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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: Podcasting

    April 30th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Providing audio content on your library’s website improves the user experience and enriches patron services. WebJunction’s Pathfinder on Creating Audio and Podcasts for Your Library will navigate you to different resources on podcasting, including this quick guide. To acquaint yourself with the finer points of working with sound files, check out this article.

    Discover the unique needs of creating podcasts for academic libraries in Learning to Speak: Creating a Library Podcast With a Unique Voice.

    Check out examples of what other libraries are doing with podcasts at the Library Success Wiki Podcasting page.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Banish Burnout

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    Weekly Tips: Banish Burnout

    April 23rd, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Library professionals are no strangers to burnout. Indeed, the high demands of our work are sure to take a toll sooner or later. If you’re feeling the effects of burnout, it’s time to prioritize your well-being and recharge your batteries.

    Even when you love what you do, burnout can occasionally trickle in. Remember, it’s a good feeling when you can look forward to going to work. Be kind to yourself: take time to refocus your priorities, prevent exhaustion, and banish burnout!

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Join the Conversation

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    Weekly Tips: Join the Conversation

    April 17th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    An online discussion forum is a great medium for holding conversations amongst busy, geographically dispersed people. At WebJunction, the Discussion Boards are the place where your fellow library professionals deliberate all matters concerning our work, from technology to patron services. Since we all face similar problems, the next step is to share solutions! Some interesting topics to explore:

    • Test your patron services programming ideas or get inspired in The Idea Exchange.
    • Seeking employment in the library field comes with unique challenges. If you’re happily settled, share any tips and tricks to landing a fulfilling position in Job Searching.
    • Disaster doesn’t just happen to facilities. Check out the various Networking & Security threads for managing and protecting your library’s networks.
    • Some forum questions become the Question of the Week.

    Participating in a conversation with like-minded souls is heartening, and even if they’re not like-minded, thrashing out differences is an elevating learning experience. Think about taking the next step and join the conversation today!

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Online Communities of Practice

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    Weekly Tips: Online Communities of Practice

    April 9th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    According to this definition, a community of practice is “[An] informal, self-organized, network of peers with diverse skills and experience in an area of practice or profession”. Virtual communities of practice stem from emerging internet technologies, and their influence on knowledge management and innovation is well known. In the collaboration that occurs across community sharing, new knowledge is created, which can evolve a profession into exciting new territory. Has your engagement in your favorite communities been dwindling? Check out some resources to recharge your batteries:

    • Recent Research on Virtual Communities. Read this comprehensive article that covers everything from forum behaviors (have you ever “flamed” a discussion board?) to building successful virtual community spaces.
    • In Everything I Need to Know I Learned Online, WebJunction’s own Chrystie Hill advocates the leverage of online communities amongst librarians in order to enrich our work and improve patron services.
    • Library websites aren’t just for the catalog. Read about Michael Habib’s focus on creating community within library websites in this feature from the Member Spotlight Archives.
    • Use the Community of Practice discussion space in All Aboard for discussing your experiences with developing, contributing, and learning from communities of practice.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: The Open Source Alternative

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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: The Open Source Alternative

    March 31st, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    The debate between open source and proprietary software is lively and ongoing. Some libraries succeed with large-scale open source overhauls, while others prefer the use of one or two open source applications. The function, should you choose to go there, is dependent on the unique environment of your library. WebJunction has a focus on Open Source Software which includes the following articles that can help you evaluate where your library stands.

    What is Open Source?

    Uses in Public Access Computing

    Uses in Integrated Library Systems

    Uses in Virtual Reference Services

    There’s an upcoming course on open source solutions in April, don’t miss No Geeks Required: Open Source Public Workstations, Options and Issues. Also check out what WebJunction members are saying in the Open Source Solutions for Libraries discussion space.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Proactive Disaster Planning

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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: Proactive Disaster Planning

    March 24th, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Your ability to recover from disaster is in direct proportion to how prepared you are beforehand. WebJunction has a focus on preparation and prevention in Disaster Planning. Explore a group of resources that cover strategies for protection, including risk management, prevention methods, and creating a practical disaster relief plan.

    Flooding is one of the biggest concerns for libraries. In the aftermath of the destructive flooding of Hurricane Katrina, a nationwide sense of urgency arose in an effort to ready ourselves for future disasters. The following resources promote considerations for future prevention efforts:

    The following courses are a great opportunity for learning about effective disaster planning:

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Successful Patron Interactions

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    Weekly Tips: Successful Patron Interactions

    March 21st, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    If you’ve ever come away from a patron interaction feeling frustrated and discouraged, you’re not alone. Providing services to people is an unpredictable roller coaster of twists and turns, and sometimes it feels like you’re barely hanging on for the ride! The good news is that working effectively with the public is a skill set that can be learned and refined through practice.

    Techniques and tools can help you customize best practices to fit your personality and library. The following courses will help you manage the spectrum of patron interactions.

    Transform negative interactions into positive learning experiences through exchanges with your community. Getting support is crucial for maintaining an upbeat disposition.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Choose the Right Path

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    Weekly Tips: Build Strong Readers

    March 5th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    There are many factors that work against youth literacy, sprouting more and more reluctant readers every day. Once we get them in the library the opportunities for fostering a lifelong passion for reading are endless. The challenge is big, but extra resources and your library community can help you create a strong group of future bibliophiles!

    Giving young readers a platform to voice their opinions is another idea. The Pacific Northwest Library Association’s Young Reader’s Choice Award is coming up in mid-March, and this post from All Aboard refers to the helpful nominee discussion guides from Multnomah County Library.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Harness the Power of the Budget

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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: Harness the Power of the Budget

    February 26th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Regardless of whether you write this detailed planning report, its contents affect every aspect of library operations. The following three companion courses will get you up to speed on making sense of budgets:

    • Understanding Budgets – This overview course can help you take control of the budget process with confidence.
    • Basic Budgeting – Learn about different budget building blocks, including forecasting, presentation, and adoption.
    • Financial Management – Once the budget has passed, the work of managing it begins. This course covers ongoing concerns such as budget revisions, tracking systems, and financial management software.

    Technology and materials are examples of two important expenditures covered by your budget. Browse Technology Budgeting for help with planning technology costs. In All Aboard, members are discussing the Materials Budget Allocation and Materials Budget for Rural Libraries. Finally, further resources can be found at ALA’s wiki, which has a spot for Library Budgets and Funding.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Planning Interior Spaces

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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: Planning Interior Spaces

    February 20th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Space Planning Resources
    This list of Helpful Library Building Links provides quick information on ADA and interior design information. Stop by the Space Planning discussion forum to seed new questions, ideas, and best practices in creating new environments and revamping existing library spaces. Another community place for seeking and providing space planning resources is the PubLib listserv.

    Furniture
    In The Three Cs of Furniture Design: Congregate, Communicate, Collaborate, Tish Murphy gives a fascinating perspective on library furniture design. In How to Select Durable Furniture for Your Library, she discusses considerations such as materials, testing for longevity, and doing a trial run with samples.

    Shelving and Displays
    Check It Out: Shelving and Display Solutions offers merchandising ideas for library materials. The Readers’ Advisory discussion forum in All Aboard features various threads on display ideas, including Book Displays and More Book Displays.

    Atmosphere
    Setting the stage for a pleasant environment consists of multiple factors. What Libraries Can Learn from Bookstores discusses important “retail atmospherics” such as smell, music, lighting, and layout.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Librarian Exchange

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    Weekly Tips: Librarian Exchange

    February 11th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Powerful learning transpires from stepping outside of your comfort zone, and interrupting your daily work routine can certainly be out of the ordinary. Gain the gift of a broader view of yourself and your work by tapping into exchange programs:

    • ALA’s International Relations Round Table (IRRT) has an International Exchanges Committee that is a hot destination for finding opportunities and support.
    • In this article, librarian Robin Kear discusses important points to consider before actively pursuing an international trip. Check out the resources at the end and also here from her 2005 ALA Annual Conference presentation.
    • The Role of Libraries in Multicultural Relationships – In this thoughtful and inspiring paper, Helen Carpenter shares her experiences and lessons drawn from a global journey exploring the connection between libraries and multicultural relationships.
    • A discussion thread has recently been revived in the International Libraries forum of All Aboard. Connecting with your international colleagues online is a great first step to making the journey happen.

    If international travel isn’t within your means, or just isn’t for you, try exploring national and local exchange opportunities. It’s amazing how even different libraries in the same regional system can vary dramatically in processes. Happy travels!

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Databases: Get the Word Out

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  • Weekly Tips

    Weekly Tips: Databases – Get the Word Out

    February 5th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    Do you call them research tools, databases, or e-sources? Are they organized by subject area or alphabetized by database name? No matter how your library provides these services, advertising their presence is critical to increasing usage.

    Word of mouth through individual interactions is certainly a great way to acquaint patrons with e-sources, but a supplemental introductory workshop can take it one step further. Organize classes according to user group, such as high school students or Spanish-speakers, or by database topic, such as genealogy or medicine.

    Begin with refining your existing skills:

    • Using Databases – This in-depth course addresses ways in which librarians can conduct successful and meaningful research in their library’s electronic databases.
    • Business & News Resources on the Web – This practical course offers strategies for locating and searching free and low-cost alternatives to subscription-based business and company information aggregators.

    Create training workshops:

    Developing Computer Classes for Patrons is a must-read for developing a winning curriculum for technical training. Featured in this thoughtful compilation of resources are two discussion board topics:

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Keep Your Cookbooks Handy

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    Weekly Tips: Keep Your Cookbooks Handy

    January 28th, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    The cookbook metaphor is an excellent idea for aggregating best practices into a practical and effective format. Pick and choose what ideas are best for your library in the same manner that kitchen recipes can be customized to fit unique needs based on resources, time, and experience.

    • The Diversity Cookbook: From Ocean County Library, this resource compiles recipes for diversity programming and events. Browse the Cookbook and add your own recipes here.
    • So far, the MaintainIT Project has two cookbooks on their shelf. The Joy of Computing series will help your library improve technology services. A Cookbook for Small and Rural Libraries and Recipes for a 5-Star Library contain meal plans for inspired implementation. Check out how your community is Using the Cookbooks in this All Aboard discussion.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Ethics in Librarianship

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    Weekly Tips: Ethics in Librarianship

    January 21st, 2008 | Permalink | Comments Off

    When making a decision on the job, how do you know you’re choosing the most ethical option? Does your library consider the ethical ramifications of certain policies and procedures? Although different branches of librarianship have specialized codes, ALA’s Code of Ethics is an inspiring framework that applies to our discipline as a whole.

    When we think in terms of such topics as the digital divide, information literacy, and equity of access, operating from an ethical governance emerges as paramount for the field of library science. WebJunction offers two courses in ethics as applied to work practices:

    What does ethical librarianship mean to you? WebJunction would like to hear your view, just email content@webjunction.org or leave a comment.

    Last Week’s Poll Results: Providing Access to Technology

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