In a recent Local Government article Tim Antric, Executive Director of Public Libraries of NZ, talked about 7 criteria for 21st century libraries. We’ve made a few changes over the last year or so, so I was keen to see how we rated. We rate fairly well on 6 of the 7 criteria – where we fall down is in being economic catalysts. This is an area where we’re starting to work more closely with Council’s Community Development Advisors to assist local businesses.
So do we get an A+? Hell no! There is work we need to do in all these areas. For instance, we subscribe to some databases but people don’t really use them. We need to investigate why not and probably promote and educate more. I doubt we do enough story telling, either of our history or of the stories of people who are newer to our communities.
It’s good to know we’re doing ok, great to know where we can improve, and timely to be reminded this is an ongoing journey not a final destination.
Sometimes I know things and can articulate them. Sometimes I know things and I can’t articulate them. Do you know that feeling? Sometimes I experience something and it’s the utter embodiment of what I haven’t been able to articulate.
I know how I want the libraries I manage to feel. We’ve been working towards it and things are great, but I’m not so good at putting into words what I’m trying to achieve. I can throw a lot of buzz words at you – collaborate, STEM, community etc – but what’s the vision?
Recently Pam, our District Children’s Librarian, purchased some Little Bits. I had a play and thought they were cool. Zade, our summer student, made a cardboard dog using Little Bits. When you press the pressure sensor his nose twitches, his tail wags and his eyes light up. Now he’s turning him into a dinosaur the kids can make in our “prehistoric” school holiday programme at the end of term 1.
Last week the Bee-Bots Pam had ordered turned up. I brought one home to play with and again thought it was pretty cool.
On Friday I was playing with it on my desk with a couple of staff. We were all engaged in what we were doing, talking about ways to get kids excited, and different challenges the book club kids can do using them.
TOTAL LIGHTBULB MOMENT! That’s what I want in our libraries. A place where those *aha!* moments happen – for staff, kids, adults, business people, tourists … for anyone who steps through our doors. Now I just have to turn all this into a sentence, not an essay!
Well, my first week back after the Christmas break is done and dusted. I had a few reports and financials to sort out, but I had plenty of thinking and planning time. It’s all too easy to spend all your time on doing, sometimes even work that isn’t important, because sitting around thinking feels unproductive. Am I right?
I try to allow time in my schedule each week for reading, thinking and planning for our future. If I don’t do it, who else is going to … and it should be part of my role. This week is fairly meeting-light too, so hopefully I can keep imagining our future.
How do you find time for imagining the future? Do you allow yourself time at work, or spend the wee hours of the night thinking about it?
At the start of the year I set myself a range of work-related goals. This was my first year as Manager Libraries and Cultural Services so the calendar coincided nicely with settling into my new role.
One goal eluded me yet again – learning Te Reo, although I did improve. It remains on my goal list. Unfortunately for me learning a language is right up there with quantum physics; interesting but damn hard!
I am not being as ambitious this year, and am not even up dating my personal learning plan. I know – gasp! I spend a lot of time telling people to be kind to themselves and the others. This is me being kind to me.
Tony is having major surgery on February 2nd and the outcome is uncertain, as is the healing time. In March I am taking over as Chair of the Profession Registration Board with LIANZA. And we are getting into the serious planning stages for a new central library/combined facility in Hawera.
I think that’s enough to be going on with. So, in 2016 I will continue to learn Te Reo, keep up professionally via Twitter, and take learning and development opportunities as they come. Thanks for being with me in 2015, and here’s to an awesome 2016.
Each year I choose a word that centres me, a word I come back to when I need reminding of my focus and of what’s important to me. I put a lot of thought into my word and surround myself with it; in small artworks, in my art journals and on my office wall. In previous years I have chosen calm, kindness, learn, determined, map and balance.
I have been a follower of Dr Wayne Dyer for many years. He passed away this year just as I was finishing his latest book. He always spoke of the power of intention, so this is for you Dr Wayne. In 2016 it is my INTENTION to:
- stay calm and act from a place of kindness
- continue making changes at work that create a positive atmosphere
- use my time efficiently so I can achieve all that’s in my head
- schedule my time effectively so I contribute well to the wider profession
- be receptive to the possibilities all around me
- spend quality time with Tony and the furkids
- nurture my creativity
Looking back on 2015, my word was CALM. It helped align my actions with my intention to achieve with kindness. As a guiding word it served me well because when I am CALM:
- I respond rather than react
- I hear people out and think before speaking
- I consider the consequences of my actions
- I balance the urgent with the important
- I get a lot done through being prepared and not rushing
- I take life’s ups and down in my stride
- I ensure I have art time to keep me balanced
- I make time for Tony and I so we stay happy
On Friday a group of us redid our MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator); I’d last done a facilitated one 9 years ago. I am, as before, an INTJ – the I and J are strong. To give you some perspective, here are the actual scores:
- Extroversion 1, Introversion 9. This is different to last time – then I was 10 out of 10 for introversion. I’m not shy though, that’s different. Okay, I am a bit…
- Sensing 7, iNtuition 13.
- Thinking 11, Feeling 9. This is considerably different to last time, when the F was very low, and has changed through a conscious effort to be kinder.
- Judging 16, Perceiving 4.
That strong ‘I’ is a key driver for me. As the worksheet says, I need to think before I speak (extroverts often speak to think), prefer a calm atmosphere, and find too much interaction stressful. Introverts have a measured approach to change and prefer to start the problem solving process individually.
I have a postcard on my wall that I can see all the time. What does it say? Calm! So, yes, a calm workplace matters to me. I dislike being made to answer on the spot and if I need to, I ask for thinking time before answering.
The LIANZA conference #shout15 is less than a week away. What does that strong ‘I’ mean for me at conference? Each day I work at engaging with people; by midday I’m feeling tired and need some quiet time. It means presenting is difficult (okay, terrifying) but I recognise it’s important and do it anyway. I need to allow myself time out, remind myself constantly that meeting people matters, and acknowledge I’m going to be uncomfortable.
Why am I writing this, when it’s quite personal? 30-50% of the population is introverted, although not many are as extreme as me I guess. It means many of you heading to conference are anxious, a bit scared and worried about how you’ll cope. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself time to recharge and seek out others to sit quietly with. I’m always happy to sit in silence with you for a bit See you at #shout15
The school holidays were amazing; the libraries were busy and the staff cope incredibly well with a full programme of events. With the help of Connor from IT, and a whole heap of donated old stuff, we pulled things apart at the libraries during the holidays. The kids loved it, and it really got them thinking about the technology we use.
We also has 3D printing sessions with Vik Olliver from Diamond Age. Vik was great at talking with kids of all ages, and they made some very cool things. These were fab sessions and I hope we see Diamond Ag back down our way – lovely, lovely people.
Recently Sue did a very thorough weed and rearrange of the non-fiction at one of our branches. I asked Katherine (who is great with Excel) to plot issues by collection, per branch, for the last three years so I could talk with the branch managers about trends. What a revelation! The non-fiction issues at that branch had been slowly dropping the whole time but in August they shot up again – just after the weed was completed. Having the issues plotted as a line graph makes the correlation so clear.
Since I took over managing all the libraries I’ve instigated a district weeding team so there’s consistency and an ongoing programme of weeding, I’m so glad I did. It’s no use waiting to weed just because you need space, I prefer we weed to keep our collections looking fresh. What’s your approach?
Cartoon from https://olcsmalllibraries.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/weeding-library-collections/
This is a quick thought to end the week on. Last week there was a *lot* of talk on the various library listservs about the TPPA and what stance, if any, LIANZA should be taking on our behalf. There are clearly some very strongly held opinions on this quite emotive topic. What impressed me was that people got their point across but stayed respectful. No name calling, no subtle put downs – just passionate debate. I love our profession and am glad people spoke up. I’ll be interested to see where the debate takes us this week and what we do with it.
On Friday I started filling in the annual APLM (Assoc Public Library Managers) statistics spreadsheet. APLM collect a wide variety of stats about issues, people through the door, staff numbers, budget etc. All good stuff, and useful in all kinds of ways.
Of course there’s a but, more than one in fact. Take staff numbers for instance. We have 7 branches for a relatively small district because that’s what our ratepayers want. Also, we do full council services, so between the two things we look seriously over-staffed if someone looks at the stats without the back story.
My biggest concern,though, is that stats don’t tell people’s stories. The life changing things that happen in a library, and the small triumphs. Kids learning to read, men giving up drugs with our help so they can get a job, people finding a relative through our resources. That’s the true value of what we do. I’m grateful that LIANZA helps us promote our true value, but we have to do our bit too. It’s an area my team and I need to put more effort into… How about you; are you telling feel-good stories?