This Library Lost & Found series dissects job ads for library leadership positions. We analyze library job postings from the perspective of building your career. We’re also interested in how to write a great job description that will attract the best candidates.

The Story Center Director – you guessed it – directs the Story Center at MCPL, supporting digital, oral and written storytelling for Kansas City and beyond.

Continue Reading...

self-care-in-addiction-recoveryI think it’s safe to say that a lot of us had a rough 2016. For those of us that interact with the public for the majority of the day, a charged, political atmosphere gave many of us an added challenge during desk shifts.

It’s important to say that my personal politics do not affect how I speak to patrons, and I think the same can be said for most of us. As librarians, we should be giving patrons the same quality of assistance regardless of how we feel about them personally, whether we agree or disagree with them. It is our job to be helpful and impartial.

However, while we are able to control how we react to a reference interview, there is a lot we cannot control about how the patron perceives us, or what kind of opinions or emotions they bring with them into the library.

When there is conflict all around us – all over the media, in our community spaces, maybe even in some of our homes – no matter which side you identify with, we cannot take for granted that any interaction will mean the same thing to both of the people in it. There is an added layer to how we react and the potential for escalation.

Navigating that minefield can be tiring. Sometimes being civil is difficult, and sometimes being reasonable doesn’t feel especially satisfying. But, because we are professionals, we bite our tongues and do our best. I feel like I did more of that in 2016 than in previous years.

As a manager, I have noticed how tired my staff is. I think 2016 has taken a toll on everyone. We talk about it a lot off the desk. This intangible atmosphere brought on by the minefield is the only thing that has changed, so it’s what I believe I can attribute it to.

My goal for 2017 is self care. The election is over, but my community still feels very charged and hyper-aware of our differences. Between needing to build our strength reserves back up and looking forward to providing all of our services with energy and compassion, we need to pay attention to how well we are taking care of ourselves.

In my never-ending quest to make my workplace a space where people enjoy spending 40 waking hours every week, I recently resolved to check in with staff more often, and those meetings will be good outlets. There isn’t much I can do about how much time people spend out on the desk interacting with the public, but I can encourage staff to be self-aware and ask for help when they need it.

I’ve seen relief come in many forms – sometimes you just need someone to make you laugh, or reassure you that not every interaction will feel so draining. We can share and emphasize the positive interactions we have with patrons. As a manager, I can make every effort to honor staff requests for vacations when they need them, and recognize urgency when it’s in front of me.

Catching Up

Kevin King —  April 25, 2017 — Leave a comment

catching-up

Still there? We apologize for the time between posts. The spring has been extremely busy! We will once again start publishing great content from library leaders. In the meantime check out these great articles we have been collecting.

Why Culture Fit is the Most Important Factor for Employee Retention

6 Ways To Increase Employee Morale And Performance (Without Giving A Raise)

8 mistakes I made as a manager and how you can avoid them

How to Make Everyone on Your Team Feel Like They Belong

How to Get People to Take You Seriously

7 Ways to Leverage Your Strengths as an Introverted Leader

Library Lost & Found has a Flipboard where you can find all these articles and more!

I started a new job recently. It’s a great job (so far), and I’m glad to be here. This means that I’m “the new girl”. Perhaps I’m the new “woman”, but I’m still a millennial, so it’s hard to imagine that.

By traditional definitions my first week or so was a disaster:

  1. I was late on my 2nd day.
  2. I got a nasty cold on my 4th day.
  3. Then I almost burned down the library on my 6th day.

Luckily for me, I rarely abide by traditional standards, so I choose to see my successes: I still came to work on the 2nd day. I brought the staff oranges to build their immune systems. I did not actually burn down the library, I just caused some heavy sparking. I’m just telling everyone that I just had a “non-traditional” first week.

 

Each and every one of those “non-traditional” events remind me that I’m the new girl. When I walk into a meeting and realize that I don’t know the names of anyone in the room, I remember that I’m the new girl. When I have to stop someone and say, “which way to my office?” I remember that I’m the new girl. It feels like a lot of pressure. How do I help these staff members? I’m sorry, I need to come up with a budget by when? Was I just overly aggressive in that collection development meeting? At every moment I seem to second guess myself.

Here’s the thing, though, about being the new girl: I’m not hemmed in by the organization’s traditional hang-ups. I can see things that others cannot see. I can build relationships from scratch. I can set tone. I can bribe people into my office with chocolate. Plus, I’m cashing in on my First 90 Days.

For me, my new girl status largely means that I can dream big dreams. What could this building look like? How could we improve staff morale? Can I just remove that sign holder? it’s making me queasy just knowing it’s there. I look at the building, the staff, and the procedures with new eyes and from my own new perspective (for better or worse). I can spend my time daydreaming about how things might be. (My new boss might point out that maybe I should be focusing on my immediate training. Somehow, though, I am rarely swayed by that kind of traditional logic. I am much more likely to be swayed by shiny objects.)

Much like Jess on New Girl, right now is my chance to dream big dreams and come at things from a new angle. I can pull out the glitter and craft my way to making my big dreams a reality! I can wear polka-dots every day! (If those polka dots are black-on-black because all I own is black dresses.) I can use puppies as stress relief! I can use all of the exclamation marks!

Soon I will be bogged down by the reality of the job and its minutiae. But, for right now, I’ll take my status as the new girl and let myself dream.

giphy-9

Four years ago today, Library Lost & Found launched to help lost leaders find the tools and resources they need to succeed. Since then we have published close to 400 posts written by library leaders all over the world. Over 72,000 visitors have viewed the site over 126,000 times, with the most popular day being Wednesday! Many thanks to our devoted followers, talented writers, and supportive friends.