Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries


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Julian Treasure on Listening

I just watched Julian Treasure’s TED talk on listening, and found it fascinating.  I have so deep in thinking about listening as a part of communication between people, as a key element in team work and collaboration, as a feature of varying strength in the various DISC personas, I forgot about listening as an active action. Attention, attending, being present are all such important behaviors, and I am so glad I took the time to let Julian Treasure remind me of them

On a  disappointing note, though, he spoke about his book on listening, and I wanted to check that out. It looks like the book is about the ways businesses can use sound to improve their business, which to me is not the same thing as listening at all! Have you read the book? Is it worth the time, if what I’m interested in is listening as a social act, about communication, not sound applications for profitability?

Here’s the talk.

5 ways to listen better

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

pretty cool


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My personal innovation challenge: write more!

I’m laying down a challenge for myself here.

I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about innovation and leadership, and thinking about organizational culture. But I haven’t really been sharing the thinking.

The Harvard Business Review blog recently “asked the most progressive thinkers and radical doers from every realm of endeavor to share a story, a hack, a disruptive idea, or an experimental design that illustrates how the web can help overcome the limits of conventional management and create Management 2.0.” That page links to their top selections and also to the entire tonnage of solicited responses.

Here’s the challenge I’m setting for myself. As I read through the hacks and stories and innovations, I will post my responses and thoughts here. I’d like to try for 2 each week, but that seems both optimistic and painfully slow, so we’ll see.

I’ll be tagging the ones I plan to read in my delicious feed (my Leadership tag bundle has been newly added to the right).


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Day in the Life, 7, day 2

Today started before my normal arrival time with a planning meeting for an email migration for ~300 staff that was supposed to happen tomorrow. We have not been getting the communication we need to ready staff (and ourselves) for the migration, so we will hold off until we have the answers we need. I have small niggling fears that the noncommunicative unit may just go ahead and migrate us anyway, but we’ll see (fingers crossed!). I have reminded myself that I need to pull the training materials together and get all that organized

Got into my office, booted everything up, and made sure that the software I need for the (first!) one-on-one training I’m doing this afternoon has been installed, and confirmed the meeting. Found some graduate assistant help for preparing to send out training materials to the folks scheduled to migrate.  Spent an hour going through various emails and social networking accounts and browser tabs left open for my attention (yikes! some have been waiting for over a week!). Sent out training announcements to library staff, printed out a few calls for papers, and filed some interesting new articles that came across my search alerts.
Productivity gave way to collegiality when I had a nice surprise visit with a friend and colleague who has been on a long vacation. Chatting is an important part of workplace social glue, you know.
Began prepping to show a colleague how to use SnagIt. It’s been ages since I used it. And to refresh myself, I took the video tour. Wow. RTFM indeed — I learned an awful lot in a very short time! Which is great, because my colleague showed up 30 minutes early. The session went well, she got what she needed to get started, we discussed some other tools that might do what she needs, and she knows to call me if she needs more help.
I spent a few more minutes going through the interwebs and culling interesting stuff into the various places I send or keep track of things (Google Plus, Delicious, Twitter, Evernote, OneNote, Read It Later…). I came across a librarian blogging her personal 23 Things and found myself inspired! (ah, magical inspiration, that mythic leap from point A to point S with no traceable path:) Maybe it’s the Grateful Dead jamming away int eh background? Who knows?) . I’ve been wanting to set up a perpetual hybrid 23 Things-type ongoing training, and I think I know how now! I’ve put together a OneNote on the subject and am typing as fast as my fingers will let me — my brain is outpacing my wpm :)
A nice, slow, summer day in the life of a librarian.


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An infographic of me

My friend Courtney just posted her cool visual.ly infographic and I decided to see how I came out. Pretty interesting (if you don’t get me started about the Disney-esque parody of the female form in the infographic). Except for the tiny fact that I am apparently not very interesting on my twitter stream! Consider the gauntlet thrown, and the challenge accepted twitterverse! Time to get freaking interesting!

(if you make yourself one, let me know in the comments)


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ALA. New Orleans. Crazy town

ALA is coming up fast, and I really need to get my schedule in order. Actually, I think this is a desperate plea for ALA to extend back to a full 5 day conference. Why do I think that’s the way to go? Um, well, see for yourself (for best effect, scroll to 6/25):

Um, pretty please? An extra night or two in the hotel would make me so much happier than spending all this money and not getting to participate in fully 2/3 of the programs I want to attend. ALA is a great conference,  and I for one would rather spend more time there than have a schedule and set of choices like the one above.

If anyone is interested in coordinating sessions and notes for any of my quadruple booked sessions, let me know. Training, transliteracy, technology & learning, and Commons development & evolution are the general topics in conflict. Well, that and amazing speakers, great film opportunities, and Guy Gavriel Kay!!!


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Outreach Technology

One of the things that carries through from developing the Learning Commons connections to being a Staff Technology trainer is the outreach, and the exploration of the most fit tool for the job. Any tool. Any job.

It’s really all about knowing your audience, your clientele, your users. How do they use information resources? How do they manage their information workflow? And what tools best match those uses, as well as their interests and your goals?

In the Learning Commons, the answer for many things was Twitter, with minor side forays into Facebook and blogging. For Training, I’ve decided the answer was a blog, and specifically a WordPress.com blog instead of the campus hosted and inflexible install of Moveable Type.

Why? Some of those answers are in my latest post there. Go check it out! And if you’re a trainer, come back and talk to em some — are you using technology for outreach and training with your users? what are you using? How are you assessing?

 


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The Technology Trainer is in

Today marks the start of my 2nd week as Technology Trainer.  Although I still have no furniture (beyond the desk) and it took 3 days to get a working computer, last week was just out-of-the-park productive. I facilitated 6 hours of Excel training (this week is Access, which may well cause my brain to melt!) and set (and made progress on) a few priorities.

I now chair the Technology Training subcommittee, and I hope those poor souls won’t revolt when they see the agenda in their inbox this morning! In the past, this group has been advisory to the Coordinator of Staff Training, and responsible primarily for putting on our 23 Things program. That’s a lot of work, in a compressed time. But since Tech Training is now a full time gig for someone (me! me!) obviously there’s going to be more going on. Part of that is deciding the role of the committee.

Essentially, last week I set my priorities for the next 3 months. These include:

  1. Outreach. Creating (and then maintaining) a blog to gather training opportunities, in-house and from outside, and raise awareness of the training resources we already provide. Weekly news blasts. Office hours-on-the-go (your office, not mine)
  2. Clarifying (and then updating) our in-house experts list
  3. Planning & implementing staff management and training for 4 major software updates this summer
  4. Creating an eBooks task force to bring public services and technical services into closer communication and improving the finadability of ebooks on our campus
  5. Developing Technology Proficiency baselines
  6. Determining essential trainings, currently only password management (with all the changes this summer, I’m afraid to push much more)
  7. Start more conversations among staff and librarians around technology via social media brownbags  and a tech toy petting zoo
  8. Investigate options for incentivizing training
  9. Work with IT to compile a list of approved and forbidden software license click-throughs (this is a huge problem here. We aren’t supposed to ever click OK on a download, because that constitutes signing a license for the state. But someone somewhere must know whether or not it’s OK to click through on Dropbox, iTunes, Evernote, Mendeley, Firefox & Chrome extensions….)
  10. Including as many webinar platforms as possible on the above list
One of my ongoing problems is never knowing what “enough” looks like. What do you think? Is this insanely optimistic for three months? Or is this just the first half of my summer?
Have you done any of these things? Do you have any tips to offer, or documents or websites to recommend (especially for points 5, 7, and 8)?
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