Do you work in a “kind” library? Librarian Jessica Olin of Letters to a Young Librarian and I are presenting on “kindness audits” at the Association of College and Research Libraries virtual conference next week. Here’s our session description:
Killing It with Kindness: Incorporating Sustainable Assessment through Kindness Audits
Learn how to design and conduct a kindness audit, a low-cost and high-reward assessment method that helps librarians examine barriers to library services and spaces through a user experience lens. Varying methods for kindness audits, lessons learned, and suggestions for identifying and implementing low-cost improvements for library spaces and services, will all be discussed.
Jessica and I will share photos of our experiences with kindness audits, but we want to hear from you!
We Need Your Help
Here’s how to get involved: Are you proud of a library space, furniture, signage, services desks, etc… at your library? Or maybe you have an example that could use some improvement? That’s OK too!
Take a Photo
Take a photo and send it our way! Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a description of the photo.
We may use your photo in our presentation, however we will not use your name (unless you want us to!). Keep in mind that identifying info may be apparent from the photo.
Jessica and I will make our slides freely available after the conference. We’ll also be using the Twitter hashtag #acrlkindness during our presentation.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few examples:
Commendable: Helpful librarians who are easy to find.
Needs Improvement: Messy bean bag chairs in a high traffic area.
Commendable: Good signage.
Needs Improvement: Outdated study furniture.
Commendable: Approachable service desk.
Needs Improvement: Dark and unwelcoming library entryway.
When I give a presentation, my slides tend to be more visual, or even abstract. I ditched the death-by-bullet point long ago. No one wants to sit through that. Put a few important keywords on a slide, add the rest to your notes, and use a powerful image to convey the spirit of the information you are trying to relay.
For finding free Creative Commons-licensed images that I can re-use, I tend to stick with:
Wither the Subject Heading
Here’s the problem: on user-generated sites like Flickr, most people obviously are NOT librarians. They categorize and tag photos HORRIBLY. If I’m giving a presentation and am talking about “innovation” – I cannot do a search for that as a keyword and find many quality images. So, you have to think outside the box.
Some Quick and Dirty Keywords You Can Use
What follows are some tried-and-true search terms that I’ve used to find images covering popular topics/subtopics typical to presentations:
Got a great search tip to share when it comes to using images? Leave a comment below!
I’m at WILU 2013 – Workshop for Instruction in Library Use – a Canadian information literacy conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick: a great opportunity to network with librarians north of the border – or “south of the border” to them! I presented a session about implementing library services to online students:
“I Didn’t Know I Could Use the Library!” Meeting the Needs of Students Online
What do you do with students you rarely see in the library? University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has a growing online student population. Reaching these students can be challenging. Many still view the library as just a brick-and-mortar building, and not an online 24/7 resource. Librarians conducted an assessment of online students to investigate their needs. This session will focus on the assessment results and the information literacy outreach plan put into place. It will highlight several initiatives, including the embedded librarian program, faculty-librarian collaboration, marketing efforts, and learning tools geared towards online students. Based on feedback from students and faculty, an increase in reference questions, as well as high usage statistics from librarian-created tutorials and discussion boards, the outreach plan is working. Come and learn about these best practices for online learners and share your ideas, as well.
Here are some of the assessment tools, resources, guides, and tips mentioned in my presentation:
The online market is a growing field for higher education. How does the academic library fit into all of this? My colleague–Anne Kasuboski–and I gave a presentation at the 2013 Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians conference, held at Elkhart Lake.
We discuss how our library at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay surveyed our online students and faculty and developed an outreach plan to meet their needs.
It covers our Embedded Librarian program, which started out as a pilot program and expanded successfully across online courses, in addition to some face-to-face courses. It also includes information on the learning tools that we gear towards online learners, such as LibGuides, tutorials, and resources like NoodleTools.
If you have questions about being an “embedded librarian”–let me know! I would like to hear what other librarians are doing with programs such as these.
Eat The Frog!
Yesterday I attended a session about the work/life balance: practical tips, advice, and sharing of ideas. Up until this semester, I had a pretty good work/life balance: I have my friends and family, a hobby I’m passionate about (amateur photography), and I usually don’t take my work home.
But this semester has been a little crazy: I’m teaching a semester-long class on top of my full-time librarian gig, I’m chairing a university committee, I have two presentations to give in April & May, a week-long trip to London, a trip to Canada penciled in, and a commute that’s wearing on me. I know it sounds like I’m complaining. A trip to London? Boo-hoo. I’m not some Type A personality who thrives on this. That’s so “not me.” I’m just feeling overwhelmed at this point. I’ll be glad when this semester is over and things return to a more “normal” level for me. I know it’s temporary. So I’ll be OK…but rest assured, I’m counting the weeks until May!
One big thing I took away from the work/life balance session was the “Eat The Frog” idea to prioritizing your work (there’s even a self-help book about it). One of my library colleagues shared it with me. The idea here is to stop procrastinating with work projects and prioritize them. Picture yourself as literally having to eat a live frog every day at work. What could be worse than this? Would you put it off? Wait til the end of the day to do it? No! You wouldn’t want it to drag on. You’d be thinking about having to eat that frog all day long!
So, what’s the strategy? Eat the frog first! Tackle the hardest or most unpleasant tasks right off the bat when you get into work. Get them done and out of the way. Then you can move on to things that you enjoy.
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. – Mark Twain
Another thing that helps me prioritize is my trusty office whiteboard. Electronic “sticky notes” or reminders on my iPhone don’t cut it for me. I must see my to-do list on my whiteboard at all times. It’s right at my eye-level, so as I’m going through emails on my computer, editing documents, working in D2L, doing social media stuff for the library–my to-do list is always within view. It’s how I stay on task.
So for me, it’s frogs and old school whiteboards that keep me in line! What about you?
My Trusty Whiteboard
Poster sessions are a great opportunity to get your feet into the water and show off research you’ve done, a project you have implemented, or a new service you are providing.
More low-key than a full blown conference presentation, poster sessions are akin to an elevator speech – “Hey, look at these cool things I’m doing!” – as a librarian, that’s what I love about them: I get practical ideas and advice in a short amount of time that I can adapt or re-tool for my library.
At the 2012 American Library Association Annual Conference, I presented my first poster session: Assessment into Action: Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners. It was a great experience. I enjoyed taking a topic that I was interested in and using my design/creative skills to come up with a poster to share the information.
This semester, I’m teaching an undergrad information science class at my university. One of the projects that students are currently working on is a poster presentation.
Whether the students go on to grad school or out into the work field right away, a poster session is something that they are likely to encounter. To get them thinking about poster presentations, I shared some helpful links with them covering content, design, and software to use. These links can be tremendously useful if you’re new to poster presentations, so I thought I’d share…
If you have any links to share, let me know!
My poster presentation for the 2012 American Library Association Annual Conference
My colleague Renee Ettinger & I presented at the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference in La Crosse last week. What a fun experience interacting with other librarians from around the state!
Our presentation – Creating an Engaging Library: Marketing from the Ground Up – covered our library’s events for our university community, examined our marketing efforts and how they have evolved, spotlighted our social media activities, and how we collaborate with students and other campus groups for marketing and event planning.
Here’s the description of our session presentation:
Libraries can’t afford for marketing to be an afterthought. It’s a way to connect with your community, campus and school. Join UW-Green Bay librarians as they discuss how their library built a comprehensive marketing plan, utilized the talent of students, experts, partnered with stakeholders and designed popular events for its patrons. The end goal? Creating a vibrant and engaging environment. The session will wrap up with a lightning round, where you will be invited to share your ideas and experiences with marketing. We hope to see you there!
Below is a link to our presentation from Slideshare:
We also referenced several videos in our presentation:
If you have some great marketing ideas or cool library events you’d like to share, let me know!