Most of the book was not as relevant to me, either from a focus on public libraries, or giving advice on work that we don't do at my institution (we hMost of the book was not as relevant to me, either from a focus on public libraries, or giving advice on work that we don't do at my institution (we have Development officers and wouldn't do our own cold calling, for instance!). But a lot of the ideas can be applied to different types of institutions.
As an academic librarian, I really got a lot out of this chapter from two Duke library development people (not sure if they are librarians or staff). Of course Duke is a champion of donor relations across the board, but what they do just in the library is pretty incredible:
Crazy Smart: Creative Approaches to Developing your Donor Pipeline and Increasing Support by Thomas B. Hadzor and Kurt H. Cumiskey (Duke)
-Homecoming tours for alumni- general and behind the scenes -Reception for library donors on Reunion Weekend -Alumni Bookplate Initiative (dedicating a book for deceased alumni, free of charge) -Naming opportunities page of the library website ...more
A short story, delicately read by Kirby Heyborne, about a boy trapped in a library. Things are not what they seem, and the sheepman seems to be at theA short story, delicately read by Kirby Heyborne, about a boy trapped in a library. Things are not what they seem, and the sheepman seems to be at the center of it all.
To be fair, I skimmed this book for bits that were relevant to me. I read chapter 3: Stress, very carefully. It was a revelation to discover that theTo be fair, I skimmed this book for bits that were relevant to me. I read chapter 3: Stress, very carefully. It was a revelation to discover that the body actually creates glucose as part of the stress reaction, and shuts down cells from processing it so that it remains available for immediate energy, leftover from back when stress was always physical danger.
All sorts of connections to my own health - made.
"One of the ways exercise optimizes energy usage is by triggering the production of more receptors for insulin. In the body, having more receptors means better use of blood glucose and stronger cells. Best of all, the receptors stay there, which means the newfound efficiency gets built in. If you exercise regularly, and the population of insulin receptors increases if there is a drop in blood sugar or blood flow, the cell will still be able to squeeze enough glucose out of the bloodstream to keep working. Also, exercise increases IGF-1, which helps insulin manage glucose levels." ...more
This is a decent read on how to apply the Kanban system to your personal workflow, especially considering that when I first heard about Kanban and wenThis is a decent read on how to apply the Kanban system to your personal workflow, especially considering that when I first heard about Kanban and went to look for books on it, all I could find came out of lean manufacturing. Most helpful in this book are the two simple rules - visualize your work and limit your work-in-progress.
The second most useful part of the book are the examples of how people have made personal Kanban work for them.
Less useful were the chapters trying to make Kanban different from Covey or to-do lists. The authors attempt to villainize both, perhaps in an effort to make you think their system is the only system, but I use Kanban alongside Covey thinking and to-do lists and don't find them to be in conflict at all. Those two chapters were unnecessary, as were several others that merely repeated the concepts and the fuzzy illustrations found earlier in the book.
Still, I'm a fan of Kanban and use it to manage my group of Outreach librarians, and wanted to see what they had to say about using it for personal workflow.
In the end they do dip into group workflow as well, especially near the end. I liked the idea of using Kanban to handle an emergency situation, and that is something I'll file away for the next situation that damages library materials. ...more
I came across this book in my library catalog while looking for resources on library budgeting.
The topics covered by this book are well thought out aI came across this book in my library catalog while looking for resources on library budgeting.
The topics covered by this book are well thought out and apply to both public and academic library directors:
-At the Helm -Customer Number One: Your Boss -Engaging Staff -Dealing with a Board and a Faculty Senate -Dollar Sense -The Borders of the Realm (outreach) -Dealing with the Press -A Death in the Library (surprising for an entire chapter?) -Changing Times (managing change) -Transitions (new position, being fired, retiring, etc.)
I found a few pieces of good advice, especially about dealing with administrators (good and bad), and how life changes when you work your way up to the top:
"Once you accept a director position, you have given up those specializations. It doesn't mean you aren’t interested, but it cannot be the focus of your attention. Now, people will tell you that you have moved from being a specialist to being a generalist. Don’t you believe it — you have a new specialty. You must now be the master of integration."
Some of the statements were a bit strange and seemed to come from the author's personal experience, not universally experienced:
"Some days you may feel that you are living in a soap opera. Libraries do have a strong element of the soap about them — staff searching for a mate, falling in love, breaking up, and getting married. Add to this that many of a library’s part-time workers are young people whose quest for a partner occupies a sizable part of their brain."
(What? Part-time young people occupy their brains with partner questing? This seemed pretty dismissive and untrue.)
The writing left a bit to be desired and it could have benefited from a hefty edit, but the chosen topics reflected an experience in the field that had to come from the inside. Some of the topics made this book more like a handbook, something to pull out when you encounter a specific event (death, firing, the press), while others were more philosophical and about approach. I think the author is spot on about including the entire library and the entire community in the future of the library. The one idea I can steal right away is having a list of students, preferably officers in student organizations, to e-mail about library-related events. We can't e-mail ALL students but this might be useful. I'll be running it by my director!...more
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Anything I quote may have changed in the final version.
This was a veryI received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Anything I quote may have changed in the final version.
This was a very difficult book to read! I am never good at being criticized, and magnify that difficulty by taking everything as criticism. Ha. I'm also in the position of giving feedback to a crew of librarians and can always use ideas for how to do this in the best way!
What I really like about this book is that it examines what the problems are, focusing on the person reading, while also giving ideas for how to address both the problems that are internal and those that are relational, structural, or role-based. I got a lot out of even just breaking it down into these categories, because it helped me see how complicated these elements can make something like giving and receiving feedback. It made me think a lot about myself, more in the role of receiving feedback than in giving it, probably because that is where I need the greatest help!
A few of the practical concepts I marked for further pondering -
-Disentangle we from what -The speed at which we interpret data, sometimes making us miss the actual meaning or intention of feedback -Noticing different things despite having access to the same data (ask "Why do we see this differently? What data do you have that I don't?") -How much is role and how much is personality? -Pay attention to your own silent switchtracking reaction to others' feedback
The concept of "identity story" is something I've come across before, but I felt it was well-handled here. How some people see themselves as unchangeable and that makes feedback more difficult, and how sometimes figuring out what the story we are telling about ourselves can really help us wade through our reactions to feedback.
I loved the set of "forward-looking" questions that the authors recommend you take to any evaluation conversation: "What were the criteria you used? What did you consider to be the most important? Are there concerns I should know about? Are there skills or experience I am missing? Looking forward: What are the consequences? How will this effect me in the coming year? What should I be thinking about or working on? When might we reassess?
Since the authors are careful to distinguish evaluation from coaching, and at once point suggest interpreting some evaluation as coaching, I liked this idea of having a tangible way of turning feedback around into immediate useful, actionable directions. Excellent.
There was one scary suggestion of asking people around you "What do you see me doing, or failing to do, that is getting in my own way?" It is probably a clear indicator that this book did not save me from being terrified of this kind of conversation, but I'm mulling it over. Perhaps if I start with safer people. And the authors suggest always having someone safe on hand to bounce ideas off of.
"When we are under stress or in conflict we lose skills we normally have, impact others in ways we don't see, are at a loss for positive strategies. We need honest mirrors in these moments, and often that role is played best by those with whom we have the hardest time."
Hmm, interesting. Actually they are not suggesting a safe person to mirror you, but someone who you struggle with. I am not ready! I will need to start small, but that is an interesting question. And as someone who has been under too much stress in the last two years, I'm not sure I want to hear the answer. Ha....more
"The survivors stay on pills, waiting... We go on. You cannot choose whether you get depressed and you cannot choose when or how you get better, but y
"The survivors stay on pills, waiting... We go on. You cannot choose whether you get depressed and you cannot choose when or how you get better, but you can choose what to do with the depression, especially when you come out of it."
This was an incredible book that took me months to read, a dense mighty tome about depression. It weaves together the author's personal experience of multiple breakdowns and decades of treatments with other narratives, scientific research, historical background, and social context (and sometimes- literature!). Rather than try to summarize depression, he lets it stay messy as it really is, different for each person, with no clear path for treatment. I learned a lot, and hopefully my increased understanding will make me a better boss, a better faculty advisor, and a better friend.
While the Australian Black Dog Institute doesn't seem to exist online anymore, and they were the force leading to the writing of this book, I still thWhile the Australian Black Dog Institute doesn't seem to exist online anymore, and they were the force leading to the writing of this book, I still think it will be useful to people who want some specific strategies for dealing with depression in the workplace. I didn't find the personal anecdotes very useful and they take up half of the book, but every once in a while they would provide an idea. This also comes from Australia which has different government policies driving how workplaces can legally deal with depression, however I was more interested in improving work environment and understanding the possibilities than in what I was legally obligated to do.
Some of the suggestions are institutional, which are probably very helpful in a situation where someone would have the influence to make changes. I actually think one idea, of holding training for supervisors in dealing with mood disorders, would be something I could suggest. If mental health isn't a stigma, let's talk more about it, not just pretend it isn't creating challenges for people at work or in school. I think people know how to accommodate for physical issues but feel less empowered to do so for mental issues.
As a college advisor and supervisor of employees, what do I get out of this book? The need for greater flexibility for people struggling with mood disorders. Flexibility in time, for doctor's appointments, drug side effects, and just really bad mornings. In a perfect world, also finding more ways of not equating a depression-fueled dip in performance to general failure in performance. How can we be reasonable in our expectations and keep work a place that provides a reciprocal environment to all employees and not just those not struggling? I'm not sure I have the answers but I feel I have a tiny bit more understanding. Hopefully this will help me be more of an advocate and less of a straw to add to the camel, if you know what I mean. That is my entire reason for reading the book in the first place.
Here is a list of modifications from page 96 that I found useful: -restructuring the job -flexible scheduling -flexible leave -supportive modifications to the work environment -providing a mentor -changes in training...more
This was a great book for people looking to have a better understanding of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, bi-polar disorderThis was a great book for people looking to have a better understanding of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, bi-polar disorders of multiple varieties, panic, and seasonal affective disorder. It covers issues varying from relationships to work to disclosure to disability, and the last section has personal stories from people who deal with varying disorders on a daily basis. It isn't medical advice and does not include a lot of documented research to support the claims (in other words please see your doctor) but I found it to be helpful for the outsider who has no idea what these things are like. The way it is written, it seems to oscillate between assuming the reader is an outsider to these things and thinking maybe the reader is suffering and looking for affirmation. I think this was a smart way to write the book, because it could easily go either way, and often people who suspect they might suffer from depression find information in a less threatening way, like a book.
I was just looking to understand all of these things more. I have seen myself get frustrated at work and with friends because of behavior I now understand to be related to dealing with depression. I guess I felt that learning more about it would help, not because I'm interested in treating anyone or giving medical advice, but to increase empathetic and compassionate reactions. I didn't want to fake it, I wanted to understand. I get that from my mother, reading a book to try to understand. :)
I particularly liked the section that distinguished "I'm feeling depressed," a word people mean when they are feeling down or sad, from actual depression. This has always confused me and it helped to have it spelled out a bit more.
Little bits I marked:
"Ironically many people do not seek help for depression because they are too depressed... Sleep deprivation and anxiety merely add fuel to the fire, stoking an already precarious situation."
How to help - realize that isolation is often a symptom of depression (but people need connection, so you need to reach out to them), persistence pays off, protect yourself while remaining present, you can only do what you can do, don't be afraid to ask. (All of these come with a lot more information, but I found them useful. I often feel like I don't know if I should try to be there, to ask, etc., and I'm seeing that it is at least possible that a person dealing with depression may need me to at leas try. Probably not every time, this isn't a formula. Tricky, but there it is.)
"One of the realities about depression and anxiety disorders is that there are good days and bad days. The nature of the beast is that its course is unpredictable."
From the personal stories:
"Most of the time I feel like I am not honest with my friends; therefore I am not really a true friend at all. I feel like a mere stranger with them, and that only compounds the problem."
"The fact is many of my anxiety attacks happen when I'm trying to be overly responsible, trying too hard to be perfect, to satisfy the desires of others in place of my own, to achieve everything on an unwavering schedule. So being responsible often makes the anxiety worse."...more
This is a decent book exploring many aspects of teaching undergraduate research, assuming a partnership between faculty and librarians. Not all institThis 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....more
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.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. 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. ...more
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 preOrganizations 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."...more