Yesterday, I attended a workshop put on by the North Carolina Special Libraries Association, called Library School 2.0. It was a Friday afternoon workshop (which included a box lunch first) on the SAS campus in Cary, North Carolina.
I’d never been to SAS before, so I didn’t realize what a big campus it is! George’s sister-in-law works there, so now I have a better understanding of things when she talks about work!
I pre-registered for this workshop, but paid when I arrived. At the registration table, I got to meet Tiffany Lopez for the first time, which was fun! (Tiffany and I were already Facebook friends, as she’s an NCCU SLIS alum and has Alabama ties like I do.) I also got to talk with Susan Forbes, who is the assistant director of the library at the local Environmental Protection Agency.
I enjoyed sitting with Tamara, one of my classmates at NCCU SLIS. We have both Foundations and Selection & Use of Information Sources together this semester. I also enjoyed visiting with Karen J. at the break. She’s an NCCU SLIS alum too, and was the very first intern I worked with.
As you can see from the picture on the left, NCSLA had an interesting agenda for the workshop. Tamika Barnes, who talked about hiring, is an NCCU SLIS alum and Director of the EPA Library. Elaine Teague (SAS) and Mary Lane (Lorillard) are corporate librarians who talked about ROI, Return on Investment, and how we need to convey the value of our work to stakeholders. Then Aisha Harvey, Head of Collection Development, and Jean Ferguson, Head of Research Services, both at Duke University Libraries, talked about managing small and large library budgets. At the end, Diane Chapman, a professor at NC State University, talked about how to make better presentations. I thought the agenda looked really interesting, and I wasn’t let down. All of the presenters were quite good, and I learned (or was reminded of) some interesting things.
During Tamika Barnes‘ presentation on hiring, a couple of points that really stuck out to me were 1) make sure to address the requirements of the position in your resume/cover letter, and 2) make sure to keep your references up-to-date. With the interns I’ve worked with over the past couple of years, I’ve always offered to serve as a reference, but I encourage each one to drop me a line and let me know when they’ve used my name as a reference for a job. I like to be able to put in a good word, and being surprised by a call can be weird. (I actually have been caught off guard by a reference request before, and it was awkward!)
Hearing Elaine Teague and Mary Lane talk about ROI really interested me, and it still has me thinking about how it applies to my work in an academic library. I looked up ROI (return on investment) before the workshop, which helped, but I really enjoyed hearing more about ROI and the importance of making sure that “stakeholders” know the value of the library and library staff. I’ve always thought that “numbers talk,” but Elaine and Mary talked about the importance of getting beyond the numbers and making the results more personal. Maybe you processed 600 interlibrary loan requests last year, but what is the VALUE of those ILL requests? What did they help your patrons accomplish? It could be time-consuming to track every request, but it seems that taking a sampling (no matter what kind of library) could help give meaning to the work, for staff in the trenches as well as for administration. It’s great to know a library or department is busy, but WHY is it busy? What’s happening, and what’s the value?
I enjoyed seeing Aisha Harvey and Jean Ferguson there, since we all work for Duke University Libraries! Since I used to work in Acquisitions, and still supervise the payment of monographic invoices, I really enjoyed their presentation about managing library budgets.
Jean talked about managing a small-ish budget that includes a variety of things, from office supplies to career development funds. Some things that stood out to me in Jean’s talk included 1) Consider your goals, which could include more staff, technology, or other things, 2) Work closely with the budget manager. Doing so is helpful when asking for more money (which you should do!)! 3) Align your budget requests with your library’s strategic plan. This bolsters your chances for getting to “yes!”
I enjoyed hearing Aisha’s perspective on the collections budgets I see on the payment end of the materials. She works with 41 different people who make collection budget decisions, in addition to various timelines and calendars. For instance, Duke Libraries works in a fiscal year calendar (July 1 to June 30), but many journal subscriptions run from January to December. Foreign vendors who make sales calls work on a different calendar as well. I also enjoyed learning how Aisha worked with the subject librarians to assess which electronic resources could be canceled when the collections budget remained flat in 2009 and adjustments needed to be made to balance the continued rising costs of new resources. Her daily work reflects her philosophy, shown in the slide above: The library collections budget is a community asset managed by the library.”
Diane Chapman, a professor at NC State University, rounded out the workshop with a presentation on, of all things, presentations! She made many great suggestions that made sense like I’ve heard them before. (I was nodding like a bobble head for most of her presentation, I think!) She focused her show-and-tell on visual presentations a la PowerPoint (although she, Jean, and Aisha all used Prezi–cool!). See if any of these suggestions ring a bell with you:
1) Use less bullets.
2) Limit text on slides to ideas, not full sentences.
3) Use pleasing colors.
4) Visuals need purpose; make it personal (stories and pictures of people’s faces resonate with the audience).
6) Have a clear message.
There were more useful tips, but the slide on the right sums them up! Diane even demonstrated one of her tips by turning her back on us while she read this slide! 🙂
As you can see, I learned a lot from the afternoon! I also got to visit with colleagues and meet several new people, so it ended up being a great opportunity to network as well! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for NCSLA workshops in the future!
The rest of my pictures from the workshop are here.