Goal setting – working big

I have just been chatting privately on Twitter with a friend who has taken on a management role. We were talking about our Myers Briggs personality type. We’re both INTJ – she is barely introverted and I am so introverted there’s nowhere else to go at  the end of the scale.

I was telling her that when I did some training a few years back we were split by personality type and I was the only INTJ. I think we’re about 1% of the population and even rarer in women. In our groups, we had to create a weather forecast. I was clearly struggling, sitting there with my piece of A3 paper. The tutor, Anne, who knew me well from prior sessions, leaned over and said “stick some pieces together”. It was an AHA! moment for me; I needed that permission to work on my own scale and take a helicopter view of things.

Some groups had detailed one day forecasts with pictures of fluffy smiling clouds, some had  a week-long forecast etc. I had a 5 year forecast that said we could expect rain, sun, wind…  Anne smiled and said, for me, I had got it exactly right.

There were two learnings from that for me and I have kept hold of them. I need to rise above things and take a helicopter view, to see where I am going, then come back down and sort the details. And it’s okay to work big – if I am planning something it’s better to grab a huge piece of paper and get messy, than fluff round trying to be neat and linear while achieving nothing.

Small, neat, detailed? Huge, messy, helicopter view? Something else? For that matter, have you ever thought about what suits you or are you doing what someone showed you and maybe it’s holding you back?

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This is why I am a librarian

This photo reminds me why we do what we do – because sometimes a kid just looks so pleased with themselves, their reading and their certificate. How cool is that?

I needed the reminder today; I have a bit too much on my mental to-do list and am feeling a little droopy round the edges. My husband’s not quite as good yet as we had hoped after all his surgery, which doesn’t help. Oh, and I see almost a month ago I said I was going to get back on track and haven’t. Hmm. I need to pull my (thankfully non-existent) socks up!


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Making mistakes

I’m slowly transferring some of my posts from the HyperLibMOOC to this blog so I don’t lose them and all the thinking that went with them. Here’s one that caught my eye this morning, because I’ve been thinking about what happens when people screw up:

I’ve just read Making mistakes in our daily work: A TTW Conversation between Warren Cheetham and Justin Hoenke here. I really like this conversation. I appreciate the level of transparency in how they work at Chattanooga Public Library and also the message that making mistakes is not just okay – it’s normal and a good opportunity to learn new stuff.

I’ve worked for the same Council for 20 years and part of our value statement is around the fact that we’re going to make mistakes as we strive to be industry leaders in customer service so admit them, learn from them, and move on.

As a combined council/library facility we receipt annual dog registrations. There’s a lot of emotion in pet ownership so people can get pretty grumpy with us; we’re forcing them to pay money they might not really be able to afford. Dog registrations can be quite complicated too. Each year one or two go wrong, and each year I’m one of the ones who messes up. As manager I put my hand up straight away and say “oh god, sorry, that one was me” if I’m the one who receipted it. Why? It’s the truth, and it reinforces the message that instant admission and a quick fix is the best way to move on. The photo, below, is a recent visitor to the library who needed a cuddle!

Same with programmes – as we try new things out some work, some don’t. It’s better to try and fail, than not have tried, otherwise we’d still be using card catalogues. I also think I need to learn to let go of ideas quicker if they’re not working out.

I tell my staff; if you make a mistake tell me and we’ll fix it. If no one died, everything else is fixable. I used to say “if there’s no blood on the carpet and no one died….” but, hey, the carpet’s over 10 years old now ;-) Our workplace is happy and low-stress and, as a result, I have a high performing team who I love working with. Mistakes happen but so does innovation and progress.


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In catch up mode

I’ve been missing in action for a few weeks, and am on a mission to catch up again. My husband had major surgery Monday of last week, which didn’t work (through no fault of the medical team I hasten to add) and had emergency surgery the next day to do two major procedures. He now has a warm pink foot and find-able pulses in his leg. There’s a lot of recovery to go but we’re on the up.

What do I need to catch up on? I need to email the new PubSIG committee and get things underway, complete another unit on my National Certificate in Museum studies, start my Te Reo course, stop lurking and start chatting again on Twitter, write a bunch of thank you letters, and get back to regular blogging. Easy! Watch this space – Kiwilibrarian is aiming to get back on track…


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OPLN for 2014

As part of the #hyperlibMOOC course I had to develop an online professional learning network plan and, at the start of 2014, I think it’s a good time to show it here.

Goals Statement 

I have been Deputy to the District Librarian in an informal capacity for a number of years, and more formally for the last 2 or 3 years. The District Librarian intends retiring at the end of 2014 and my overarching goal is to succeed in becoming the next District Librarian. All of my OPLN goals lead back to that one primary focus.

Goal: to learn more about the management of Museums and Art Galleries, as the District Librarian’s position is a GLAM role. Although I am currently the Museum manager, along with my two libraries, I have no formal training in that area.

Goal: to be able to meet and greet, and introduce myself, in Maori as a minimum standard. I serve a predominantly Maori community and it makes me uncomfortable that I can’t speak Te Reo.

Goal: to increase the presence of the libraries and museum on social media, while ensuring we develop an authentic voice.

Goal: to grow my professional network so that I have strong, forward-thinking library and museum people in my social media circle who I can learn from and bounce ideas off.

Defined Scope 

I am a public librarian and museum manager in South Taranaki, on the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand. As stated, my goal is to become District Librarian at the end of 2014. I have no desire to move outside of the South Taranaki Libraries; I love working for our Council and have a strong belief in our shared goals and vision. Staying here in Patea makes sense for personal reasons; my husband is retired and this is where we want to be.

I am, however, keen to become more involved in wider librarianship over time, perhaps with a national committee role under the LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa) umbrella. I am currently Co-chair of PubSIG (a special interest group for public librarians) and am on the Emerging Leader’s Working Group, also under LIANZA.

Resource Network

GLAM management: 

Complete the Art and Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies For Your Classroom MOOC through Coursera. I selected this course as it will give me more confidence when assisting staff to plan public events and school visits. I am comfortable managing staff who have skills I don’t, but like to have a basic framework of understanding and shared technical language.https://www.coursera.org/course/artinquiry

Follow the Eketahuna Mellemskov Museum Facebook page. This is a small, volunteer-run Museum, yet they manage to produce interesting and varied exhibitions on a very limited budget. It is run by Bridget Wellwood, the ex-Director of the Museum I now manage. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eketahuna-Mellemskov-Museum/192147504138073

Follow New Zealand Museum on Twitter, which they describe as “a site for you to explore New Zealand’s museums, art galleries and their collections”. I have chosen this because our Museum is a member of the organisation, they cover a wide range of New Zealand museums and galleries, and regularly offer training opportunities. https://twitter.com/nzmuseums

Te Reo Maori: 

Complete the Poupou huia Te Reo Certificate in Te Reo M?ori course run by Te Wananga o Raukawa, starting in January 2014. I chose this course because it is free, offers a mix of audio and online activities, and is suitable for a beginner. I have tried to learn Te Reo before, found it too difficult and withdrawn from the course, so want to start at beginner level. http://www.wananga.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40:te-reo&catid=11:our-courses

I have not selected any other resources for Te Reo Maori for the next six months as this one course will be quite a challenge for me.

Social media development: 

Regularly search the online journals through Massey University Alumni access for social media articles. There are no specifically social media focused journals available offsite to Alumni, but many of the journals contain relevant articles. http://online.sagepub.com.ezproxy-alumni.massey.ac.nz/

Subscribe to the Social Media New Zealand website and use their free resources. I chose this site because it has a New Zealand focus and I believe we often do things a bit differently to other countries and to have an authentic voice I feel we need to bear that in mind.http://socialmedia.org.nz/

Professional Network: 

Subscribe to the PubSIG listserv and Facebook page. PubSIG sits under the LIANZA umbrella and exists to promote and support public librarianship in Aotearoa / NZ. Members share news and information and, as Co-Chair, I am trying to ensure it becomes a vibrant network of engaged librarians.http://www.facebook.com/PubSIG/info  http://www.lsoft.com/scripts/wl.exe?SL1=PUBSIG-L&H=LISTSERV.CCC.GOVT.NZ

Follow a range of librarians on Twitter, using a list called Librarians who rock, many of whom I met through the ANZ23mobilethings course. I have chosen these librarians because they are spirited, forward-looking, intelligent, kind/generous and opinionated; all qualities I admire.https://twitter.com/KiwiLibrarian/lists/librarians-who-rock

Network Maintenance Plan 

I will review my OPLN every six months as part of my work’s performance appraisal process. I want to be an active participant in whatever forums I am involved with, so if I find I am only lurking I will stop using it. This is because if the learning isn’t active I don’t get the full benefit from it.

I have tried to include at least some resources where I can interact with people, rather than just read. I have looked for sites that will work on my laptop, as I normally study or network in the evenings, sitting on the sofa while my husband watches television or reads.?  Once I am comfortable that I have achieved what I set out to do in the above goals, I will develop a new OPLN, again as part of my six monthly appraisal process.

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Signing out for 2013

What a year it has been – a few rough downs, and some huge ups. Here my highlights, and the odd lowlight. I look forward to 2014 with enthusiasm and a sense of anticipation about good things to come.

  • ANZ 23 Mobile things – some amazing learnings and new friends
  • Blogjune, with #Flexnib, got me blogging more
  • one of my staff spent time of life support – it was incredibly scary
  • was part of the Emerging leaders Working Group
  • moved from Dewey to a ‘lounge room’ style in one of my libraries
  • blogged about the need to support our colleagues
  • interviewed a range of librarians about emerging leadership for LibraryLife
  • Sassy, our lovely library cat, died of cancer
  • blogged about bullying and how we can support vulnerable teens
  • discovered I need two knee replacements
  • presented at the annual LIANZA conference
  • completed the HyperLibMOOC through San Jose University
  • met MOOC tutor Michael Stephen in person – what a lovely man!
  • continued to Ch-chair PubSIG with the talented Joanne Dillon
  • gained my 3 yearly RLIANZA professional regregistration
  • was awarded LIANZA Associateship
  • accepted as a new member of the LIANZA Professional Registration Board


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Providing stability in unstable lives

I had a chat with a young library user the other day that got me thinking about all the things we provide that aren’t books. Like friendship, someone to talk to, unconditional acceptance, boundaries, and, for some, a sense of stability or permanence.

The child I was talking to is 10 and spends a lot of time at the library; she uses the iPad to write stories, draws us pictures and has recently discovered a love of reading. She joined the Summer Reading Programme but won’t be finishing it with us because she has to move to another town with an older relative.

Sarah and I felt sorry for her. She was clearly sad about going, and wasn’t going to be with her family for Christmas Day. We found a spare book and a book club certificate and presented those to her for doing her first SRP report-in. Sarah wrote her a note to take to the librarian in her new town, saying what a good reader she is and how we would miss her. She explained to her that it’s called a ‘letter of introduction’ and we hope having it will encourage her to make that connection.

Many of our kids live quite unstable lives, for all kinds of reasons, and often through no fault of the parents – it’s what happens in poor rural communities. The library can become one constant in a child’s ever-changing world; the town might be different, but the library is always kind of the same. I think that’s really important and hope my staff and I always take the time to make children feel welcome and secure.



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Being honest – life gets in the way

I was talking with someone doing research for their library qualification the other day. We got chatting about transparency, honesty etc when blogging as a librarian, and about how people negotiate private versus public. I commented that I keep the two fairly separate but believe in being authentically and identifiably me, so the two do cross over. This is one of those times. Why? Because what is happening in my private life is impacting on my professional life. I don’t have as much time or head space for my own professional development or networks at the moment. Here’s what I just posted on my personal blog:

Tony’s surgery is confirmed for Monday afternoon; we need to be at Waikato Hospital early Sunday afternoon for scans, pre-op etc. Although it’s awful timing, in the sense that he’ll spend Christmas and probably New Year in hospital, and I have to come home and do the newspaper and look after the animals, we’re so grateful it is being done urgently.

Last year, when they did the first bypass, he was only in hospital 2 or 3 nights but this time they expect it to be between 7 and 10 days. I suspect this is more major surgery because of what’s gone wrong – whatever that might be. We won’t know for sure till they do the scan Sunday afternoon.

I’m also grateful that I can stay with Sandra, my best mate of more than 45 years (not that I’m actually that old). It’s her first Christmas and 25 Dec birthday without her Mum so it’ll be great to share it, and the stress, with her. Plus she has wine…


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Bending the rules like Beckham

Sometimes the rules need to bend, like a shaft of light shining through water. We’re about to start our annual Summer Reading Programme and, in theory at least, the parents need to come in and sign their kids up. Except that for one of my communities there are kids who would really benefit from the programme but whose parents, for one reason or another, either won’t or can’t come in. Should their kids miss out? Hell no!

What’s my solution for kids who can’t get parental consent? Bend the rules of course! How simple is that? I care what happens to our kids, even on the days when they drive me to distraction, and even an after-hours gin. It matters to me that we provide as many opportunities for them as possible, so why let the rules get in the way…  (and yes, my manager knows we bend the rules a bit)

Here’s how Patea’s summer reading decorations are looking, I don’t have photos of the decorations in Waverley yet. I think it looks amazing; my staff have done a fabulous job of them as always, because they care too – that we get the kids excited about SRP and get them reading.

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Wrapping up some recent study

I’ve just completed an online course through San Jose University in the USA. One of the final assignments was to create something that expressed what you were taking away from the course. I  thought I’d share it, and will be sharing other blog posts from the course in the next few weeks.


I made eight videos tonight and deleted all  of them ;-)  I have spoken at conference quite a few times now and there’s a finality to it that I’m okay with. Yes, I stumble over a word sometimes, or pause too long and so on, but too bad. It’s like I tell people who are afraid to speak in public that everyone wants you succeed, they’re not wanting you to fail so just go for it. But being able to check and edit? Ugh…hopeless.

So I reverted to what I love – combining art and words to express myself. I know I should push myself to try something new, but I’m not. Not right now, anyway. So, here are my final thoughts, in visual form.


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