Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Finding answers to legal questions: an interview with Virginia M. Tucker and Marc Lampson

Book cover: Finding the Answers to Legal QuestionsLaw librarians Virginia M. Tucker and Marc Lampson have updated their book, Finding the Answers to Legal Questions. As a follow-up to that new edition, ALA interviewed the authors. 

The interview contains a few words of wisdom for librarians, who are asked legal questions.  In graduate classes, library science students often ask about when they should or should not provide advice.  I like that Tucker and Lampson have tackled that question in this interview.


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Saturday, April 14, 2018

#UNYSLA2018 : Putting the goal before your work

I also spoke at the Upstate NY SLA Chapter spring conference.  I did an interactive session on goal setting. Slides and handouts are on Slideshare.

Description: Most of us have heard the phrase “plan your work and work your plan,” often in a moment of despair when we wonder what to do next. The conundrum of what to do next is due to fuzzy goals. This working session will begin information on goal setting, which is that upfront work needed before you plan. There will then be time/structure for participants to develop their goals (personal or organizational) and the outcomes that go with them. In other words, what do you want or need to achieve, and how will others (i.e., your boss) know that you have achieved them? What (broad or specific) steps do you need to consider, in order to get from start to finish?


Putting the goal before your work

#UNYSLA2018: Lean back: Methods of collaborative leadership

Rush Rhees LibraryLindsay Cronk and Lindsey Rae presented on methods of collaborative leadership (#LeanBackAlready).

Collaborative leadership through a feminist framework. (For reference, here is a definition of feminist framework.)
The tensions in our workplace need to be acknowledged.
They mentioned a number of areas where we need to have balance including leaning in versus leaning back.
82% of workers say that their leaders are uninspiring. (Gallup survey) 65% would forgo a raise if it meant their leader could be fired.

Librarianship is already collaborative and feminist in so many ways.  We share knowledge and spaces, empower learning...but there is a leadership blind spot.

Where do we see tensions in librarianship?  We see tension in our collections, as well as who is represented in those collections.  Men heavily impact what we collect because they are the majority of authors, publishers, and reviewers. 88% of librarians are white and heavily female.  We don’t represent our communities.

The traditional language of leadership is often masculine. 

What do we want leadership to look like? From the audience:
  • Risk taking
  • Trust
  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Supportive
Discomfort and distrust of power and leadership is natural.

The pink diamond of feminist leadership - There are values and principles.

Lindsay and Lindsey placed their slides and resources online. 

#UNYSLA2018 : Crafting a career path in uncertain times

Jan FleckensteinJan Fleckenstein presented on crafting a career path.

“In all periods of history the demand for leadership has been greater than the supply.” - Beta Phi Mu

Today’s leaders are actively looking for the next leaders of their organizations.  

What does a career path look like in this day and age?
  • More responsibility
  • More money
  • More influence
First, be a good follower: 
  • Fulfill your responsibilities
  • Be reliable
  • Develop your soft skills - hiring managers don’t feel that new employers are coming with the needed soft skills
  • Be the solution, don’t be the problem
Be the person that people look to:
  • When they need somebody to take on a new project.
  • When they need somebody to take on a ewe role.
  • When they need somebody to do the unglamorous work that keeps the organization functioning.   
Say yes!  You put yourself in the position to be asked to to do the next thing. This is how you get to leadership roles.

Growing your career #1 means:
  • Managing people
  • Managing conflict
  • Representing your library to the world
Growing your career #2:
  • There are things you have to know or learn as your move up any career ladder.
  • Find opportunities to learn them.
An important thing to do is trust.  Trust your boss.  Does your boss trust you?

Growing your career #3:
  • Broaden your experiences
  • Broaden your outlook
Growing your career #4: Libraries run on money
  • Where does the money come from?
  • What are the constraints?
  • if people trust you, more information on funding will be shared with you.
Getting mentored:
  • Sounds like the awfullest part
  • Mentors are looking for you, too
  • Internal or external mentors
Getting additional credentials
  • Yes, sometimes you need to do this in order to become a leader.
  • Enhance your credentials as you go along.
  • Work to gain and demonstrate knowledge.
Deciding not to pursue a managerial track?
  • I’m a specialist in my area.  Do I have to move into Administration?   No! We cherish our specialists.
Have courage!

#UNYSLA2018 : The ‘F’ word: giving and receiving feedback

At the Upstate NY SLA Chapter spring conference Chris Miller presented on the feared word, "feedback."

Types of cognitive biasesChris reference the Atlantic article, “The case against reality.”

“Positive” feedback may actually be no feedback, which leads us to do more of the same rather than making a course correction.  

“Negative” feedback is what we want.  The information, observation or insight can help us do a course correction. This may be seen as “constructive” feedback.

Your reptilian brain may see feedback as criticism and thus as an attack.

We need to improve our abilities to give and receive feedback.

Everyone wants feedback, especially millennials.  Leaders need feedback and they should model how to receive feedback.
  • Use active listening
  • Summarize and clarify - start with closed ended questions to ensure that you’re on the same wavelength, then use open ended questions to clarify what you’re hearing.
  • Don’t argue, accept
  • Think it over
  • Be mindful/take action 
Chris had us to an assessment on how we deal with feedback and then comment on three quick scenarios.

In giving feedback, many use the sandwich method by putting the negative feedback in the middle of positive feedback. This doesn’t always work because people may cherry pick which feedback they hear.  Chris said this is not a good model.

It’s all about:
  • Creating the right environment including setting the right tone
  • Being specific and concrete - focus on description, not judgement.  Focus on behavior not the person.
  • Making it a dialogue - it doesn’t have to be an immediate dialogue. If you need time to think, say so.
The five steps to construct positive feedback
  1. Convey positive intent
  2. Describe specifically what you observed
  3. State the impact of the behavior or action
  4. Ask the other person to respond
  5. Focus the discussion on solutions 
When to give feedback?
  • Timing of the feedback - close to when the event occurred (in other words, not once a year).  Perhaps ask how often someone wants feedback.
  • Be aware of feedback overload
  • Aim for the midpoint of an “Inverted U” - consider feedback sessions 1-2 per month.  Make the feedback positive and negative.
Feedback in difficult situations - Don’t:
  • Become defensive or counterattack
  • Don’t be pressured into doing something you didn’t mean
  • Docent cause the person of being overly emotional or reactive
  • Don’t feel obligated to handle a difficult situation by yourself
Feedback in difficult situations - Do:
  • Remain objective and focused on the person’s performance
  • If necessary, take a break and follow up later
  • Communicate your awareness of the person’s behavior
  • Consult HR if you’re not sure how to proceed or refer to the employee to an employee assistance program