Libraries, Library Director, Management

Workplace Vibes

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“THIS IS HOW WORK LOOKS LIKE” says “them”

Jane is unhappy because in the summer Bob likes to use his vacation days to take Fridays off and have a long weekend. Bob is upset that Sally gets 4 less public service hours than him, even though Sally has a very specific job as the (INSERT ANY JOB TITLE) whereas Bob is a library assistant/aide whose primary duty is to serve the public. Sally doesn’t really say much to the staff when everyone is together chatting about things, but get her one on one and boy howdy she’ll tell you everything she hates about everyone. And Jim? He’ll only talk to Sally about anything that comes up even though Sally may not be the person he needs to go to. And finally….there’s Barbara. When she’s upset or overworked, she’ll immediately begin nitpicking everything that Jane and Bob do at work.

Does this completely made up story (which, like all good stories has to be somewhat inspired by real life events) sound familiar to you? It should sound familiar to you, as it is the story of every public library that has ever existed in the modern age.

In a perfect world, the public library workplace would be one that is completely in harmony and peace. After all, here’s what your job boils down to: you help people, you let them borrow things that they need, and you create and run cool events. You’re doing work that at all times gives something amazing to your community. While all of this still happens, the public library workplace is usually not full of harmony and peace. And you know what? After now being part of seven different public library workplaces I’m not sure if they’ll ever be. Some have been more harmonious than others. Yet at the core there’s always a little bit of discontent, a touch of negativity, and some jealousy thrown in there. I guess you could say it keeps things interesting.

After being a Library Director for the past two years, I’ve become a lot more in tune with what I’ll call “workplace vibes”. I see them happening, I notice the fallout from them, and I spend my days swathed in the layers of emotions they put out into the world. As the person that steers the ship of this library, I feel like a lot of those vibes are something I need to watch and control. I do my best to make sure the vibes remain positive, but in the end I’m just one person. I have my own life and my own work, and sometimes I just can’t be the only person attempting to make those vibes positive. It takes every staff member to keep the workplace vibes on the up and up. When we do this, we work together and we keep this thing in check.

Will any of us ever achieve a workplace hat is completely in harmony and peace? I don’t think it’s possible. For some reason human beings always need a little bit of unhappiness in their lives. In the past, I put myself through a lot of negative emotions feeling that I wasn’t doing my job because workplace vibes were in the pits. It was wrong of me to do that, as even though I’m the director it is not fully up to me to fix everything. We have to work together and recognize that each of us are at different periods in our journey. If someone is over there on one end, swimming in a sea of depression, we have to recognize that and do our part to not only take care of them but to know that where they may have once stepped up to the plate they may not be able to do that at the time.

Our work lives and our workplace vibes are never consistent. They are always shifting, floating from the positive end to the negative end. Recognizing where we are in that moment within ourselves is key. Through an analysis of our self, we can learn many things that help move us forward. Let’s all think about that right now.

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Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Library Director, Management, Tales From The Library Trenches

Tales From the Library Trenches, Part 3: Choose Your Own Adventure

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Part 3! Enjoy! 

Head on over to Information Today and check out part three of my series titled Tales From The Library Trenches. In this installment, I got a chance to chat with my former boss at the Cape May County Library (NJ) and still big time library inspiration Deb Poillon about project management, planning, and more. Deb rules. She’s one of my library inspirations, as her approach is so community and staff focused and she does it in such as way that not only gets things done but gets things done well.

I’ve created this category (click!) to keep all of the writings in this series together. Next month I will be back to share my fourth and final part. Stay tuned!

Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Library Director, Management, Tales From The Library Trenches

Tales From the Library Trenches, Part 2: A Year of Firsts

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I forgot to post this in June, but better late than never!

Head on over to Information Today and check out part two of my series titled Tales From The Library TrenchesIn this installment, we talk about connections, library boards, and your new role as a community leader.

If you’re up for it, try to connect all the dots and find all the Prince references in the piece. What album was I listening to when I wrote this?

I’ve created this category (click!) to keep all of the writings in this series together. Stay tuned for more!

Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Management, Tales From The Library Trenches

Tales From the Library Trenches, Part 1: Learning to Adapt

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Head on over to Information Today and check out part one of my new series for their publication, titled Tales From The Library TrenchesI’m really jazzed to have a feature with Information Today…they’re a cool publication and they’ve been really wonderful to work with. I’m also really happy they’ve put this feature up on their site for everyone to read free of charge. That’s so very kind of them to do!

I’ve created this category (click!) to keep all of the writings in this series together. Stay tuned for more!

 

Benson Memorial Library, Libraries, Library Director, Management, Tales From The Library Trenches

Tales From The Library Trenches

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I’m really happy to be writing a four part series for Information Today titled Tales From The Library Trenches. Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing stories and ideas about movin’ on up in the library world and becoming a director. I also got a chance to talk to some great folks along the way (Laura Koenig, Kenley Neufeld, and Jack Martin to name a few) and hear their amazing stories as well. I hope y’all get to check it out and enjoy it.

If you haven’t already, you should head over to InfoToday.com and take a look at some of the great stuff they’re sharing.

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to their most awesome and excellent newspaper Information Today right here. They make a nice newspaper about important stuff and I enjoy reading it. In fact, I took the picture above while I sat in my hammock on a nice spring day reading the latest issue.

Enjoy!

Libraries, Library Director

Manistee County Library (Michigan) seeks a Library Director

Hey! Now this looks like a great job at a wonderful little library system in Michigan! Tge Manistee County Library is a really cool library system that is very community-minded
and this job would be great for a librarian looking to level-up their director/management game! I’d totally be into this opportunity if I was looking for a new job…
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The Manistee County Library Board seeks a Director, due to a retirement. The Manistee County Library (MCL) is a county-wide system, with five branches; the main library in Manistee is housed in an historic 1905 Carnegie library building. The MCL serves a county population of around 25,000 with a mix of union and non-union staff and a budget of more than $1.3 million dollars. The library enjoys strong community support.

The ideal candidate will be community-minded and willing to engage and support a wide range of patrons. The candidate will have: Outstanding leadership and human resource skills; experience working in a union staffing environment; familiarity with budgeting and planning; skill deploying and using technologies in service of the MCL’s mission, and; a deep understanding of the role public libraries play, their daily operations, and future trends.

The candidate must have a Masters degree in library science or library and information science from an ALA-accredited program and a minimum of four (4) years of increasingly responsible experience postdegree in a professional public library position. At least two (2) years must have been in a position of administration and supervision in a public library. A complete position description is available at: manisteelibrary.org/director-search-1.

Manistee County is on the west side of the state, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Beautiful beaches are within a 10-minute walk from the main branch. Salary: From the mid $50s to mid $60s, commensurate with experience; the benefit package includes health insurance and pension plan.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but those received by 5 pm (EDT) on Friday, April 7th, 2017 will receive first consideration. Electronic submissions required. Interested individuals should forward a cover letter, which specifically addresses the position requirements and a resume; candidates selected for interview will be asked to provide three references with complete contact information. Electronic submissions and requests for additional information should be directed to the Manistee County Library: directorsearch@manisteelibrary.org

For more information please see the job listing here: http://www.manisteelibrary.org/director-search-1/director-search

To submit an Intent to Apply, go here:
http://www.manisteelibrary.org/director-search-1/director-search-1

For the full job description, go here:
http://www.manisteelibrary.org/director-search-1/job-description-310.pdf/view

Libraries, Library Director

Your Title is Meaningless

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When I first became a Library Director someone said this to me: “That’s awesome! You’ll never have to deal with the public in the day to day stuff again!” to which I just kind of nodded and changed the subject. What in the world were they talking about? I’m a librarian! The public is my job! I couldn’t foresee a day where I didn’t deal with the public. I had been working directly with the public for about 10 years of my life.

Then someone told me that I should view myself as a “Non Profit Executive Director.” That sounds fancy, doesn’t it? They asked me this question: “Do Non Profit Executive Directors spend their time working directly with the public?” Their answer was no: Non Profit Executive Directors were focused on big picture stuff! Strategic Planning! Vision! Don’t waste your precious mental energy with the details.

I am writing this post because I have something to say about all of that: I think it is a bunch of crap.

If you are or want to work in libraries, your first thought at all times should be on the public that you serve. From the shelvers to the circulation desk to those running library programs to the director, our focus should always be public facing. What does that mean to me? To me, that means not having an office away from everyone. To me, that means helping out with every possible thing that I can help out with from time to time.

I don’t like titles that much. I have always had this rebellious streak inside of me. I am not this or that and you are also not this or that. In the end, we’re all just people trying to do our best in our day to day lives. Read this article about a recent black hole that the Hubble Space Telescope found and tell me that you think otherwise.  We’re all just little blips in this much bigger thing. To get hung up on titles and roles seems silly. It doesn’t mean that much in the great grand scheme of things.

Last night I looked at the moon as I drove my sons home from their hockey class. The moon was so huge and beautiful. I pointed it out to my son Finn and he was amazed at its beauty and power. I started to think about it; what if the moon just started falling from the sky and crashed into earth? We’d all be gone. Everything that we’ve created would be gone. Nothing would be left and all that we’ve worked hard at creating (both physical and mental) would have no record of having ever existed. That’s another reason why I think titles are dumb. I encourage you to be a human being and make an impact in this moment.

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Aero is four and he loves hockey

Do stuff with your life! Do it now and do it well! Are you holding yourself back because you didn’t go to college? Are you holding yourself back because you believe that you are  above” a certain task? Forget about that! Do it! If you’re working in a library right now go shelve some books or talk to a patron. Do something! Do it all!