PLA 2018: It’s Not About the Desk

Megan Rosen and Susan Brown, Chapel Hill Public Library | 3/22/18 10:45 am | It’s Not About the Desk: Service Philosophy/Design/Delivery

Happy to share that Susan worked at Lawrence Public Library (KS) and was a friend and colleague. She’s been at Chapel Hill for 5 years, to my 6 at HVL. We have fond memories of 2012 PLA here in Philadelphia.

Presentation actually about organizational change.  It’s not “moonlight and canoes” – it’s really hard. True change is a process – it’s about collaboration and cooperation and empowering people. Takes empathy, curiosity, compassion, and thinking differently about what we do and why we do it.

Moving product in and out, while providing service to 2,000 visitors every day in a pretty, new building.  But biggest strategic goal was to focus on people and service:  Human-Centered Design.  New building had an enormous “Titanic” single service desk (not designed for the user in mind, but a beautiful building). Created for Circulation and Reference to co-locate, but without cross-training, so patrons had to be shifted off.

Encouraged staff to get from behind the desk, but with limited success. “We are too busy to improve” attitude among staff. None of the change means the old way was bad, it’s a statement on the present and future. “Leadership on the Line” – technical v. adaptive change – changing the mindset. IMLS Grant received  – Useful, Usable, Desirable author came and worked with them over the year. From new Web site, collection layout, and new Service desk…but learned they didn’t have the foundation upon which to build those improvements. User-Focused Design – for them, not us. “We are Not Our Patrons” Invited staff to collaborate on process – teams to attack ‘things’ starting with mission/values. What are we in this business for?  Service Pledge for staff: “You are our top priority.”

Service Pledge – Not just a poster in the office – pull staff together to talk about the Service Pledge.  What does “friendly” mean to you?  Different definitions among staff – workshops helped with open, frank conversation to determine what the pledge looks like and where to experiment. Involved accountability and immediate feedback/coaching in the moment – that’s the leadership challenge. It’s our job “If you see something, say something.” Make expectations crystal clear.  Pointing example. Good poor excellent customer service map with Cheryl Gould.  Performance measures for friendly customer service. “Fully engaged Customer Service”  

Policy Alignment – reworked policies to be agnostic.  Help us understand your client and build our empathy. These folks aren’t ‘giving you’ a hard time, they are ‘having’ a hard time. Big shift in thinking. Big signs with fewer words – good idea for everyone, including the visually impaired. Coach staff to believe people, don’t police people, just give them a card instead of sending them home for a utility bill.  Susan couldn’t get a card because she had $40 in fines from 8 years ago – paid it. Start waiving fines, believe people, blow up dumb policies (book limits, for example).

Rules of Behavior – 21 items long – as people did naughty things, they were added to the list. “No staring at staff.” “No moving the furniture.” “No smoking, no crack, no guns.” and ‘No breaking the law.” Painful process and interesting conversation – instead of rules, have a tool for staff to feel empowered to take action and effect change when something bad is happening.  New Expectations for Behavior – “No breaking the law.” Super simple – involves the police s a partner. Staff embracing and using situational ethics. Examples: Sleeping at the library – role played with person asleep with all stuff hanging out. Wake him up and alert him that it’s not safe to have all his stuff out. Pregnant woman sleeping next to hubby working – she’s safe.

Service Pods (broke up desk).  The Five Why’s – Get at the actual problem.  Staff worried about lines of patrons.  Library card renewal procedure the root cause of a problem with people using the self-check.  Helped address the “We are too busy to change” issue – what are we doing that is busy work?  Blocking patron record at $5, short card registration renewal. What drives patrons to a staff member?  Most were frustrated patrons who couldn’t use the self-checks. And broke down the lines.

Staff & User Tools

  • Computing team made all computers the same (got rid of PC Reservation) and created “research stations” (Quick look ups – assets that do multiple things.)
    • We do this already, except they also provide staff access to ILS on these. – LEAP??
  • When people call, they get a real person 90% of the time. Cordless phone.
    • We do this already, woot.
  • Staff Badges – Big, bright, easy to read.
  • Service Points – “?!?” Tools throughout the building, so service point provides delightful service in line with pledge.  Design Challenge – furniture in line with service pledge but within the footprint of existing overhead light fixture! New desk – staff and patron work side by side, has a bench for the person waiting with the patron behind helped, designed to be a tool or a landing pad.

Compassion, Curiosity, and Empathy.

Q&A –

How did you get staff together? Repeated training and meetings. Only staff development day closed. Form teams of 3-5. Role of team to communicate about their work.

How many staff at the big desk? Where will they go with new desk? First was built for 4 people, but only ever staffed 2. No more sitting at the desk, just there when helping the users.  Staff count hasn’t changed, but scheduling changed. Desk = “Welcome hub” – Staff engage people on the floor and use service points out in the library. Unlocked self-checks and can log into staff side of ILS from them to help patrons there.

Staff who are not naturally helpful or friendly – Frowny natural resting face. We can’t legislate her face, but am more concerned about the staff member who is nasty when angry with patrons.  Help ‘coach them right out the door.’

Did staff feel less safe when desk was broke up?  Yes. Being out and about doesn’t feel safe, but the best security is being out and about and friendly to patrons!  “I’m around.”  Being out there is a deterrent. Try something and see how it goes to effect change. Focus on user and not on self.

Work at the Desk issue…Takes time to address. Have to change the way people think and fix obstacles and then blow up the desk. If are doing back of house work in front of house, that’s a problem. Give staff time to get work done where it should be done.  They are not being friendly,  helpful, and engaged if doing work and not helping patrons!

How can we find a way, with small staffs – the Five Whys – is there work they are doing that they do not need to be doing?

Did the patrons need to be retrained? Yes, some were unhappy to lose the desk (for aesthetic reasons). Used go-pro to see if people where wandering helplessly – not the case. We can’t train patrons, we have to adapt to user needs and design for humans!

If you need to make a user guide or signs, you need to rethink it!

Check out their web site – very user-friendly – giant buttons above the fold. Data-driven UX tumbler – used a month to see what patrons used the web site for. Only 4 tasks. User-focused web site, not marketing. All about allowing people to do what they want to do!  Give them what they want.

Mission Values and Pledge and Staff Engagement – then the staff transitioned into the new design/furniture.  Service to Delivery Evolution.  Experimenting, training, discussion among staff to reinforce the changes.

The Where Log – Staff wrote down verbatum what people asked at the desk. Measured over time and then made changes, and came up with new signage plan. Prototyping and testing. White board on lobby and asked patrons to vote – A/B Testing.

 

 

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PLA 2018 Project Outcome pre conference

PLA 2018 | Philadelphia | March 20 (all day) | Project Outcome Training Workshop

FREE to PUBLIC LIBRARIESwww.projectoutcome.org

What is an Outcome? Knowledge | Confidence | Application | Awareness

What is an Outcome Measurement?
Need Assessment (What does our community need?) | Output (How much did we do?) | Outcome (What good did we do?) | Patron Satisfaction (What should we do better?)

Why Measure Outcomes? To better measure and improve your library’s impact on the community it serves | To support planning and assessment over time | To help better manage services and resources | To demonstrate a need for funding and other support

Examples: Sacramento knitting club, Jacksonville PL for funding justification (SRP and story time) Richard Mott said, “Parents that attended our programs, 96% said because of program attendance, they felt more confident to help their children learn.”  Tells funders that libraries are essential.

Process: 1. Identify Needs 2. Measure Outcomes 3. Review Results 4. Take Action

Data Collection Team: Set up additional accounts to share training resources and set up a training plan that includes an overview and then the appropriate level of training for their part, for example, survey administration.  Build internal support and get staff buy in.

Strategies for Building Internal Support:

  • Start Engagement Early – Make everyone aware and give folks a chance to voice concerns and see who is interested in the process (Teen services, for example).
  • Build Internal Support – Identify library leadership/Board/staff who believe in the value of outcome measurement to help carry the message and make the case.
  • Be Upfront with What You Expect to Find Out – Know WHY you are doing this.  Be transparent about what kind of information you are trying to capture with outcome data. It could be seen as threatening and feel apprehensive about the change in the process. Goal is to provide the best service possible – what is working or not and change what isn’t working to make it better.  Ex: Summer Reading Program.  Forward thinking. What ways have libraries found to gather feedback about the internal process?  Seek out examples of how to check in with staff during the process.

Feedback from Dan Hensley, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the process gave the library “piles of beautiful data” and served as a “great advocacy tool” to tell stories. (His video is archived at the project web site.)

Q&A: How many libraries think about and document outcomes WHILE planning the program – so you know what success looks like before you start?  This project is adaptable, so it could be used to gather data for hyperlocal goals, outside the prescribed Project Outcome goals.

Outcome Measurement Continuum: From Patron-reported learning (immediate survey) to Patron-reported adoption/application of learning (follow-up survey) to Deeper analysis and long-term benefits (outcome measurement guidelines).

Survey Topics: Civic/Community Engagement | Digital Learning | Economic Development | Education/Lifelong Learning | Early Childhood Literacy | Job Skills | Summer Reading

Sample Immediate Survey – easiest, quickest option. Multiple choice with open ended questions, too. Online or paper, but survey can be edited/customized.  Example: Plano, TX included survey in with STEM kits that could be checked out and discovered a lack of knowledge of library programs, so a schedule/calendar was added to the kit. 90% of brochures were kept by patrons!

Follow-Up Survey – longer, 2 pages, with more response space. “Patron-reported adoption” – any change of behavior? Skill used in life or work? 4-8 weeks later (or earlier with computer classes).  Takes more staff time – administered differently (ask patron if OK to contact, then gather content, then contact them for an interview.

Summer Reading Survey is only available as an immediate survey. Includes a question, “What could the library do to help your child continue to learn more?”  Also it is different for Caregivers, Teens, and Adults.

Process for Choosing the Right Survey: Identify Community Needs > Identify Library Goals (from Strategic Plan) > Choose Program & Survey Topic (avoid survey fatigue) > Choose Survey Type

Example of Survey Questions for Civic/Community Engagement Immediate Survey.  Each Topic has a unique set of questions.

  1. You are more aware of some issues in your community
  2. You feel more confident about becoming involved in your community
  3. You intend on becoming more engaged in your community
  4. You are more aware of resources and services provided by the library
  5. What did you like most about the program?
  6. What could the library do to better assist you with your involvement in the community?

Follow-up survey questions:

  1. I became more involved in the community
  2. I used what I learned to do something new or different in the community
  3. I discussed or shared with others what I learned or experienced
  4. I checked out a book, attended another program, or used another library service or resource
  5. What did you like most about this program or service?
  6. What could the library do to help you continue to learn more?

Survey creation process is well designed and seems easy to use – we have to be mindful of what data we want to pull out when creating and naming the surveys. Custom questions can be added to the canned/standardized survey questions.  The standardized survey questions can’t be edited and the survey must be given in its entirety, if you want your surveys included in the aggregated online project system. Keeps the data clean. Can add up to 3 open-ended questions per survey, common questions are in a drop-down menu, be mindful of survey fatigue, be mindful of confidentiality, and do not ask for contact information on surveys. Anonymous. Use a separate process to gather contact information for follow up surveys. Example of canned questions, ‘How did you hear about this program?’ or zip code data.

LUNCH … so I’m going to publish the first part.

Administering the Survey – you can have a PDF paper survey or online survey (English or Spanish), unique for each survey. It’s tablet-friendly, can be emailed, or taken at a kiosk at the library.  No translations for other languages, yet. OK to translate if you have a trusted translator (ask in discussion board for Russian).

Survey Best Practices: For the Immediate survey, hand out survey at the end of the program, email/text the link, give clear instructions, have a drop-box for completed surveys, build in time in the program to complete the survey, and have a volunteer to help.  For Follow-up surveys, collect contact information at the end of program and explain what it will be used for. Send the survey 4-8 weeks after, if calling or interviewing, plan to get help.  Push to FB or add to Vertical Response to participants

Survey Schedule: For the year, stagger surveys and audiences.  If collecting a baseline, maybe it makes more sense to consistently survey one program all year.

How to Talk to Patrons about Surveys: Strategies to talk to patrons about the value of their feedback. Scripts. “There’s always room to grow. Even if you love the library and the programs, it is always useful to get patron feedback, so we can serve you better.” “We want your honest opinion.” New ideas, help us brainstorm. “This is part of a national outcome measurement initiative managed by PLA.” “The survey is 100% confidential and does not require any contact information.”

From the Web site:

How do I complete the survey?

[For Immediate Surveys] Please read the survey carefully. The surveys measure responses on a 5-point Likert scale, with the additional option of “Not Applicable.” The Likert scale reads from left (Strongly Disagree) to right (Strongly Agree). Please select one response option for each question and make sure to complete the open-ended questions below, which ask you what you liked most about the program or service and suggestions for improvement.

Survey Management Tool – Wow.  You can archive older surveys, immediately see responses, you can draft or delete surveys, and you can copy surveys. To enter paper responses, there is a quick and easy button to do it one-by-one online when logged in or you can enter multiple responses through a form without logging in. Works well with volunteers. “The usefulness of your reports and dashboards relies on accurate data entry.” Tip: Mark surveys that have been entered, in case the pile falls on the floor…

You cannot EDIT the responses, you would need to delete and re-enter the responses.  So be careful.

Review Results – PDF Summary report, data dashboard, raw survey data, qualitative data analysis, and tips for communicating data accurately

Report builder and step-by-step tools. Training videos are being made now.  You can include a custom narrative and logo, for board presentations.  PDF Report includes general information/canned verbiage about the process and an overview of the survey purpose, then Results with graphics, data, and comparisons. Eventually,  we will be able to include a few choice open-ended responses. We can include attendance, then the response rate is calculated by the system.  More blanket text included at the end of the report – “Implications for community impact“.

Data Dashboard – set of visualization tools. Interactive and use the same design elements for consistent presentation. Purple is positive, Green is needs improvement, Grey is neutral.  Overview shows aggregate scores, including state and national averages. Matrix – Topic and Outcome matrix can be used to find gaps in service. Can apply filters to specify data. Chord Diagram – When you hover, correlations drawn between topics and outcome indicators. A way to actively manipulate the data and/or show strong connections. Detail – breaks down each question with bar chart and includes state and national scores for comparison. Map – Plots locations of library with outcomes and demographic data. Look at geographic areas of service. Library Info – pulls from IMLS data (older), but pulls in general output (statistical) data into a similarly formatted graphic. Consistent with other outcome data in look/feel.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.42.46 PM.png

This is research with a little “r” – so we must provide context if the sample size is small and may need provide additional information about why a program had a low response rate. We can access the raw data and do year-to-year comparisons and access open-ended questions. Dataset also shows comparison of print v. online response rate.

Open Responses also available through Detail dashboard with light filtering. Can filter by program name to group multiple programs together to analyze data and open-ended answers. Ex: Early Literacy programs, including all 3 story times. Includes standardized questions and any pre-determined additional questions or unique questions written by library.

Analysis of Qualitative Data – challenging area to approach – you can read through them, but how do you make decisions and identify trends?

  1. Condense & Categorize Data – group comments according to common topics
  2. Describe Categories – Describe what people said most often and any smaller categories that you found meaningful.  Start with categories that have the most comments.
  3. Share Findings – “Share internally with staff, discuss results at staff meetings, identify opportunities for change, or plan to use in eternal advocacy messaging.”

Create a spreadsheet that includes all of the responses and the categories determined in step 1, then score each response. Subjective process that might benefit from working with others. Archived webinar to further explain the process. Determine which categories are most prominent and then “describe what people said most often and any smaller categories that you found particularly meaningful.”  Describe the trends that you see – “makes for nice messaging.”

Communicating Data Accurately | Challenges:

  • Results based on number of survey respondents – be clear, “based on survey respondents” and include number of responses and response rate. Don’t try to infer data to a larger group.
  • Surveys measure patron’s perceived change – use results for program improvement and to determine if objectives are met, and back up big decisions with other data collection. Don’t use data for published research .
  • Data is a community snapshot – only show patron’s perspective, triangulate with other data to show a complete experience, “bring in average scores over time for more reliability,” and frame library s one factor in the outcome.  Don’t claim causality.

Using Survey Results – What Is Your Goal? (p. 47 of the workbook)

  • General advocacy
  • Justify Funding Requests
  • Programming Decisions
  • Community-Based Partnerships

Panel

  • Julianne Rist – Community Goal of minutes read in response to Jefferson County Public Library (CO) Summer Reading surveys – also had a donation to animal shelter when/if community goal was met. Also used Project Outcome to evaluate 1000 Books Before Kindergarten. Used the follow-up survey to see changes in behavior and if readers complete the program. Track by zip code.
  • Amy Koester – Skokie Public Library (IL), Village of 65,000, 90+ languages, 40% foreign born. Digital Learning Experience – targeted, modified surveys that include questions “Why did you sign up for this class?” (immediate) and “How successful was [class] at helping you achieve your goal?” (follow-up). Needs assessment built into Outcome survey.
  • Christa Werle – Sno-Isle libraries – Had to come up with a common vocabulary and used many definitions determined by Project Outcome.  “Issues that matter” programs – civic engagement survey to evaluate. Homelessness last year, mental health this year. Hyper-local or short duration interests, for example “Living with Bears” or “Solar Eclipse”
  • Interesting Q&A. Good uses of the process.  ROI to determine value of programs.

[Insert me trying to close the library early due to weather in the middle of all this.]

Roadmap – the meat of this workshop…a plan of attack!

 

2017 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

In January, after the Mummer’s Parade, I moved into a beautiful old carriage house on 3 acres of basically a suburban botanical garden in Lower Moreland. Being 6 minutes from work has been fantastic. I also started as the President of MCLINC in January and went to Circ, MAC, Network, Board, and Database committee meetings and attended Liz Vibber’s Board Chair Book Camp on Jan. 25. We gave a modified MCLINC dog and pony show at Indian Valley on January 26, but they declined joining at this time. Pam and I tackled revising our Service Policy and Code of conduct. Bruno was hired and Nika gave her notice, as did Glynnis.  It looks like I also started work on “Operation Clean Carpet.”  Off to a busy start.  You’ll notice a MCLINC theme for the year – being President took a lot more time, miles, and energy than I anticipated.

Pam had a great year – starting with the purchase of 3 Dash and Dot robots from the Friends and quickly followed by the Local Business Breakfast on Feb. 10.  We had the first of four Art Nouveau lectures Feb. 19.  Another Plan!  I sent a draft Emergency Preparedness Plan to Rich, our Deputy Emergency Manager,  for review in February (with follow-up Active Shooter training scheduled for 1/4/2018 by staff demand). Mila enjoyed spending winter watching birds and squirrels out the windows of the carriage house.

March – We partnered with Sushiman for a dining event on March 1 and the Matter of Balance classes with the Montgomery County Health Department started March 8 – a lead from the 2016 Senior Expo. Operation Clean Carpet happened March 10 and I hung out back here while they steam cleaned.  We also had a bumpy Polaris Upgrade March 7-9.  Youth Services Librarian interviews, a couple of audits, and the Friends Spring Tea ended the month.  The Township helped us out with building maintenance this year with new elevator locks and back-up battery, plus Meridian Security set up the community room to be alarmed, if needed. I had to put on my President cap during an unhappy phone call about the recent upgrade with Polaris on March 21, so hopefully the next migration/upgrade will go better. Glynnis expanded the Spring Egg Hunt, moving it to the hill next to the High School and utilized our teen volunteers to fill all 8,000 eggs. We hired Linda Jones in March and had to re-post for Glynnis’ position. Vanessa and Glynnis ended the Teen Reading Lounge by hosting Alex London, with a professional photographer from PHC to boot.

April – More Art Nouveau lectures, 300+ Spring Egg Hunt, and Glynnis’ going away party April 29. Parking woes – Police ticketed 10 students and we also had kids trespass through the community room DURING a program to go play basketball, so I called the fuzz and scared some middle-schoolers straight! Also started a discussion of our need for fire lanes. Pam organized another very successful Volunteer Tea – she’s so good with people. I’ll stick to writing policies and hanging out with my cat. Pam and Marilyn put on Family Hour of code April 22, kicking off our new robotics programs.  I took a mental health day and drove up to New Hope to walk among the wildflowers (it was a bit early, but still fun).

May – CAPS students shifted, re-labled, and such. We met another strategic goal by partnering with LMPD and inviting Officer Huttick to speak in June.  With a very active committee and help from professionals, we updated the employee handbook for MCLINC.  Vanessa moved the Teen Advisory Board forward in 2017, another strategic initiative.  As always in May, we prepared for Summer Reading – Build a Better World.  The flowers finally arrived…

June/July – I had an epiphany: we have been under-counting our door count since taking on the Community room as part of the library, so we will add the event attendance for events held upstairs to the door count for the annual report and then move the door counter in January. Terri started July 5, along with Allison and Samuel. I also went to ALA in Chicago to learn stuff and hear interesting people talk about librarianship. We moved Mah Jongg and Canasta from 11:30 to 12:30 and it caused a bit of friction, but enabled us to rent and/or use the Community Room in the morning on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.  The Dash and Dot robots debuted at Summer Reading, paid for by the Friends.  Took another mini-break to take my Mom and Aunt Sharon to Longwood Gardens and Cape May.  Also went on some loverly walks along the Wissahickon and in my landlady’s garden:

August – I presented a draft budget to the Board. Linda Yerkees, the HS librarian retired and we learned that the new school liaisons would be all three of the District’s librarians, on rotation. The Board had a good discussion of Library Fundraising at their meeting and of the five ideas presented, the Fun Run happened!  I secured 5 sponsors (that was my big contribution to the cause) so all donations (over $700) were profit.  (No Bull Training and Karl rock – I hope we can do it again next year. )  Speaking of fundraisers, the Aug. 19 Books and Brews fundraiser at Naked Brewing Co. had good Board participation and a fun mix of Friends, patrons, staff, and newcomers. As you can see, I was having fun.

September – Circulation went down, but I think that was due in part to inflated in house uses numbers from 2016. Excluding in house circ showed a .7% increase. We asked the Friends to support a subscription to hoopla streaming service (and signed the contract in December).  Our new District Consultant – Karen – started. I went to Kansas to meet my new Great Nephew. The Board worked to schedule Victor Brooks, but we had to postpone to 2018. With donations down from last year, cash flow was a real struggle in 2017, so we had to ask the township for tax fund distributions more often. I have to get creative with fundraising and grant writing…or cut costs. The Board and I worked on a Board member job description and reviewed and revised the Bylaws in November. We started a new chair yoga class with Pura Vida, a local health store and another positive partnership with local businesses, like No Bull Training for the Fun Run. Vanessa starred in a Summer Reading TV ad created and edited by Ellen Z, the Pine Road librarian.

October – I presented our Budget – no major changes – and the Annual Appeal went out Oct. 16 to support general expenses.  We talked about ethics and the Library Bill of rights at the to Board meeting. Finally went to the Foundation Center on Oct. 24 to find family foundations we can apply to…if I get around to filling out the applications. Might recruit some of these writers I have on staff to help with this long-overdue project. We started discussing the Classroom Card idea floated by Ms. Curzi, HS librarian. We had no heat in the Community Room on a Monday and it lead to a mini-mutiny on Halloween. Not fun. The Township kindly replaced a ballast in the stairwell after it started burning and we evacuated the building. MCLINC and the County decided to add Ebsco Discovery Service, so that had to be configured and added to our Web site for testing in December. Pam secured Be Well Cafe to the list of Fun Run sponsors ($100). Movie Night Under the Stars went well and Terri has done a great job tackling the “must have” programs: Write and Illustrate Your Own Book in November, Movie Night in October, and she’ll plan the Spring Egg Hunt in 2018. J and I took a second trip to NYC (we went in April) and saw this “Reading Room” in Bryant Park behind the NYPL.

November – I Continued My Education! I went to the Directors’ Summit in Philly with several Montgomery County librarians.  It was inspiring and great to talk candidly with other Directors and Karen, from the District. I followed up with a webinar about Transforming Libraries and turning outward.  A bit of synchronicity – I think we can use the Transforming Libraries process with our next strategic plan, to help restart the LM Business Association, and to see how the library could/should/would work as an economic development and community building engine. Feeling a bit excited about things just in time for 2018. The Nov. 11 Fun Run on the Pennypack Trail was a hit – well attended, very cold, but with a good atmosphere. I also met with our Superintendent, Dr. Feeley, and it initiated an autism awareness talk at January staff in service and our inclusion (hopefully) in Pine Road Elementary’s diversity event in March. Continued work on the Bylaws classroom card idea. Pam joined me at the District meeting to talk mental health and waxed dreamily (via email) about focusing 2018 programs on music and science and strengthen partnerships with the school district. (But have I actually planned any programs yet? Um, no.) However, I did schedule a special Jan. 25 Board meeting with a “What to expect when you’re renovating” presentation with David Belanger.

December – Finalized the hoopla deal, added Ebsco to the Online Resources page for testing, and attended a great workshop on collection challenges sponsored by SEPLA on Dec. 1 with Linda. At the December staff meeting, we reviewed the Request for Reconsideration policy and practices. The Friends decided to buy us 4 more Dot robots after two of the Execs volunteered for new Learn to Code club and saw the robots in action with the kids. I also freaked out about money, I mean, updated the budget for Board and discussed cash flow contingency plans with my wonderful Treasurer, Judy.  Also organized the Jan. 4 staff in-service with our guest speakers from the School District and Township.  We’ll also have some tech training and a little design charrette the day after I get back from my year-end vacation to Seattle.

Highlight of the Year: Spending time with these folks in Chicago…

Plus +

  • Collaborations with businesses and school librarians and being approached as a partner to help reboot the LM Business Association.
    • Pam led the way with the Business Breakfast, then Summer Reading raffle tickets at participating businesses, and finally with the Fun Run and partnerships with Pura Vida for Chair Yoga and Tea Talk in Dec.
    • I worked with the school librarians to organize the classroom card and pitched the idea to Dr. Feeley who agreed to add the library as a stop for their inter-building mail courier.
    • Shared the Turning Outward concept with anyone who would listen, including the Township manager
    • Other examples: Officer Huttick’s talk during Summer reading, Rich’s help with Emergency plan, and Township’s help with the building and grounds.
  • Delegating:
    • Marilyn and Pam to explore coding and start Learn to Code club with adult volunteers
    • Meg to organize Adult book clubs, Saturday storytimes, and LEGO club
    • Vanessa to run with her TAB group and assisting with Terri’s training and orientation
    • Meg and Blessy to represent the library at a Back to School night
  • Moved forward with Policies: Code of conduct (late 2016), Service policy, Emergency preparedness policy, and revised Bylaws.
  • MCLINC President – Active with calls, meetings, fretting, and the MAIUG in NJ, but moved forward with:
    • Hiring a great new Network Manager
    • Upgrading to Polaris 5.2 while simultaneously migrating to the Cloud
    • Managing an unexpected personnel issue and vacancy
    • Presenting to Indian Valley
    • Updating the Employee handbook and implementing the new Fiscal policy
    • Contracting with Liz Vibber to restart strategic planning process with Sukrit as Chair
    • We set several Goals at the start of the year and worked towards reaching them
  • Adult programming overview: Four Aspects of Art Nouveau, Matter of Balance Class, Socrates Cafe, Movies, and Yoga. Civil War talk with Union League (follow up tour for Friends Dec. 11). The Friends After Meeting programs did well – Pennypack talk, Art House Confidential (Renew Theaters), Pearl S. Buck in 2018. Computer classes with Jonathan were well received, but he would like better attendance in 2018. We might consider having Zumba class again in 2018 – it was a real hit that we missed this year. Added Monday Night Yoga and chair yoga in Fall, but Chair yoga attendance fell and was canceled. Pam’s art class and essential oils classes do consistently well. I did NOT focus greatly on programming in 2017 and the decrease in attendance shows it, I’m afraid.
  • Fundraising Overview: 2016 Appeal and summer appeal went to architect and we made over $15,000 towards the $30,000 goal by October, when we started the 2017 Appeal. Small fundraisers included: Sushiman, LulaRoe, Naked Brewing, Summer Appeal, and the Fun Run. Postponed Victor Brooks, but Pam and her committee are planning a BINGO event for April 14. The Fun Run was great and worth repeating.
  • Staff – we had 5 new staff members join us (Bruno, Linda, Terri, Allison, and Sam) and three who left (Bruno, Glynnis, and Nika). The transition from Glynnis to Terri is progressing. I look forward to working with Terri to flesh out her vision for Youth Services. We continue to have several librarians and/or librarians-in-training at the desk.  Linda is going to Library school, Allison is a recent MLS graduate, and Kathleen is working PT at an academic library. Kathy and Monica, as mini-MAC, have Sundays well in hand and Sunil, Karen, Meg, Jonathan, and Marilyn keep us running smoothly.

Delta:

  • Adult programming – I think 2017 would have benefited from more of a vision, so am trying to focus on quality over quantity in 2018 and be thoughtful and plan with intention. 2018 Events Master List DRAFT.  Ideas: Ben Franklin, Hillbillies concert, School musicians, School art show, Learn To Code club expansion, family speakers on coding, etc.
  • Staff development – I think I’m not alone with this.  How can I make sure staff know what I need them to know?  What the new polices are and where to find them, extreme customer service, readers advisory, and working sensitively with patrons. We did have staff meetings consistently and I think that helped, but it’s hard to get everyone here at the same time. The  Jan. 4 Staff Day should help.
  • MCLINC – I feel I could have been a better coach as President, but I think we still accomplished a lot as an organization. There’s room for improvement and I think the Strategic planning process will bring to light (bright, glaring light) what we want and need in the future.
  • Focus – wait, what was I just doing?

Five Ways to Transform How Your Library Works with Your Community

Webinar – Five Ways to Transform How Your Library Works with Your Community with Erica Freudenberger, formerly of Red Hook Library.
http://ideas.demco.com/webinar/5-ways-transform-library-works-community/

Erica makes a strong case that the future is relational, not transactional and that libraries can strengthen the social fabric of their communities. It’s about connections, not collections. We need to undergo a Deep Transformation Through Community Engagement – Develop a collective vision that benefits the community. Libraries can/should/need to demonstrate value by being part of something larger than ourselves. Stop communicating value and just be valuable – or “Just Show Up!” Strategic partnerships are NOT community engagement. We must have conversations about community aspirations. “Don’t be arrogant and assume we know what the community wants or needs.” What vision does the Community have for itself?

How they went about answering the question: Spent 8 months collecting public knowledge by going door-to-door, going to festivals, and having 10 minute conversations with people. Using the Harwood Institute’s tools for “Turning Outward” and starting with the school Superintendent, they asked these 4 questions:

  1. What kind of community do you want to live in?
  2. Why is that important to you?
  3. How is that different from how you see things now?
  4. What are some of the things that need to happen to create that kind of change?

3-Part Approach:

  • Ask – one-on-one (with a 2nd person to take notes), 10 minutes
  • Aspirations – questions for groups, like Boards
  • Community Conversation – discussions outside the library with groups of 15 people

Volunteers helped and they built capacity – it was ‘high touch and personal’

Erica asserts it is not the library’s job to fix things but to alert people to the issues and to bring people together to find solutions. They helped identify the issues.  Examples from Red Hook: Went to the high school to do programming (space constraints and no budget), created a pop-up library with school to provide equitable library services (went to the local trailer park), creative place making – took a Hispanic Heritage program to the Farmer’s Market and used a public space for a cultural/arts event that also benefited the farmers, Diversity – created a strong Diwali celebration with international students to help strengthen social fabric.

Libraries can be economic engines. The “Read Local Red Hook Literary Festival” drew hundreds and the businesses had a great day. They’ve done storytime at the candy shop and movie night at the local cafe.

Erica says, libraries “empower citizens to be actively involved in a democratic society.” While it’s hard to let go of the idea that the library is the center of the universe, by encouraging community decision making there was joint empowerment. They rethought adult programs ($9.59 budget) and recruited community members and had programs by the people for the people: beekeeping, wine/cheese making, bird watching, etc. She told us to stop guessing and stop asking people what they want from the library because THEY DON’T KNOW. She reiterated that this is the high touch and time intensive work of relationship building. They found out what really mattered to people and made it happen – she wants libraries to go viral.

Q&A – Budget doubled in 6 years. People were willing to share their talents and staff helped identify and approach potential program volunteers. She inspired staff and the Board with an Aspirations exercise. She shared that traveling and spending time together with the Deputy Mayor and school libraries planning a mobile maker space helped build those relationships because they got to know each other. When she left, they had a full time program coordinator and had 600 programs a year with 10,000 attendees.

For such a short webinar, it was packed with great information and I realize I’m late to the game, but I have now been exposed to Libraries Transforming Communities and  “A Step-By-Step Guide to ‘Turning Outward’ to Your Community.”

I’m all inspired now to:

  • Increase attendance at programs – quality over quantity.
  • Increase circulation statistics
  • “Empower citizens to be actively involved in a democratic society” or help bolster community spirit
  • Use these Turning Outward tools for strategic planning – oh look, they have information just for that!

Communication and Relationship Building for Leaders

Bucks-Mont Collaborative Leadership Training Series: Communication and Relationship Building for Leaders | October 20, 2015

Course Description:

You’ll learn Empathic Listening – If like most, your training has primarily been in writing and speaking; however, most of our days are spent listening.

-Whole Message Model – This is a template leaders can use to ensure the entirety of your message is being communicated effectively – especially those difficult messages.

Presenter William Reiner is part of the Adjunct Faculty at Holy Family University where he teaches in the Graduate School’s MBA program. His courses include leadership development, finance, and economics.

Notes:

Respect rubricWe started with a Grad-school type rubric with skills/knowledge on one axis and relationships or ‘ability to connect and perceived care about me’ on the other.  Basically, people who are low in skill and poor at relationships are despised, while people who are high in skill and good at relationships are revered and respected.  Those who are good at what they do but are not trusted because they have shallow relationships are feared while those who don’t really know what they’re doing but are nice people are tolerated.

Characteristics of a Good listener:

present, not multi-tasking, not on the phone, focused on the speaker, provides ques and acknowledgements, gives TIME, sincere/genuine, restates the conversation, hears more than what is being said (empathy), is NOT formulating a response while you’re talking, patient, shows respect, not judgmental, interested, challenging when appropriate, holistic and ask probing questions

Characteristics of a Bad listener (you know, like me):

distracted, reactionary, doesn’t let you finish, impatient, no TIME, dismissive, one-up-manship, make the conversation about them, devalue what’s said, don’t seek to understand, “Efficient over effective – you may be heard but are not listened to”, not remembering the conversation (maybe we just have a bad memory, yo), jumping to conclusions, intimidating

A Bit About the Importance of Body Language:

  • 50% of the message is non-verbal
  • 10% of the message is through the words used
  • 40% is tone of voice

Listening – on a scale

-1Discounting is NEGATIVE listening

  • Providing Unsolicited Advice or trying to Solve the Problem is Discounting
  • Providing False Reassurance is Discounting – “It’ll be all right”
  • Denial of the person’s feelings is dangerous Discounting – you really can’t tell a person how they should feel. They can think differently but you feel what you feel!

0 – Silence can be positive or negative, depending on circumstance. Are you distracted or showing open body language and giving your attention?

1 – Fact Finding – get to the root of the issue with questions. Seek to clarify, look to understand so you can then be understood.

2 – Content Reflection – “It sounds like you’re saying” – provide a restatement. Restate a word or key words used by the speaker to show you’re listening.

3 – Feeling Reflection – “Sounds like you’re ___” Name or identify the EMOTION for the speaker to feel heard or validated.  Enhance with positive body language.

Empathic Listening

  • Feeling of the speaker is reflected
  • You’ve gotten to the heart of the issue.
  • The words are the tip of the iceberg, while the meaning is hidden beneath.
  • What if you identify the wrong emotion?  No worries – the speaker will CORRECT you!  Yes it’s risky and may cause anxiety, but it will get to the real issue: Emotion.
  • Emotions: disappointed, frustrated, angry, concerned, exhausted, shocked, afraid, sad, hurt, impatient, drained, deceived, worried, vulnerable, etc.
  • Ask permission before offering ideas, feedback or solutions.  “Would you like to talk through ideas?” “Sounds like you’re really frustrated, How can I help?  What do you need from me?”

Resources:

  1. Listening with Empathy by John Selby
  2. Habit 5: Empathic Listening by Stephen Covey
  3. Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols

Whole Message Model

  • Delivering the hard messages and handling the difficult discussions.
  • There is often a disconnect between what’s being said and what is heard.
  • This is a Template – all of the elements of a message can be mapped out in advance.
  • Web resources I found: Performance Feedback | Whole Messages by TalentFutures | hal.ph Whole Messages Communication

Observations – “I see…”  performance, behavior DIRECTLY observed

Thoughts – “I think…” we need, as a team, to follow the policy

Feelings/Emotions – “I feel…” really frustrated that, concerned, uncomfortable, anxious, etc.

Seek to Understand – ask for information – pause if needed.  What if there’s a really good reason for the behavior you observed?  This is the time to hear about it.

Wants/Needs – “I want or need…” you to come to work dressed professionally, for example.

It’s Simple, but not Easy!  Teach it to others to fully understand it.

Genuine listening is hard work; there is little about it that is mechanical… We hear with our ears, but we listen with our eyes and mind and heart and skin and guts as well – Alfred Benjamin