Although stereotypes about cold, harsh, robotic librarians persist, those of us who work with the public must display emotional intelligence for our patrons’ sakes—and our own. Emotional labor Vicarious traumatization (VT) occurs when we work with patrons whose traumatic stories transfer onto us. We may not realize that transference has happened. Subtly and gradually, it … Continue reading The Weight We Carry
I was reminded of the words of the late US Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” When I was eventually elected to the VLA vice presidency, I established the VLA Librarians of Color (LOC) Forum with that goal in mind—to provide more seats at … Continue reading More Seats at the Table
Castro is one of many library leaders who found themselves managing their teams remotely because of the pandemic, developing new approaches to meet unprecedented challenges and continue providing vital services to the community. The insights these managers developed are valuable for those still perfecting their remote management style—or planning for a work-from-home future. Supportive management … Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now?
To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and recognize the American Library Association adding sustainability as a core value—American Libraries returns with its ongoing sustainability series. In these posts, information professionals share their experiences with sustainability in libraries. The Sustainability Canvas is adapted from the Business Model Canvas (BMC), the one-sheet graphic organizer found in Alexander Osterwalder … Continue reading Paint It Green
A major issue with hiring for cultural fit is the potential to stifle diversity. We are all influenced by cognitive biases, the shortcuts our brains are programmed to take to help us make decisions. Those biases often lead us to value and want to be around people who are more like us. Whether that means … Continue reading Is “Fit” a Bad Fit?
Transforming Libraries: A Toolkit for Innovators, Makers, and Seekers, by Ron Starker, begins with the premise that libraries are at a tipping point in the evolutionary process, from being book warehouses to serving as centers for collaboration and learning. Starker analyzes issues that are changing libraries, including their historical context, the specific challenges each faces, … Continue reading Become Future Ready
When Skip Prichard opened the 2018 OCLC Americas Regional Council Conference on October 25 in Chicago, the president and CEO of OCLC ran through a list of changes that have occurred in recent years to the ways in which we live and work. “What influences change is control,” he told the more than 200 people … Continue reading Game Changers for Libraries
“These permission slips are for you to really think about what you want for yourself,” the bestselling author, marketer, and consultant told a morning crowd at the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia on March 21, turning attention to notecards placed on the chairs. “You are all grown people making your own choices,” she said. … Continue reading Prioritizing Possibilities
What made you want to write about this topic? We wanted to write it because we were both terrible at having difficult conversations. Catherine’s initial attempts led to people being angry and defensive. Or she chose to ignore problems, which made these situations worse. Ann had conversations but failed to address the real issues, so … Continue reading A Conversation with Authors Catherine Soehner and Ann Darling
The situation can be managed in a compassionate and direct manner to create an effective conversation and a working solution. To begin, we must define the difficult conversation. What is a difficult conversation? For a conflict-avoidant person, it is any conversation that produces anxiety, that worries you, or that you have put off, and in … Continue reading We’ve All Been There
We all know that the best libraries are the ones that have the strongest connections with their constituents and make all members of their community feel that they belong and are welcome and represented. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, however. It’s not unusual to be screamed at during a community meeting, or to be … Continue reading Leadership and Vision
“I’ve been in the middle of a normal library transaction and had the person say something about asking me out,” McLain says. “I look that person in the eye and say, ‘That’s inappropriate,’ and go back to what I was doing. If they do it again, I say, ‘That’s inappropriate, and I need you to … Continue reading Stop Sexual Harassment in Your Library