Monthly Archives: September 2008

I *heart* Charlie Brown

Hmmm, yeah, sorry for being a fun sponge lately.
Now back to regularly scheduled programming…kinda.
Found this today. God Bless Charles Schulz.

The whys and hows of quitting

Since putting in my resignation, I’ve been faced with the question of “why?” quite a bit.

“Why are you leaving?”
“How could things be different?”
“Why are others not happy here?”
“How can we change the organization for the future?”

On one hand, I’m glad they are asking.  On the other, I can’t help but think that the only way I really prompted this much care or interest was by quitting my job.  Maybe that was the point…I had to lose my job so that others can have greater happiness here.  I’m okay with that.  I guess what my favorite prof, Dr. M, said was true, “Sometimes the only way you can be heard is with your feet…”

So now that I’m being grilled on how to make things better, I’m struggling with one question:
How do you teach “soft skills”?

Balancing budgets and making sure student behavior is well monitored is one thing, and they are very good at that.  But how on earth do you teach the warm and fuzzies that are actually very crucial to management?

I am looking at the Human Nature at Work website and am a big fan of the book Growing Great Employees but translating all of that into tangible concepts that this organization will grasp?  Well, I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

Ideas?  Anybody?

My Ode…

Two things I dig…Detroit and the Library Street sign.
I may or may not have had a couple beers when I was inspired to take this photo.
Think of it as my geeky digital ode.   😉

Okay, changing format.

You can just say my middle name is change.

New format.  Yeah!

Resigning…not re-signing.

Remember how a couple posts ago I said I didn’t like change?  Yeah, I made a big change yesterday.

I resigned from my job.

Now before I go further, you need to know that I’m not the biggest fan of bloggers who put their dirty laundry out to dry.  Somethings are just so…personal.  But everyone has a different level of comfort, and this particular topic is getting out of my range of comfort of sharing.  (As my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Janes said, “Not everything is appropriate for sharing time!”  Of course, she was referring to Tony G. sharing the details of a Nova special about how babies were made…)

Plus, I keep rewriting this, because I don’t want you to think of me as one of the emo blogger kids on the block.  (Let me know if I get that way, please.)

Have you ever been in a place where there is so much potential and so much that could go right, but instead the organization is stagnant?  Or even worse, moving backwards?  That’s kind of where I’m at right now.  I feel as though if in the last year a single member of the administration had come to me and asked “what can we do to help you be great at your job?  what do you need?  what concerns you?  as leaders…what can we do for you?” it would have been a great thing.  But it never happened.  I set up meetings.  I stood outside offices.  I tried to grasp attention that was split between me and many other things.  (The other things often winning, by the way.)

I wrote my annual review.  It was constructive, but no holds barred.  I laid out the facts and my concerns and perspective.  It was seven pages long.  Twelve weeks later, I realized it hadn’t been read.  So yesterday, I submitted my resignation.  The document would have been a red flag to any administrator who cared, or it would have at least made them so upset, I could have been fired or reprimanded.

My announcement made two of my close friends from another division cry.  My supervisor, shockingly, had tears in his eyes.  (He once told me that “we don’t hire people, we hire skills”.  So, clearly, he won’t miss me.  But who will update the website?!?!)  But four of my employees said the same thing, “You’re too good for this place, and you need to thrive.  You can’t thrive here.”

That makes me sad.

I am excited for my future.  I have a really cool gig lined up.  In this economy, I feel fortunate that I have the freedom to move out of an unhappy work situation.  I’ll tell you more about the new gig later.

But this week, I have a heavy heart.  People should be able to thrive…everyone can be great and everyone deserves a chance to be great.  I wish I had the energy to fight and try and strive to make an organization with so much potential be phenomenal.  But I can’t.  I did the best I could with the skills and tools I had. This time, the system got the best of me.  Old men, with old ideas, clinging to a very old business model beat the young Turk with her desire to innovate and unabashed eagerness.  Maybe someday I’ll look back and realize they were right. Oh HELL NO!

So, onto a bright future…it’s gonna be cool and amazing.  I already feel more alive just thinking about it.

But…just a tad sad for the past.  That’s all.  I think I’m gonna need a while longer.

And being a librarian, I’ll share a title: “the dip.  a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)” by Seth Godin.

An idea from Moo Cards

http://www.moo.com/designs/

Busy week.  But, check out the moo cards website.  You can pick your designs by clicking and dragging the images to the bottom of the page.  From there you can see the images you’ve already selected plus keep browsing others all in one place.  Wouldn’t it be cool if an ILS allowed patrons to browse their catalog in a similar format?  Then they could simply drag the book into their “put on hold” bin.  It would create a more interactive way of browsing online at the library collection and also just be neat and innovative.

Oh. This explains patrons.

So a scientist has determined the “personalities” of every state in the U.S.

According to the interactive diagram, Michiganians are only middle-of-the-road in terms of their openness.  That can’t possible relate to library patrons.  Any librarian will tell you that Michigan library patrons are all too willing to share their medical history, political opinion, assessment of your job skills, religious beliefs, favorite cupcake recipe, child-rearing advice, sexual escapades, dental hygiene habits, and just about anything else you can fathom (and many things you cannot).

I think it’s a cool little study.  Worth looking at for sure.

Four Ways to Redecorate The Library

That are economical – of course!

1) Consider getting removable wallpaper. Try something like Wall Pops which allow you to reposition artsy dots and patterns over and over again until it’s “just right”.

2) Paint. A friend of mine is an interior decorator.  Give her a can of paint and a throw rug and she can make your house look totally different.  It’s amazing to me because I can’t even hammer a nail into a wall.  She has shown me how to get inexpensive paint hardware stores and builder supply companies.  Usually there is atleast one can of paint in the for sale bin that isn’t quite the right shade for someone, but could be the right shade for your library.  You don’t have to paint every wall that color.  If you have one particular wall that is very prominent, paint that.  Just remember to consider the furnishings of your library and also the color themes of your library image.  A common theme for your webpage, logo, and building, however subtle, can be very effective in maintaining an organizational identity.

3) Move the furniture around. It’s easy to be in a rut and think that your current setup is the only setup, but it doesn’t have to be.  Watch for natural patterns of library usage…if people tend to flow a particular way in your library, see if you can match that.  If certain areas tend to be noisier, try to cordone that off as a noise zone that won’t disturb others.

4) Posters, Paintings, Signage. You can find many low cost poster vendors online who sell prints of paintings and more.  Poster frames aren’t all the expensive and well placed art on a wall or easel can really change the way things looks.  This goes for signage too!  Creative signs at the end of shelving or new directional signs can contribute to the look and image of your library.  Again, if you are trying to maintain a particular theme, remember to incorporate it into your signage.

Get the entire staff involved in this.  It’s fun to work on a project like that together for brainstorming and implementation.

More Cool Stuff From ALA Public Programs

I received a neat flier from ALA Public Programs.  They have many grants coming up that are really fabulous and available to most library types.  Check them out:

Picturing America
Recipients gain a collection of 20 laminated, double-sided posters depicting 40 works of American art, a 125-page resource book, and a project-based website with curriculum resources.

We the People Bookshelf on “Picturing America”
The list of books received can be found by clicking here.  My library won another bookshelf from NEH and it has proven to be a great resource for us!

Great Stories CLUB
The Great Stories CLUB “is a reading and discussion program designed to reach underserved, troubled teen populations through books that are relevant to their lives.

Age……..Gap

Apparently every single member of the freshman class did not do his summer reading and now needs a copy of The Lord of the Flies.  And refuses to go to the bookstore because the markup is prohibitive.

So, after checking out all three copies that I had, I only had the book on tape remaining.  One of the kids said he’d take it and when he opened the case balked and said “um, a tape?  Where can I play this?”  And I said – your parents’ car?  “No”  A stereo at home?  “No”

And then I almost said………wait for it……….

“Don’t you have a walk-man?”

I always thought I was so tech-savvy – I covet the iPhone, and I would love to buy a Chumby.  So the thought that there are homes in this country that lack cassette players, not due to lack of funds but because of immense change in technology, really struck me.

I’m still reeling.  (Unintentional pun but damn good, don’t you think?)