12 September 2008

Professional Reading 1 - ALIA PD Scheme

Quote of this post - "I'm afraid you can't see the forest for the trees." (idiomatic phrase)

We all have to deal with IT people whether we work in a University, Public, special or school Library. I.T people have to deal with people who do not speak their language.
Lisa A. Ennis points out a few handy tips in her article: "Talking the talk: Communicating with IT". Computers in Libraries, September 2008, p.14-18. Accessed 05/09/08 via Australia/NZ Reference Centre: Ebscohost.

These are basic tips, but sometimes the simple is overlooked because we simply don't think the fix could be so simple and we overlook the obvious. Just like the idiomatic phrase: You can't see the forest for the trees. The fix-it solution is right there in front of us, but we cant see it.

1. Is the power on and plugs in the power point and the power switch on? [Lots of us have hilarious stories, I know a fellow that was a Systems Tech at a Uni and he had an irate lecturer who became even angrier when asked basic simple questions. When he arrived at the office, it was to find that the computer was not switched on at the wall. This would highly likely be the most common of all and the most embarassing. CHECK IT'S PLUGGED IN PROPERLY.
2. Make sure all cables and leads are sitting in the connection properly. Especially if you are trying to print.
3. REBOOT. If all else fails, reboot, reboot or restart, restart. (not with your boot)
4. Record the steps you followed, (even better do a Print Screen) and email this to the Systems techs.
5. Keep the computer cables and your speech, verbal or written, clean.
6. Install software responsibly (in some places this is always the case as only I.T. staff can do this).
7. Learn some basic technology and some basic troubleshooting tips: i.e. is the log-in to the computer or the program CASE SENSITIVE, Is CAPS LOCK ON and should it be OFF or vice versa.
8. Does the software program do what you want it to do?
9.Back up your data. {Have at least one hard/print copy of every document}
10. BE NICE.

The basic tenets of communication also help when communicating with IT people, also known as the 5 "WH;s" of communicating -
and then the little word HOW:

Another word which comes in very handy when communicating either face-to-face, via phone or via email whether it's the Manager of a department or the Volunteer in your organisation, this is: RESPECT. In your work capacity, staff in another building are your Internal Customers. Always treat other staff with the same respect you give your external customers. :-)


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31 August 2008


Quote of this post – “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. Ursula K. Le Guin
SELL = TELL (just a few strategies currently implemented in the library that I work)
  • Magic Moments at the point of new customer registration. Are you making the most of the the first time the customer walks into your library and when you have joined them and given their new card asking “ Was there anything in particular you were looking for today?”
  • Are the customers borrowing a book on Scrapbooking – Do you have a papermaking workshop coming up that you can promote?
  • Are the customers borrowing books about parenting? – Do you have a parenting workshop coming up that you can promote?
  • Does the customer have a baby that is sitting up age? Do they know about the B2R or Early Literacy initiative in your library service
  • Is the customer borrowing Junior Easies for their little one? Do they know about your regular Storytime.
  • Does the mum with high school child looking for assignment information know about the Online Databases?
  • Are you talking to and pointing out workshops to customers whilst slipping a relevant brochure of an upcoming event into a book of every customer that you serve?
  • Are they a regular customer? Are you making an effort to remember their name so that when they walk through the door each visit, you can say “Hello Mr.Smith, how are you today?’
  • Do you promote the Author Profile/Alert service well? Take an interest in your customers that read a popular author and place reservations on new releases; If they have email, offer the alert service.
  • Do you provide easy process for customers to write down their feedback whether positive or negative, are your staff just as quick to get customers to fill these out when they give the positive, and not only refer them to the feedback forms when they have a complaint.
  • Do you use all means available to you to promote? We use blackboards to hang out at the front of the library and promote the event that is on ‘TODAY” and use the word “FREE” when there’s no charge.
  • Promotion in School Newsletters, local Shopping Centres or Day Care Centres (particularly if it’s a parenting workshop).
  • Promotion of Senior Events in Retirement Villages, Seniors newspapers or Seniors Groups Newsletters.
  • Need a ready crowd for a function/event; invite your local school, Kindy, Nursing Home residents, Respite Care Groups such as Blue Care.
  • Do you have a free space in your library that a Community Group or free Health Service could use? It is a great way to have people visit your library that never did before, such as the elderly lady who came for her BreastScreen and said "I didn't know the library was so close and this is the first time I have been here"; examples of groups that use library spaces are BreastScreen Qld, Early Learning Years Network, Diabetes Education, Dog Bite Prevention, Busy Lizzie recycling promotion, Neighborhood Watch Groups, and even Local Councillors have a space to meet with constituents in some public libraries.
  • Do you send your event brochures in internal mail to all other libraries within reasonable travelling distance to make sure a key event is promoted outside.
  • Do you contact your local Friends of the Library group regularly to tell them about upcoming events?
  • Virtual Tours – if you are fortunate enough to have one in your Library Service, make the most of these and use on council documents to promote internally to councillors and promote to anyone you know that is travelling to visit your library so that they can see what the building looks like and know what they are looking for when driving along {University Libraries were leading edge and at the forefront of this technology, creating the Virtual Tour concept many years ago, some do this better than others}
o RESEARCH – access to hundreds of full-text articles via the SLQ databases and your local library log-in
o RENEW – get online to keep track of your library loans and renew them instead of having to return them before you are finished.
o RESPONSE – receive an email alert when the latest release of your favourite author arrives in the library
o RESERVE – as soon as you receive your email notice, get online and reserve the latest release of your favourite author

  • Is your key event of the month listed on the Website Events Calendar/What’s On?
  • Can the customer readily and independently subscribe and unsuscribe to a What’s New or What’s On? (University Libraries were leading edge with this technology and have had this function available to students for well over 5 years now, but Public Libraries are starting to catch on).
  • Is your key event of the month listed in the local Council Newsletter that is delivered to every household letter box?
  • Do you make the most of every possible opportunity to increase your contact list and available Networks
  • Do you share these contacts with other branches/campuses within the service you work for?
Having worked in both the University Library (10 years) and in the Public Library (2 years) environments and with my combined 12 years Library experience, I have learned that if you don’t know that they know, TELL THEM and keep TELLING them about all the Services you offer.
The thing I love most about Public Libraries is that people from all walks of life and at every stage of the life span visit you, from newborns right up to elderly. Also, you just never know what difference you will make to someone’s life in the course of ‘doing your job’.
It is so nice to get personal feedback from elderly customers that you taught WebMail to months after the class, such as this one: “ I want to thank you again for the lesson you gave me, it’s opened up a whole new world of communication for me, my daughter is overseas, and I have just lost my wife to breast cancer, so to be able to communicate with my daughter means the world to me, so God bless you and thank you.”
For more Public library focused partnering Strategies and professional development tips, see also:

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