Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What can you learn through LSSC?

Today Sylvia Bowers, SSD member-at-large, answers a couple questions for us about her experience with LSSC - Library Support Staff Certification.

Which one class have you liked the most and why? How has what you've learned in your favorite class influenced your work?

These are very good questions. My favorite class with the most usefully applicable information was the Library Technology class I took from Northern Kentucky University. The class started with very basic computer use information, ended with document and internet security, with a lot of practical projects in between.

The class lasted from late August through early October. Some of the projects included creating Google docs and Google presentations, and scheduling online meetings. One project entailed pricing and "purchasing" computer systems and furniture for a fictitious library of my choice. Another fun project for this class was planning how to automate a small branch library.

A large portion of time in this class was spent learning how to cope with technology change. This is a very common challenge. We explored resources that are available and strategies that you can implement that will help a person working in a library keep up with these changes, as well as how to make good use of that technology in your job right now.

In addition to the larger projects, I learned much I can use in my job on a daily basis. For example, I learned beyond-basic internet search skills, standard computer trouble-shooting skills, and I certainly gained an appreciation for the complexity of computer networks.

I appreciated the support I got from the instructor and the institution. It was a very satisfying learning experience and I would recommend this class to anyone.

Thanks, Sylvia!

Are you curious about getting certified? Ask Sylvia questions about the LSSC program by posting in the comments section below!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to handle difficult situations

Jennifer Steward, a Circulation Analyst with Multnomah County Library, is posting today about dealing with difficult patron situations. She and Lisa Canavan presented on that topic at the 2011 OLS-SSD conference.

"There’s a problem with my library card!"

Does that make you cringe or prepare for battle?

Perhaps there is a third option? What I try to do is guide the patron to a place where we can work things out together. Here are two things you can do to guide interactions toward collaboration and not let them spiral into real problems.

Set the tone.
Your goal is to be calm, polite and helpful - even if the patron isn’t. The patron will usually rise to your standard. Try not to absorb any anger/fear/anxiety that comes your way. By setting the tone, you are also teaching the patron how to treat you.

Be aware of feelings – both yours and the patron’s.
Think about your feelings. If you seem fearful, some people may bully you. If you are dismayed that patrons get fines, you may seem judgmental. If you are determined to prove that you are in the right, you may seem combative. What do you need to do to get into a collaborative place?

Think about the patron’s feelings. What looks like anger is often fear. Does the patron think she’s "in trouble" or fear that she won’t be able to use the library? Does she need to connect with you emotionally – by being listened to or reassured - before she can hear the practical options available to her? What does she need from you to move from conflict to collaboration?

While some patrons may be too upset to follow you into collaboration, you may be surprised how many will. For me, it is also important to know that even if things don’t end well, I know that I remained polite and respectful, even under pressure. Woo-hoo!

For more information on customer service and collaboration, try Great customer connections by Richard S. Gallagher and Radical Collaboration by James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A janitor discovers a cache of rare coins in the State Library of Passau in Germany

Tanja Höls, a janitor in a library in Germany, discovered a box full of coins that may be worth millions. The staff think the box may have been hidden in the library in the early 19th century by local prince-bishops who wanted to dodge some taxes.

Tanja will be promoted to the curating department of the library and will receive a reward.


What have you found in your library lately?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oregon Library Architecture

Aalto Mt Angel Library 13
Photo by BrianLibby

The gorgeous Mount Angel Abbey Library is one of the libraries featured in this Cubed story on Architectural Libraries. Seattle, Baltimore, and Oslo are definitely worth a look, too!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I hope I don't ever do this...

One of our past presenters, Sam Wallin from the Woodland Community College in Woodland, WA, has some absolutely hilarious videos on his YouTube channel .  They are called "Libraryland!" and are "little shows about working in the public library."  If you hit play after following the link, it will play the entire series for you. Most are under a minute and well worth watching. Sam was part of the Marketing Your Library: Strategies for the 21st Century presentation at our 2011 conference.

It was hard to choose just one for an example, because they're all good, but I 've heard people do this before:


Which of these videos made you laugh the hardest? For me, the laughs were cumulative - the more I watched, the funnier they got.

Have any of you used YouTube as a marketing tool for your library? How has it worked for you? What strategies have you implemented from this conference session?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

There's more!

Paper sculptures - the end!

Photo by chrisdonia

More anonymous paper sculptures have appeared in Scotland libraries and museums, this time with a tantalizing farewell letter.