Alchemical Thoughts

Article Note: Stephens on getting the word out about the library

Posted on: November 10, 2007

Citation for the article:

Stephens, Michael. "Putting Your Library 'Out There.'" Library Technology Reports 42.4 (July/August 2006): 63-66.

And I am finally done reading this journal edition. I wanted to make a note of some quotes and remarks from the end piece.

  • ""One of the most important things library directors and administration should recognize is, however you roll out projects or implementations, these rollouts directly impact library staff. They take the brunt of the change, so keep your staff members informed and ask for their input. Library staff members are not going to care about Technology X if their usual response is, 'No one tells us anything,' when confronted with change" (63). I think this is pretty much self-explanatory, and it is applicable not just to technology changes but any large changes (library building expansions, policies, etc.).
  • Something management better not be doing: "Have you surprised the staff with yet another big project that just seems to be spending money and time for no discernible ROI?" (63).

The article gives 10 steps to get staff buy-in. It is well worth reading. Here are a couple of items from the list that caught my eye.

  • "#5: Report and Debrief" (64). This refers to people reporting about conferences they attend and other learning experiences. I liked the idea that this can be done with an internal blog or on an internal wiki. While I like learning about what others are doing, I don't need debriefs to consume excessive time in some staff meeting, especially for material that may not be as relevant to me. Put in a place, like a blog, where I can look at it when convenient or as needed.
  • "#6: Do Your Research" (64). Stephens argues that this is crucial, and I have to agree. In this day and age, given all the options and tools for research and staying informed, an uninformed librarian is pretty much a disgrace.
  • I liked the idea from #8 about convening an emerging technology group or think tank. Stephens writes, "Bring together some of your newer librarians who are interest, and create a Think Tank, R&D Department, or the inspirational Emerging Technology Committee to look at all these new tools. Send some folks to conferences. They may become inspired! Let this groups experiment in a techno-playground of blogs, RSS, wikis, Flickr, and so forth, and report to all staff members what could be fruitful, new directions for the library" (64).
  • #9 reminds us of the importance of training once again. Let your staff try things out and play to learn.

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