between me and the library director). At any rate, we recently had a candidate on campus for that position. I had made some notes of possible questions I would have wanted to ask. I did not get them all answered, mostly due to time restraints. Anyhow, I figured I would post the questions here. They may be useful to someone out there in a similar position.
The questions (with some brief comments):
- How do you–as a manager, administrator, or concerned professional–encourage, recruit, assist, and retain (younger) staff? (I added the "younger" mostly because I was reading something about generations and attracting young librarians to the profession. What I really would want to know are the views as applicable to all staff. Maybe should have left "younger" out.)
- Management style/philosophy.
- Communication style/preferences. (I am more of a face to face person. I hate using the phone, and I prefer using e-mail when it means I can't see someone in person. Other people have different preferences, thus the question.)
- Views on the purposes of instruction, reference, and outreach. (This person is mostly to supervise and coordinate the reference, outreach, and instruction operations. This is my job, reference and outreach, and one other librarian, our instruction librarian. Thus knowing this answer would be crucial to us.)
- Views and position on backing up library employees. (We get enough situations here where we have to enforce rules, and we need to know we will have someone watching our backs. Personally, I have been in situations where a supervisor did not have my back when it came to an unruly patron with an inflated sense of entitlement.)
- What is the most difficult situation you've faced? How did you handle it?
My director recently gave a newsletter from the IOP. Apparently, they publish a Librarian Insider, and the December 2008 issue had an item on Library Marketing. They did a small interview Ms. Karen Oye, Head of Customer Services of the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western U. Their library has a news blog here. I need to take a closer look at that blog when I get a chance. A quick glance tells me I may learn a thing or two that could be useful for our library blog here at UT Tyler. Anyhow, here are some things I wanted to jot down:
- On why they do library events: "People multi-task today, and their interests are broad–we can tap into this by holding events in our library." They find this works better than just talking to people as you meet them or sending out flyers. Success comes from getting the attention of people at the event, and it creates social buzz at the library.
- Some of the things they do for advertising events are things we do here: we put visuals on our campus plasma screens. We have one in the library, and I have one posted on the University Center's screen. It is a nice resource for uploading flyers. I am intrigued when she says they are networked. Here, I have to create one for ours in the library, then send a copy over to the Student Life folks to post on theirs. Would be nice to have a network, and then I could just upload directly. Word of mouth is still crucial.
- Use your in-house talent when possible. I am losing my graphics person to retirement, so that is one talent I will have to start cultivating myself.
What I am still wondering is how they manage to actually plan and implement the events. I have a list of events we do every year, and they take a lot of time, especially for one person. I may have to look over their blog and see what they offer.
I am doing some tidying up of my desk at work, and I came across some notes I made. Unfortunately, I did not date the little scrap of paper nor jot down where I got these questions from. My guess is it was some book I was reading at the time, and I had to drop it at the moment, forgetting about the notes. Anyhow, this seems useful enough that I am jotting the questions down here.
On risk assessment, questions employees should consider:
- What business are you in?
- Who are your customers?
- What do they need and want?
- What does that say about what you are trying to accomplish?
- How will you know you have been successful?
As I look these over again, it looks like I was probably doing some reading on library services and marketing them. At least, that seems to be what I was thinking at the time since I am starting to think of some possible answers for my current workplace.