Honored as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker this week, I’ve most certainly been reminded of all of the incredible people who have influenced me in my library journey. While I can’t possibly list and thank *everyone* who I’ve learned with, worked with or been mentored by, I can take this opportunity to urge you recognize how you yourself inspire those around you, whether or not you define it as “moving & shaking.”
Many years ago (nod here to my first mentor at St. Olaf), I was urged to read a book that taught me the importance of “learning how to learn.” Since then I have used Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s 1969 book, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, to illustrate how we, libraries and librarians, are very subversive in our ways. We provide for our communities, an environment nurtured by collaborative and continuous learning and yet rarely are we *formally* recognized as teachers. You likely mentor your patrons, colleagues or friends, but rarely do you acknowledge yourself as their mentor. And I’m intrigued by the subversive interrelationship of mentoring and leadership and how so often leadership is developed unbeknownst to the leader. Take it from me, you may or may not accept it, but you are likely a leader in the work you do!
When crises emerge, when gaps are found, and when opportunities arise, members of the library community are called on to lead the conversation, to facilitate the information sharing and to model the learning. Whether library director or patron, student page or new board member, we are all agents of what I call “leadership as a subversive activity.”
So as you move through your work, I encourage you to reflect regularly on how you subversively “move & shake” your communities, and recognize how you teach, lead and mentor those around you. And begin now nominate those in the library community who should *overtly* be recognized as a 2012 Mover & Shaker!
I want to extend a special thanks to those who nominated me for this award and also to those who urged, “You should go to library school!” Their mentorship ultimately led me to this amazing job. Thank you *everyone* for the work you do and for the role you play as stewards of this WebJunction community!
Our fellow staffer Michael Porter (aka Libraryman) has been spending his off hours working slavishly with David Lee King on a project they call Library 101. We know Michael as an unrepentent cheerleader of libraries and librarians who can convince anyone to get up and dance and sing for the cause (and have fun while doing it!). Well, their project debuted just a few days ago, with quite a splash. The project website includes a collection of more than 20 essays from thought leaders in the field, an extensive list of resources (101, actually) on “need to know” technology, and last but not least, a 7-minute song and video featuring Michael, David, and a huge cast of characters from libraries around the globe. Around the office, we all have the chorus “101 our parts make a sum that will be the key to what is to come. 101’s how we get the job done! Evolve and make your Library 101!” totally stuck in our heads.
Michael and David are hoping that you will help build the project by adding your comments to the essays, to answer the question, What do you think librarians need to know to succeed?
Next week, Kathryn Perkins, WebJunction’s director of Partner Services, will be presenting at Talentpalooza 2009, a live online webinar series that is held annually to discuss the latest trends in talent management.
You can read about what the guest speakers will be presenting on the site’s blog. Here is what Kathryn wrote:
Are you fully engaging the social learning aspect of your customer communities as a critical talent management resource to build high-potential staff, improve productivity, and enhance recruiting and learning efforts more efficiently and at a lower cost?
At WebJunction, we provide online learning community services to a wide variety of library organizations. Our customers (whom we call our partners) range from state libraries that develop custom learning communities, to library organizations that use our competency index and online courses for staff training. As a central hub of the community’s activity, we see talent and learning trends in our industry and the important role communities play in communication, networking, referrals and skill development.
With a number of states’ legislature budgets delayed or sharply decreased, along with record numbers of people flocking to the libraries, library staff are reaching out to their colleagues across the library field to assist in mentoring and collaborating on talent management initiatives. Online social networks are fostering connections, helping staff share information quickly and effectively across geographically diverse libraries and helping to establish broad recruiting circles.
Why are recruiting circles so important at a time of diminishing budgets and staff reductions? Libraries have faced significant retirements this year and expect this to continue into 2014. Filling these roles with experienced staff has become difficult, especially in states that have been hit particularly hard by the decrease in housing values. The lack of mobility within these states has pushed libraries to recruit from outside of their traditional geographic regions. The use of customer communities provides a cost-effective means of reaching out as well as serving as a positive asset to attract young prospective recruits.
Libraries are also reporting training positions being reduced or training staff taking on additional organizational responsibilities. In response, communities are helping by aggregating content and resources so that individual libraries can make the best use of limited time and not “reinvent the wheel.” Another promising activity that we see developing is cohort learning on rapid elearning development tools. Guru groups are forming around building expertise with the tools by sharing members’ best practices and enlightened failures.
I would like to hear if you are seeing some of the same talent and training trends. How is your organization leveraging your customer communities?
There’s a new group on WebJunction created by and for UAE School Librarians. The group’s creator describes it as a “resource and information sharing group for school librarians working in English medium schools in the United Arab Emirates.” Welcome to all the UAE librarians…19 of you became WJ members in June!
And with UAE in the group spotlight, what better time to share some exciting news about WebJunction staffer, Zola Maddison. She has accepted an offer to serve as the Coordinator of the Learning Enhancement Center at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. While all in the WebJunction family, members, partners and staff, will miss her greatly, we’re excited for this new chapter in Zola’s career and we know that she’ll remain an active member on the site! Zola has this to share:
As many of you know, I’ve been interested in global libraries for a long time. While I can’t remember a time I didn’t have the travel bug, I think this cross-section of interests really grew from my experiences as a foreign exchange student in Indonesia during Suharto’s regime. That was where I first saw information access as a means of political power (and if you’re ever having a hard time falling asleep, you can read my article on the topic). While I was in “library school,” I concurrently completed a certificate in International Development, Policy and Management. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with libraries across the US, Canada, South Africa and Guatemala.
I am incredibly excited about this opportunity, but am equally sad to leave my WebJunction family. I hope you’ll keep me connected through WebJunction (zmaddison).
Zola joined WebJunction about two years ago as a Special Projects Coordinator and quickly moved into her current role as a Partner Services Consultant. She has been working with our State Library partners since November 2007 has led efforts to showcase our partners as thought leaders in the e-learning and online community space.
Throughout her time here, Zola’s interest in working with international libraries has also been apparent as she presented at the IFLA conference in South Africa, received sponsorship for the ALA Emerging Leaders program from the International Relations Round Table, and onboarded WebJunction’s first international partner, BC Libraries.
If you’re attending ALA, be sure to stop and congratulate her, and know that we won’t let her stray far from the WebJunction fold! I’ve already got her on my list of prospective webinar presenters…I see a session on international librarianship coming soon!
WebJunction has always been about community and learning. Because this is at the heart of both how and why we operate, we wanted to share some WebJunction news with our members, partners and Libraryland at large that is not as easy, fun or joyful to share as usual.
Over the last two years, to build the latest expanded and improved iteration of WebJunction, we have made a series of rapid expansions in staff. During this process we have always staffed our organization appropriately for the tasks at hand and the projects currently being undertaken. Up until now this has meant a continual expansion of staff and departments.
However, now that our new platform is launched, and after reviewing our future plans, along with consideration of the downturn of the economy here in the US, we have concluded that we must make some difficult staffing adjustments.
Sadly, internally for WebJunction, this means that several people on staff that have helped us grow have roles that must be redirected and refocused into other areas. In real terms that means both the elimination of some positions and the adjustment of others.
Partners and members can count on the same level of service and responsiveness. However, internally at WebJunction this means we will have fewer staff and will have to say goodbye to some employees that we both highly value and deeply appreciate.
We sincerely want our members, partners and Libraryland at large to know that WebJunction is still running full steam ahead. In fact, these changes will help us to continue to roll out new products and services, as well as pursue new partnerships in the library community in the coming years.
While this is a very difficult process to go through organizationally we know that it is necessary and will ultimately help ensure WebJunction’s sustainability and relevance as a learning community for everyone. All the folks at WebJunction would also like to add that there are now a few WebJunction “alumni” that could make powerful additions to your organization. If they worked at WebJunction you can bet that they are intelligent, hard working and highly valuable assets to the library field and we hope you’ll join us in wishing them well.
If you have any questions please feel free to email us individually, leave a comment on this post or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the last four days, my home internet connection has been on the fritz. Mostly down but still sputtering off and on. In fact, if you listen very carefully I am fairly convinced that you can hear my router coughing and hacking away in the corner. The reason this is a fuss for me is that (as you may have seen on the news), Seattle has had the most snow it has seen in years (something like 40 years last I heard). So, if you work at WebJunction; at home because you are snowed in and you have no internet, what ever do you do? Well, you build a seven foot tall snowman of course!
And as you likely know, building a seven foot tall snowman is no simple feat. Especially when it has a goatee made of native NW flowering shrubbery (hey, half of WebJunction is based in Seattle, right? I had to make it as authentic as possible). So needless to say, this snowman making, in addition to being surprisingly good exercise, gave me time to think about enjoy the no internet/huge amount of snowfall situation at hand. So as I am rolling giant balls of snow around the yard during work hours it struck me that this is part of why I work in Libraryland. No, no, no, not because I got a partial snow day! *rolls eyes* The thing is, if I really wanted to, I could have trudged through five blocks of un-shoveled walks to get to my neighborhood library. And even if they had no internet I still *could* have still used their resources (you know, ask the librarian for books on how to build a fire, maybe a nice work of Yeti-related fiction). And even if the library didn’t have internet it would still have a solid permanent collection (including non-circulating reference if the situation got really, really tough and all the books got checked out).
And while chiseling those handsome features into my mammoth snowman *rolls eyes at self*, I started thinking that even though much of what WebJunction does is on the internet, the connections (pun intended), useful conversations, shared resources, tools and learning that have happened on the site are still with us all, even when we are “away” (by choice or chance) from the web. So I guess with this post I wanted to show you my snowman, tell the story of what was running through my head while making him and thank you. Thank you for being a part of it all. And as the year winds up, it snows in lots of places and people gather to be together as friends and family I wanted to thank you for reading this, for being a part of Libraryland and the WebJunction family, and also thank you for doing the important, always valuable work you do in your community. Even if things like inclement weather, technology challenges or tough economic times affect us. Regardless of our situation, we can often find a snowman to make and I can’t think of a better group of professionals I’d like to help me lift that 80lb snowball head to the top of this giant snowman. While that was very, very far from the perfect analogy, we do want to wish you all well and thank you. And if you have time off this season, enjoy, drive careful and much Libraryland love to you all.
Lots of Wj staffers have been out there on the road this month presenting on a wide variety of subjects. Some sessions have been WJ-centric and others related to specific Libraryland topics outside of just WebJunctionland. And while it isn’t the same as being there, we do have a couple little goodies from our sessions to share.
For starters, you can see several presentations (or at least truncated version of them) on this page:
Here is a link to the “text-y” part of the “Ubiquitous Computing and Library Features” session the Chris Peters (from Maintain IT) and I did at Internet Librarian. MaintainIT blogged the session here as well. Here is a picture of Chris and I working on this presentation. If you look closely you will see that Chris is pounding on the computer. Don’t worry, we got it all worked out by the time we gave the presentation.
I also did a session at the LITA Forum last week in Cincinnati and while copyright says “Don’t you put that entire presentation on the web, Mister!”, I did put together a little snippet which gets to the point of why we all work so hard, why our jobs are so important and why we are generally filled with what an especially endearing friend of mine likes to call “awesomesauce”.
If we didn’t see you at any of the myriad “Fall Conference Season” events out there in Libraryland, watch out! We’ll likely be bumping into you some time soon (and we promise it won’t make you want to bang on your computer too hard).
As you already know, this weekend WJ launched its long awaited upgrade and many of you are busy exploring the exciting new functionality. We know it isn’t perfect but with your help we will continue to improve and refine it to provide the tools that will be most useful to you.
As the founder of WJ I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped bring us to this point. Six years ago there was no WebJunction, just a dream that, working together, we could create a community in which library staff could share information and provide support for each other. The Gates Foundation funded that dream and OCLC provided a home. But none of that would have been enough without a first rate staff of people who believed in the dream and were willing to work tirelessly to make it happen.
Even more important, it couldn’t have happened without you, the members and partners of WJ. We now have 15 community partners and are visited by 70,000 unique individuals a month. You provide the content; you are the community. You are WebJunction.
At the end of August I will step down as Executive Director secure in the knowledge that our shared dream will survive and flourish. I expect to continue to contribute to the WJ community but in a somewhat less intense fashion. For more information about my personal goals as I move into the next version of my own life please visit my personal blog: http://thepacific.typepad.com/
For now I just want to say thank you. It has been a grand experience.
Friday was the annual Bike to Work Day in Seattle. It’s part of a Bike to Work Month program that last year saw 7,500 local cyclists pedal more than a million miles. This year WebJunction fielded a team of 12 bike commuters willing to brave the iffy Seattle weather on two wheels. Early 2008 reports show a record setting pace across the entire contest.
A few of us at the office are year-round bike commuters, a few ride when the weather is good and time allows, and the remainder on team BikeJunction are using this month to try bike commuting for the first time. Not surprisingly we report varied reasons for participating:
By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with the stuff I normally write about on BlogJunction. Well, since I’m a community dork, it’s fairly easy to tie everything to community. Even with our different riding motivations, skill levels, and experience, we’ve developed into a small but vibrant commuting community. We support each other, offer route tips, provide encouragement about big hills or bad weather, and act as sounding board for major life decisions—like new bike purchases.
When I tell people that part of my job at TechAtlas is to introduce libraries to the idea of writing and developing technology plans – I sometimes get some painful looks. I know, I know, technology planning definitely isn’t the glamorous side of library work (whatever that side might be), BUT it so truly important and I believe that good planning helps to build good libraries. And I’m pretty much a geek at heart and I love what I do. Hopefully I get to reach people that are ready to invest in the future of their library by carving out some time for planning.
This past Tuesday I was fortunate to spend the day with a group of librarians at the Texas Library Association Conference who came to spend the whole day learning about technology planning and how TechAtlas can help them work through the steps. I co-presented with Tine Walczyk from the Texas State Library and Archives and it was really a great experience for me to get to train with her. She brought up some great points for libraries to keep in mind as the work through the planning process.
So thanks to all of the attendees in Texas and I hope that you enjoyed the session!
It is with great sadness, but lots of well-wishes for a bright future ahead of her, that we bid farewell to Program Director Liz Kellison. Liz was our first Content Manager and the third WebJunction employee EVER. She’s been with the project since before it began – quite literally! – as she was one of the authors of our original grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with our Executive Director Marilyn Mason. Largely responsible for the initial vision of our service, Liz is famous around the office for promoting “read, learn and share” – i.e., bringing together courses, discussions, and articles all together on a single WebJunction page. Liz has been fun to work with, inspiring as a leader for us and for libraries, and a tireless advocate for our programs and the people we work with. We will miss her dearly, but hope you’ll join us in wishing her well in all her future endeavors. (sniff. sniff.)
Today at the Illinois Library Association’s annual conference, WebJunction Illinois was publicly unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Community Partner team leads Dawne and Lisa were joined by our very own Rachel, Lisa, and Kevin – giving WJ-IL a great kick off!
The WJ-IL home page looks great (check out the video and the toolbar -first WJers to do these!). We’re excited about all the ways the IL State Library has customized their WJ service for library staff there, and we really look forward to working with them to build out our online communities for library staff development. We expect our work with IL to not only push us forward with new tools and formats, but also provide a model for delivering online community services through a single spot for the whole state.
Congrats to the state library and especially to Dawne and Lisa – you’ve worked hard and it shows!! Welcome to WebJunction – we’re glad you’re here!
WebJunction is hiring immediately for a full-time Special Projects Coordinator for the Community Services Team. The position will support all aspects of WebJunction.org site maintenance and up-keep; assist in daily administrative tasks associated with member and customer communications, staff travel and logistics planning. This is a one-year position with full benefits, based in Seattle.
·Upload, update, reorganize, and archive website content through content management system as directed; maintain and facilitate team-related wikis, message boards, and blogs; assist in development of new feature formats, including multimedia.
·Create collaborative agenda for monthly user group meetings; assist with regular communications and data reporting to customer partners (i.e., quarterly snapshots, PowerPoint and LiveSpace files, and other regular communications); set up meetings, LiveSpace rooms; assist with invoicing and contracts.
·Assist with staff travel, expense reporting, and meeting logistics planning.
·Special projects, as assigned: i.e., customer toolkits, new member programs, team research and information sharing, conference planning and proposals.
·Office management and/or administrative experience required
·Experience with web-based tools (e.g., content and event management systems) required; HTML knowledge preferred
·Interest or experience in libraries, social networking, and/or interactive web-design strongly preferred
Interested candidates should apply online with cover letter and resume at http://www.oclc.org/careers/default.htm.
Here is a very happy shot of a nice hunk of your friendly neighborhood WJ team members during a recent meeting we had in Seattle. Three days of very productive meetings were held in the always visually impressive main Seattle Public Library. We worked and thought very hard, focusing like lasers on the tasks at hand and getting lots and lots done. Heck, we even sang a song along the way. In fact, we were singing when I took this shot! While I can’t repeat the words to this particular song, suffice it to say that Jeff was hazing me by leading the group sing-along of this particular ditty. Don’t worry, for the greater good of the community legal action will not be forthcoming.
In addition to singing, we really did work very hard. Trust me when I promise that you’ll see result springing up as we move forward (cool, cool stuff!).
While we’re talking about being at the Seattle Public Library here is a shot of one of Libraryland’s very favorite Chrysities, Chrystie Hill. She was on break from this meeting in the hallway, on her cell phone, in a separate meeting! Between that and the reflection on the floor, we’ve got some seriously recursive action going on here! Enjoy!