This is a decent book exploring many aspects of teaching undergraduate research, assuming a partnership between faculty and librarians. Not all instit...moreThis is a decent book exploring many aspects of teaching undergraduate research, assuming a partnership between faculty and librarians. Not all institutions have this luxury, but as mine does, we are always looking for ways to enhance our collaboration.
Most of the chapters were very current and well researched. A few were not, and I wish they had been left out of the book. The best chapters combined theory with practical application.
"If [faculty] have been disappointed with student research in the past, then I would argue that they should require students to document and comment on their thought process, tools, search methods, and judgment criteria throughout all stages of their work, submitting a chronological research log (written "raw," not reconstructed) with their term paper or other project... This exercise in reflection is as important a learning moment as an outline or annotated bibliography, and, as such, it deserves serious assessment and some degree of feedback." (from intro by Mary George, pg. ix)
Most useful chapter for me: Sources Before Searching (chapter 8) by Stephanie N. Otis I think I'll get the librarians in my group to read and discuss it.(less)
This is a very comprehensive overview of digital storytelling, and I spent as much time digging around in the notes section as I did reading the book....moreThis is a very comprehensive overview of digital storytelling, and I spent as much time digging around in the notes section as I did reading the book. Gotta love a well-researched book! I read this because I'm teaching a storytelling class in May, although my class is more of a 1.0 (non-digital) focus. I do plan to incorporate stories others have told in forms of digital media, so I still got bits out of the middle that focused on the types of digital media used in storytelling. The end of the book lays out what a digital storytelling workshop could look like, which had good story prompts that I might be able to use. (less)
Organizations that are not centralized are powerful and almost impossible to kill. This is the message of this book. I was hoping it would be more pre...moreOrganizations that are not centralized are powerful and almost impossible to kill. This is the message of this book. I was hoping it would be more prescriptive, as I could benefit from learning how to adopt principles of a starfish in circumstances at work, with two librarians down in my group. How can we function better so that when someone leaves, or is on leave, we can fill in those gaps more fluidly?
The book is really more of a description of leaderless organizations, from the side of the startled, traditional organizations who lost something when coming up against them. Well known starfish and spiders are described, and methods to defeat them are suggested. This may be useful to some corporate types, but just wasn't what I was looking for.
I'm not sure a book on how to build a leadership organization can exist anyway. It might violate a rule of quantum mechanics or something, to attempt to organize anarchy.
I did like the bit that contrasted the CEO with the "catalyst," and thought aspiring change agents could learn from it. ("In a starfish, the catalyst has the power.")
I also loved this quotation and it will be going on my bulletin board: "Starfish systems are wonderful incubators for creative, destructive, innovative, or crazy ideas. Anything goes. Good ideas will attract more people, and in a circle they'll execute the plan. Institute order and rigid structure, and while you may achieve standardization, you'll also squelch creativity. Where creativity is valuable, learning to accept chaos is a must."(less)
When I attended the LOEX Conference in Nashville in May 2013, David A. Owens was one of the keynote speakers. It was nice to have someone outside of l...moreWhen I attended the LOEX Conference in Nashville in May 2013, David A. Owens was one of the keynote speakers. It was nice to have someone outside of librarianship speaking, and he focused on the process of innovation and what blocks there are in creativity. I thought it was useful information and ordered the book for my library too.
The contents are similar to what he presented on, just more in depth, and I see he also teaches a Coursera MOOC using the same framework. His emphasis is definitely on corporate environments, and although I found his concepts to apply easily to an academic environment, he does not do that for the reader.
My only disappointment is that the chapter on organizational constraints didn't give me more ideas I could use to overcome a constraint I've identified within my own organization. He makes the wrong assumption that changes to structure and process can always be made, and I would have liked to see creative ways of overcoming organizational constraints beyond these.
Although the one magical answer I was hoping for wasn't within these pages, instead I found it more thought-provoking from the perspective of being an assistant director in the library. Within my group, we have explicitly held creativity as one of our core values from the very beginning. I'm always learning more about my role, but I'm even more convinced that the most important thing I can do is protect ideas and efforts when they may not be the status quo, the norm, or what everyone else is doing.
We are coming up on self-evaluation time, and I'm thinking of asking everyone to ponder two things directly from this book: 1. What environment helps you think and create the best? 2. What has been your most spectacular failure?
David A. Owens emphasizes the need to celebrate failures as well as accomplishments, because then you are valuing the ideas, the attempts, and not just the products. I already have my answer for the year - search techniques performance art with 77 freshmen music majors!
A few other moments I was nodding along with: "Sometimes we think it is too costly to invest time generating and critiquing so many ideas early in the process. What we forget is how much more expensive it is to try to implement ideas that aren't the best we could possibly have generated."
"Blindly adopting standards means you may be giving up critical features that are essential to your function."
"...These people may have very little invested in the innovation you intend, but they do have a great deal invested in their current way of doing things, a way that they know works. It makes sense that they would want some form of proof that the world will, in fact, be a better place for them if they believe you and adopt your ideas." This page is followed by a list of questions (pg. 228-229) to help you build a better proposal. I'm going to use this on a current tech request I'm going to make for the third time. Page 235 also has phases of leading innovation, that would also be helpful.
"...There are also occasions where creative people must be stopped. For example, they must be stopped when they sabotage their own creativity by staying stuck in ruts of seeing and thinking. They must be stopped from fearing the consequences of standing up for their ideas, especially ideas that cut against the grain of a group's conventional mind-set."(less)
This book says it is about museums, but it has been popular amongst the ALA Think Tank Facebook group, full of public and academic librarians. It has...moreThis book says it is about museums, but it has been popular amongst the ALA Think Tank Facebook group, full of public and academic librarians. It has some great advice for designing participatory exhibits and spaces, and I got a lot out of it from a library perspective too.
"The best participatory experiences are not wide open. They are scaffolded to help people feel comfortable engaging in the activity. There are many ways to scaffold experiences without prescribing the result." - She gives an example of a poster making activity that wasn't wide open but started with artifacts from the show that people could use, more of a remix than full-fledge creation.
"Visitors come in the door knowing who they are, but they may not know what content is of greatest interest to them." - She talks about designing themed guides for museum exhibits (I like... souvenirs, I like... to be inspired, I like... to wallow in angst, etc.), but I know we can improve our website at least in this way. Can we also overhaul some of our physical space?
Staff picks... not a new idea but would be easy to implement, although I feel like we tried this before.
The Human Library - brilliant idea, we could use this to teach the idea of libraries and librarians.
Interactive tree collage! With questions! I could use this in the first month of classes, asking upperclassmen to share one tip about the library or research. I saw tree collages at ACRL, with clothespins... must investigate. (less)
Don't get this book from the library if you haven't taken the StrengthsFinder test, because each book only comes with one code. I had taken the test a...moreDon't get this book from the library if you haven't taken the StrengthsFinder test, because each book only comes with one code. I had taken the test already and been provided with the supplementary material, so this doesn't have a lot to add except for advice on how to work with people with the strengths you don't have. I read the suggestions for my boss's strength, and I was like, "Preach!"
Other than that, I found StrengthsFinder to be far more useful and practical than older tests like the Myers-Briggs, in fact it helped me see a change I needed to make in my own career, just gave me clarity I really needed. It also pointed out what I could/should be contributing at work based on the strengths, making me want more time for reflection and reading at work. I do these things at home, but not at work!
So basically, DO buy yourself this book or talk your workplace into doing StrengthsFinder. (less)
We read this for a library leadership council retreat, and I would give it 2 and 1/3 stars. Overall it isn't well researched, Bennis throws in random...moreWe read this for a library leadership council retreat, and I would give it 2 and 1/3 stars. Overall it isn't well researched, Bennis throws in random political opinions that are so far on the opinion spectrum (as opposed to fact) that they fail to prove his point, and sexism is built-in to the text. It is also very focused on a corporate environment, and for our purposes, something more academia-specific would have been more useful. Yes, I suppose I am punishing this book for not being good for our purposes. I'm surprised to see this is still a standard text for MBA programs; surely there must be better books on leadership out there!
Throughout the book, Bennis tells the reader that you actually can't become a leader on purpose. So why read the book? Why, to hear advice like this:
"Unless you know where you're going, and why, you cannot possibly get there."
"Leaders have nothing but themselves to work with."
"What you are speaks loudly."
I hate those reviews that are full of animated gifs, but I kinda wish I had some eye rolling ones for this book. The entire thing is full of obvious statements that he then feels the need to support with anecdotes from Wall Street, often stories that could be interpreted differently than how he does, and seem to have to do more with luck than intentional growth.
Other ingredients of leadership (except you can't learn them) are passion! Candor! Curiosity! Daring! Reinvention! Look, I don't disagree, but he lists these all in two pages. Write me a book that focuses on how to develop these areas in yourself and in your business. That would be a book to read.
There were a few things I highlighted that I agreed with, so for fairness I should include them here as well:
"If one can look at life as being successful on a moment-by-moment basis, one might find that most of it is successful." That and the need for reflection is something I resonate with. I used to be better at this. I used to spend more time on it.
"To become a leader, then, you must become yourself, become the maker of your own life."
"Unless you are willing to take risks, you will suffer paralyzing inhibitions, and you will never do what you are capable of doing. Mistakes - missteps - are necessary for actualizing your vision, and necessary steps toward success." Risk taking and creativity and venturing out beyond our peer institutions is one of my big goals for where we're headed. I will repeat this one until it is heard.
"In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future." - Eric Hoffer
This is a good overview of current practices for assessing student learning, one of the few books that focuses on higher education and remains practic...moreThis is a good overview of current practices for assessing student learning, one of the few books that focuses on higher education and remains practical in nature. I found the analyzing and communicating chapters the most useful, because I had already chosen a tool and completed the assessment part of a project.(less)
This is a solid overview of information literacy assessment for academic librarians, including detailed descriptions of specific tools with pros/cons...moreThis is a solid overview of information literacy assessment for academic librarians, including detailed descriptions of specific tools with pros/cons of each. There are brief bibliographies but I kept wishing there were lists of good case studies for each type of assessment. There is a lot of great literature out there, and this book would have been more helpful with a more in-depth overview.
I also felt like it was missing connection to wider educational theory, and started with the assumption that there is information literacy that needs to be assessed. I guess it can't do everything.
I got this through interlibrary loan but will be ordering a copy for my library, because I can see referencing it multiple times.(less)
This is a brief overview of how to apply formative assessment to teaching. I felt like in trying to do an overview, Popham sells a few areas short. He...moreThis is a brief overview of how to apply formative assessment to teaching. I felt like in trying to do an overview, Popham sells a few areas short. He devotes a brief chapter to tweaking instruction based on formative assessment, and I would have liked this to be more significant, with more examples, and maybe some better models and case studies.
This is highly classroom-focused, assuming long-term instruction. I can still apply a few bits to the library instruction that I do, but it is less applicable. (To be fair, it wasn't written for librarians!)
I did appreciate the way this overview was couched within the wider world of assessment and learning theory. That helped to also understand when formative assessment may not be the best choice.(less)
Good parts - application of very recent studies by neuroscientists and business scholars to interpersonal communication, using personal values and str...moreGood parts - application of very recent studies by neuroscientists and business scholars to interpersonal communication, using personal values and strengths to make job decisions and cut down on stress,
Not anything new parts - active listening repackaged as 'compassionate communication,' progressive relaxation repackaged as 'compassionate communication,' and meditation repackaged as 'compassionate communication.'
That said, it wasn't a bad read, and it never hurts to be reminded of these core concepts. There were a few studies mentioned that I will read more closely, and I directed some colleagues to the section on values reflection, because I found it personally useful.
I find this book to say very little in the end, at least, little that is useful or that I can apply. We make split-second judgements. Some people more...moreI find this book to say very little in the end, at least, little that is useful or that I can apply. We make split-second judgements. Some people more accurately than others. This does not always mean what we think it means.
I guess when the subtitle of a book has the words "power" and "thinking" in it ("The Power of Thinking Without Thinking"), I expect to gain something from it. Instead I feel like the author explains all the reasons why we should not be relying on snap judgements, despite the fact that some of the time, they are right. I don't find "some" to be very useful. If a person can't rely on first impressions, or what the author refers to as "thin slice" representations of performance or taste, what good is there in talking about it at all?
Then I started thinking about why I read this book in the first place. When the new president of the university where I work started, he talked extensively about Malcolm Gladwell. He referenced this book as well as Outliers. I felt like if I read them, I would understand where he was coming from, and some of the changes he has been making. I have to admit that knowing how much of a decision people make in that first moment could have an impact on how a place is marketed. Even if first impressions don't necessarily become our opinions later on, they still have the power to make a decision in a person's mind, for better or for worse.
Still, I'm not sure how you can make that work for you. Is it better to be super-sweet Pepsi that people prefer at the first sip, or more popular Coca-Cola which people are more likely to drink an entire bottle/can of, and make a repeat purchase of? I'd rather be Coke. Can you manufacture enough of a Pepsi experience and then also be Coke? That sounds dangerous to me, because I'm not sure you can be both.
"People are ignorant of the things that affect their actions, yet they rarely feel ignorant. We need to accept our ignorance and say 'I don't know' more often."
"How good people's decisions are under the fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal."
Gladwell does seem to be saying that if you understand the limitations of snap-judgments, you can train yourself to try to lessen bias, prejudice, and incorrect assumptions. It seems to me that the bigger trick is understanding when and how you are doing this to begin with. Write me a book about how to do that, Mr. Gladwell. (less)
It is hard to know what to say about this book. I took on a new position in January, and the other new assistant director and I have been reading this...moreIt is hard to know what to say about this book. I took on a new position in January, and the other new assistant director and I have been reading this (along with the library director), periodically discussing it at our meetings. It has been great for that, but I haven't been ready to hear some of the ideas, and some of them aren't quite appropriate. This is a book I will keep, and consult from time to time.
The only chapter I really balked at was the "Inspire" chapter. I'm just not sure every person needs to try to be inspiring, or if it can be manufactured using the methods suggested. (Really? Speak more musically, and bam! inspiration? Huh.) I also laughed at the chapter that told me to seek delight from my spouse, so I wouldn't seek it at work. Hahaha. (I get what the author was trying to say, but it took him a while.)
I did get a lot out of it, particularly the sections that served to remind me that it is okay to fail, that people don't always have to like you, and that you have to let go of the past.
"When you make a distinction between the roles you play and yourself, you gain the emotional strength to ignore personal attacks your opponents hope will stymie your initiative. People make attacks personal specifically to divert you from your message. The next time someone tells you that you're 'too aggressive' or 'uncaring' when you're representing a difficult point of view or change initiative, remind yourself that you (as a person) are not your role (as someone seeking to lead change). Though a change may feel personal (and be intended as personal), it is not a statement about your character or your worth as a human being. It is a strategy and an attempt to manipulate you." (chapter 16)(less)
Skimmed most of this because I was mainly interested in how the wisdom of crowds impacts information seeking behavior. That isn't really what this boo...moreSkimmed most of this because I was mainly interested in how the wisdom of crowds impacts information seeking behavior. That isn't really what this book is about. If you are involved in business or commerce this will be much more applicable to you!
"If you put together a big enough and diverse enough group of people and ask them to "make decisions affecting matters of general interest," that group's decisions will, over time, be "intellectually superior to the isolated individual," no matter how smart or well-informed he is." -xvii
"The simplest way to get reliably good answers is just to ask the group each time." (pg 5)
"Groups are better at deciding between possible solutions to a problem than they are at coming up with them. Invention may still be an individual enterprise." (pg. 60)
"...It is good for society as a whole, because overconfident people are less likely to get sucked into a negative information cascade, and, in the right circumstances, are even able to break cascades. Overconfident people... tend to ignore public information and go on their gut. When they do so, they disrupt the signal that everyone else is getting. They make the public information seem less certain. And that encourages others to rely on themselves rather than just follow everyone else." (p. 61)
"The idea of the wisdom of crowds also takes decentralization as a given and a good, since it implies that if you set a crowd of self-interested, independent people to work in a decentralized way on the same problem... their collective solution is likely to be better than any other solution you could come up with." (p. 70)
"Specialization, as we've known since Adam Smith, tends to make people more productive and efficient." (p. 71)
"Decentralization's great strength is that it encourages independence and specialization on the one hand while still allowing people to coordinate their activities and solve difficult problems on the other. Decentralization's great weakness is that there's no guarantee that valuable information which is uncovered in one part of the system will find its way through the rest of the system." (p. 71)(less)
Coming from an institution where librarians are faculty, serve on committees, are included in curricular decisions and are part of the writing curricu...moreComing from an institution where librarians are faculty, serve on committees, are included in curricular decisions and are part of the writing curriculum, this book didn't have a lot of new ideas to offer. The most useful information to me was course or major specific, and we will discuss some of those ideas in January.
If you are at an institution less supportive of librarian involvement, or if you are in the beginning stages of information literally/fluency instruction, or developing a liaison program, this book will be an essential tool.(less)
"As it turns out, you don't have to choose between being honest and being effective. You don't have to choose between candor and your career. People w...more"As it turns out, you don't have to choose between being honest and being effective. You don't have to choose between candor and your career. People who routinely hold crucial conversations and hold them well are able to express controversial and even risky opinions in a way that gets heard. Their bosses, peers, and direct reports listen without becoming defensive or angry."
Skimmed this to try to absorb as much as possible, and it was useful enough that I will definitely come back to sections of it.(less)
I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book, as well as the introduction, which asks useful questions about books, literature with a capital...moreI really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book, as well as the introduction, which asks useful questions about books, literature with a capital L, reading, and literacy. Then everything devolved into a weird justification of her own favorite things to read and her obsession with the macabre. I also thinks she suffers a supreme failure by avoiding the idea of reading in non-solitary ways - book clubs, what the Internet adds to appreciation of reading in a highly social environment, and so on. You would say that would negate her title, but she tells you at the beginning that she didn't really mean it anyway, which almost made me quit reading as it was.
She had interesting content about bibliophiles and escapist children, and had that been the focus of the book, I would probably have given it three stars. (less)
Really more of a reference book than something you would read cover to cover, this has the same pros/cons as the other Nancy Pearl Book Lust titles -...moreReally more of a reference book than something you would read cover to cover, this has the same pros/cons as the other Nancy Pearl Book Lust titles - the lists are not comprehensive, to me there are some obvious picks missing, but it would be a good place to start when wanting to read more about a place, or something set in a place. And I want that all the time when I'm traveling.
My to-read list was already bursting at the seams, and now it is going to need its own suitcase.(less)