Leaders Who Notice Make a Difference | Leading From the Library

Leadership | Academic libraries | Innovation | Trends

by Stephen Bell | Feb 21, 2019 from Library Journal

87636

Leaders can all too easily go through the paces on auto-pilot. Go to this meeting. Deal with that situation. Those leaders who are adept at taking notice of what’s less obvious are more likely to innovate.

The radio station I listen to during my morning routine has an occasional bit in which the program co-host becomes “The Noticer.” It’s a silly segment that features oddball news stories, puzzling consumer products, or otherwise absurd societal observations. While it makes for an entertaining diversion, it occurred to me how much of my own leadership revolves around noticing things. Most of what’s noticed, whether it’s about librarianship, higher education, or something altogether different, leads to nothing in particular. Every so often, however, just taking notice of something can have an impact on what we do and why we do it. It may lead to an innovation or waking up to a needed change. If you lead but fail to take notice of things that could make a difference for your library, perhaps becoming a Noticer would lead to new discoveries.

 

UNDERAPPRECIATED SKILL

When leadership books, seminars, and blogs point to the critical skills leaders need to succeed, noticing is rarely mentioned. It’s hardly surprising, as noticing is rarely recognized as a leadership skill. We should give it more attention. At best, leaders are advised to conduct environmental scans, to stay abreast of trends in their field or hobnob with other leaders to exchange those “what keeps you awake at night” issues. Noticing is somewhat different. Rather than a planned activity, it’s more of a spontaneous reaction to something read, heard, or observed. It might be the start of pattern recognition, but more likely it simply engages the gears of curiosity. Observing that students always sit on the floor in a particular corner of the library could lead to the introduction of soft seating. That’s a fairly straightforward example. Read more…

Author Image

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, is the current vice president/president-elect of ACRL. For more from Steven visit his blogs, Kept-Up Academic Librarian, ACRLog and Designing Better Libraries or visit his website.

Advertisements

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey [review]

Libraries | Advocacy | Digitization | Data preservation | Book review

Reviewed by Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of GoogleBiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewer bio:
I am an academic librarian whose main responsibility has been to establish and maintain a large database for electronic reserves. I have a solid background in public service, and have mentored library school students and recent graduates for over 10 years. I am conversant in issues relating to access and technology relating to digitization of materials as well as those born-digitally. Since I follow library news on a daily basis, I read this book more as a review of the known, while noting sources for future use. Most of those concerned digitization of material and aspects relating to institutional repositories. A second focus was based on a new work responsibility, that of personal librarian to undergraduate honors students.

Review:
This volume was written by a “feral” librarian with a law degree. It included the major areas where and how libraries are ever-relevant today: users, spaces, platforms, hacking, networks, preservation, education and copyright. Noteworthy highlights for me were the discussions of how some librarians and advocates are reinventing libraries while acknowledging their tradition roles in democratic society. Public, academic, school and special libraries were included. The ‘hybrid-ness’ of libraries is emphasized, along with the innovative factor of digitization of a variety of materials. Risks are involved when print is not saved to backup data. “Data rot” happens when technology fails, but also when newer forms outpace older, obsolete ones. Budgets are stretched to accommodate both digital and analog materials. The author calls for the ‘collaboration’ among librarians, the establishment of library networks, consortia, and private as well as public funding. The conundrum of copyright, data rights and collection policies was briefly examined.

Additional Subject headings might include:

Digital libraries
Web archiving
Digital preservation
Archival materials – Digitization
Library materials — Digitization
View all my reviews

What Library Will Create the First Real Website? (Please Stand Up)

Libraries | Websites | Catalogs

Matt Smith | August 2, 2017

It’s 2017 and the website of every single library in the country suffers from the same old, cruel, schizophrenic, UX nightmare dichotomy: the website and the catalog, the website versus the catalog. Two products, two experiences, two silos, two staff members behind them. Both are wannabees. The website is almost a catalog, and the catalog is almost a website. And together they are redundant, cluttered, confusing, and pointless to patrons.

The first library to figure out a true single user experience – that is to say, a real website – gets Library of the Year.

Scratch that.
Library of the Decade.

I truly believe that. We have come a long way, but we need to jump this hurdle. Our online presence – specifically the home page – is now more important than ever, more important than our physical space. With eBooks and eAudiobooks integrating into Search (sort of), with various providers like Overdrive, Hoopla, 3M, and Zinio – all of which are confusing to patrons; with online articles (if you can find them), online registration, online room booking, and online programs (and don’t get me started on online library cards which still don’t exist)….

Yeah, the website matters.

search_1

Source: What Library Will Create the First Real Website? (Please Stand Up)

Library Policies Created By Patron Bashing

Library Lost & Found

images-2Talking crap about patrons, as I’ve said before, might be the number one barrier to customer service in libraries. And when we talk about customer service we don’t just mean personal interactions at the public service desk – that’s the tip of the iceberg. We mean policies, procedures, services: from design to implementation. And sadly, a culture of patron negativity melts the iceberg (and prevents innovation).

Some examples (write yours in the comments):

Public service desks that look like military forts
I’m sure there’s some historical reason for gigantic public service desks – like we didn’t have computers back then or whatever – but c’mon. My library has an AV desk (“AV”, by the way, stands for “audiovisual”…that’s another discussion). Anyway, the AV desk is so large that helping a patron involves taking a short jog around the block. Showing the patron where a movie is – a hallmark of good customer service…

View original post 768 more words

Emerging Trends in Libraries for 2016 Stephen Abram, MLS

WHYY Public Media The future of libraries and why they still matter

 

With the rise of e-Books, Wikipedia, Google, and Smartphones, the way we access and consume information has changed dramatically. It used to be that we visited the local library to borrow a book, research a topic and read back issues of our favorite periodicals. In his new book, BiblioTECH: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, John Palfrey argues that libraries still fill an important role in the community and are crucial in a democratic society. Libraries provide valuable public spaces where people of all ages can learn and exchange ideas, he says. In this hour of Radio Times, we’ll talk about the future of libraries and how they have adapted in the digital age with JOHN PALFREY who is Head of School at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, and SIOBHAN REARDON, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia.