Where Do You Think Y O U R E Going


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The Baby Boom retirement wave has begun! Their well-honed reference skills and deep knowledge of the collection's traditional resources don't have to disappear. As libraries face the departure of staff with many years of experience, how can we target and retain some of the knowledge they have amassed? Come and hear some ideas and share in a discussion on how to keep the gold in the library's intellectual vault.

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  • MEGOverview & introductionsSystem details:TLCPL is a county system and reflects the merger of 3 systems into one during the 1970sCurrently comprised of 18 branches and a bookmobileBeen around since 1836 – huge, old collection, predates the University of ToledoTraditionally a hierarchical culture but with retirements/budget cuts, we have to change and innovate or die has become true for usRetaining the best of what we are as we move forward has become a focus
  • AMYThe point is to identify who is valuable in your system regardless of occupation.Employees are the greatest asset we have and the one we spend the most time and money on in any given year.Actual process should begin pre-retirement, but the info gathering should be career-long. Ideally, the key strengths of an employee shouldn’t be a surprise upon retirement (or after retirement, when they’re missed!)
  • AMYMy goal today is to inspire thought and effort across the profession, on making sure we don’t lose valuable pieces of librarianship due to upcoming retirements.
  • AMYInspired this program. Here’s what makes him valuable to the system and here’s what I dread losing.If cloning were possible, I’d put him at the front of the Librarianship line.
  • AMYRefer to bibliography (online handout) for source material!When I originallyproposed this program, it was based on a lot of theoretical retirees. I literally looked at Brian one day and suddenly thought, “someday he’s going to retire!”. Since then, several co-workers have retired, and the importance of this endeavor has become more evident than ever. The focus of this program is not on keeping the “old ways” of doing things because they are old, but instead, focus on keeping what you already have that is VALUABLE to your system, and what can be a tremendous asset as you go forward.
  • AMYA lot of “new” librarians will be entering the workforce with very different skills, and would most likely benefit to being exposed to some of the more traditional elements of librarianship.
  • AMYI was extremely fortunate to be in library school in the mid 90’s: --web was first exploding --took great online searching classes from Joe Janes and see the beta versions of web browsers --also had several very traditional librarianship classes, and got a fairly good balance of bothWhen I started my career: -- I was able to bring in a lot of new skills to share, while furiously absorbing what my co-workers could teach me. --I was lucky enough to be able to work for several years in a “deep and narrow” subject department, learning from Brian and our manager of the department, both of whom had worked there for many years.Aaah, good times!
  • AMYAround the year 2000 –capital building project let to renovation at Main6 subject departments were merged into 2 large departmentsUpcoming retirements will see the end of the “deep and narrow” eraRecent budget crises have literally reorganized the system
  • MEGUnderstand the area and have cultural context to understand what should remain in the collectionBalance new materials with historic collection – important lasting resources
  • MEGMake sure latent talents do no remain hidden – encourage initiative at every opportunity.Rewards don’t have to be monetary or even very expensive – casual days are popular, give someone a personal day for the best new idea each year, movie tickets, there’s a lot we’d do for a selection of sugary treats.
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  • AMYWe need to make pre-emptive efforts to combat these tendencies, career-long.Proprietary = only I can do this!! Vs. Luddite = hot potato/ “not my job” syndrome. Example: Children’s Library and the ONE person willing to do PR stuff.
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  • AMYKeep it basic here!!!
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  • AMYWe are a nitpicky profession, and keeping the details of how/why we do things the way we do in one place can be immensely helpful.Who is your moldy oldie” expert, who understands and uses your archives content, card and vertical files content, special collections? Is there somewhere knowledge of these materials can be shared?Archives, card/vertical files are now becoming more valuable – often this info is not duplicated on the web. Make sure their value is not lost with the retirement of those who put these resources together in the first place.
  • AMY1899 Shipwreck book – by far the most useful tool for students doing physics projects“History of the Great Lakes” by John Brandt MansfieldWe just discovered it is full-text online (and not on google books!!) at a great web site:The Internet Text Archive (www.archive.org/details/texts)
  • AMYUseful for us and for other people covering our reference desk.
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  • MEGWhere art and science meet. The distinct flavor of the collection is determined by what you keep.
  • MEGWe do them every other year. Every year would be redundant. The last piece: how do we make this section better becomes a plan for advancement and figuring out goals for the following year.
  • Replace page 2 with Sue’s filled out page 1
  • AMYWe have had about 1/2 of our branch management turn over within the last couple of years.Our CIP project is useful in making connections betweenpatrons, and keeping us up to date on important community resources.
  • AMYWe have trained and encouraged initiative for these employees for 30(+) years. Staff resources are far too valuable to “forget”.Full circle approach helps us all respect/appreciate the things our staff members contribute, and with time this becomes a part of the corporate culture. Helping staff members realize that they have a legacy to leave the library is how we hold people accountable to making the best use of their skills and time. We need to identify beacons/touchstones of service, knowledge, connections that each employee develops over the years, and do our best to make sure we are good custodians of the most valuable resources we have.
  • Where Do You Think Y O U R E Going

    1. 1. Where do you think YOU’RE going?<br />Retaining Institutional Knowledge of <br />Soon-to-be-Retirees<br />Presenters: Meg Delaney and Amy Hartman<br />meg.delaney@toledolibrary.orgamy.hartman@toledolibrary.org <br />Toledo-Lucas County Public Library<br />
    2. 2. Who(m) are we talking about?<br />All employees: pages, librarians, clerks, custodians, F&O, Finance, HR….<br />Those within 3-6 months of retirement, who have signed papers, and are actively planning to leave.<br />
    3. 3. But our focus today…<br />(This horrific image was amazingly easy to find)<br />
    4. 4. Case study: B.N.<br />eidetic memory<br />Levelhead extraordinaire<br />Enthusiasm<br />Mentoring<br />King of Weeding<br />Genuine curiosity<br />Chaser<br />Pack rat (that pocket!)<br />Union work<br />
    5. 5. So Long, Farewell…<br /><ul><li>The decade beginning in 2010: 45% of today's librarians will have reached age 65
    6. 6. Peak years for retirements: 2015-2019
    7. 7. Some departures you dread, others… not so much
    8. 8. Resources are not valuable because they are old.</li></ul>Source: Lynch et al, 2005: 28 and Lynch, 1999<br />
    9. 9. We live in interesting times…<br />Changes to librarianship over the past 10 years have been massive.<br />Changes in Library Schools (the most obvious being that they aren’t “library schools” anymore) over the past 10 years have been even more massive.<br />Now is the time to evaluate intrinsic resources and skills, and think about how to preserve/pass on value(s) to incoming staff.<br />
    10. 10. Jump in the WayBack Machine<br />1990s: World Wide Web begins viral growth –<br />1993 first major browser, Mosaic, introduced<br /> Netscape in 1994, Yahoo & AltaVista in 1995 <br />Google in 1998<br />Great time to be a new librarian – exposure to best of both traditional and cutting edge electronic worlds.<br />
    11. 11. Mind Merge @ TLCPL<br />New addition in 2000 led us to combine subject departments.<br />Deep subject knowledge merged into 2 mega departments.<br />Upcoming retirements will see the dissipation of the “deep and narrow” era, where subject knowledge was extensive.<br />Recent budget crises have reorganized our entire system.<br />
    12. 12. So what’s the answer? <br />…to bridge the gap between the disappearing traditional knowledge and the E-knowledge (Web 2.0, etc.) of incoming librarians?<br />…to make sure service standards remain high in spite of the “good enough” attitude of most web users?<br />…to weed materials judiciously and appropriately?<br />
    13. 13. The perfect answer:<br />The Vulcan mind-meld.<br />
    14. 14. Till Then: Plan Ahead<br />Keep track of who is rotating towards retirement or relocation.<br />Keep track of valuable skills:<br />Yearly evaluations should highlight these from the manager’s perspective & the employee’s perspective.<br />Encourage initiative – “Free the Genie” <br />Encourage collaboration to avoid specialty silos, both voluntary and involuntary<br />Reward best practices and best new ideas verbally and tangibly (but beware irony; sincerity counts) <br />
    15. 15. Evaluations:<br />The 4 questions:<br />What did you do in the last year?<br />What are you most proud of?<br />What do you want to do next year (goals)?<br />How can I (as a supervisor) help you?<br />
    16. 16. Free the Genie<br />Came about because we had many new hires and work culture had changed to where people didn’t want to wait to make their voices heard. Traditionally, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for new staff to have a great deal of input.<br />Affirms that everyone in the system has a voice. <br />Part of creating a contributing culture. <br />Keeps ideas flowing and prevents stagnation. <br />You can’t be mad at “them” if you contribute to policies.<br />
    17. 17. Freeing the Genie<br />Gives staff members opportunities to offer ideas and brainstorm ways to make best use of library resources.<br />Can be focused: <br />Staff with fewer than 5 years in the system<br />Staff with more than 25 years<br />Support staff<br />Staff with experience in other organizations/professions<br />Needs to have measurable results, so effectiveness and wise use of staff time is apparent. <br />
    18. 18. Specialty Silos <br />Limiting valuable, very specific knowledge/skills to only one person<br />Music, history, etc.<br />Television, radio PR<br />Computer assistance<br />Encourage collaboration<br />Proprietary vs. Luddite<br />Find ways to encourage/reward folks who open up to sharing or push boundaries and step out of comfort zone.<br />
    19. 19. Rewards<br />Spotlights (monthly or quarterly, all year long)<br />Individual and team awards<br />Legendary Service (yearly) Awards<br />Taken from Spotlight nominations<br />Evaluated by the Staff Recognition Committee<br />Rewards don’t have to be monetary or even very expensive – casual days are popular, give someone a personal day for the best new idea each year, movie tickets, there’s a lot we’d do for a selection of sugary treats.<br />
    20. 20. Narrowing it Down<br />Skills – personal talents, things we can “do”<br />Knowledge– particularly of collections and resources<br />Connections – Who we know within the profession, and in the community at large.<br />
    21. 21. Skills<br />Look within system to figure out best practices. Who are your experts? What can be learned from them before departure? Mentoring newbies/peers?<br />Reference interviews<br />Story time, children’s programming<br />Technology instruction/handouts<br />Graphics and displays<br />Public Speaking<br />Book Groups<br />Adult programming<br />
    22. 22. Keep programming notes<br />Best practices, career-long. <br />What didn’t work and why?<br />Sure bet programs.<br />If we could only do one, which?<br />What resources/supplies do we have that can be reused? What should always be on hand?<br />What has been useful on evaluation forms?<br />We use the intranet and a new wiki to share info.<br />Avoids duplication of effort, maximizes preparation efforts.<br />
    23. 23. Knowledge<br />Procedures – Handy Folders can help<br />Handling gifts/local authors<br />Processing procedures (genres, special collections)<br />Any other “special” task done for staff or patrons.<br />Acquiring/scrounging supplies<br />WEEDING–duplicates and especially the dreaded… LAST COPIES.<br />Collection Development -- Scope Statements<br />Find a way to share system-wide (Intranet wiki, procedures manual)<br />
    24. 24. Reading Lists/Favorite Authors<br />“Handy Folder”, compiled in 1999 before merger. Constantly being updated to keep relevant.<br />Best authors by war/subject<br />List of best historical atlases, especially for genealogy<br />Best series by subject (history of civilization, etc.)<br />Best books that took forever to discover (the one with the blueprint for the trebuchet!)<br />Linked call numbers (military history & medieval history)<br />Authors to suggest for armchair historians<br />
    25. 25. Examples of Handy Folder contents…<br />
    26. 26. Best Weeding Tool EVER!<br />Pencil in thoughts on importance.<br />Presence of Book Review Digest blurbs (10-20 years 1940s-1960s) is tremendously helpful.<br />Pencil in a slash w/ year for each viewing of moldy-oldy ref materials.<br />
    27. 27. Do books still have value?<br />Make sure your best people are weeding.<br />Who/what determines value?<br />Appearance? Circ? Copyright?<br />Number of WorldCat holdings?<br />Weeding quotas to be filled during our oodles of off-desk time?<br />Scope: Beware neglecting/overemphasizing “the obvious” –what is important now might not be so in 5-10 years and vice versa. <br />
    28. 28. Collection Snapshots <br />Help focus knowledge/thinking on a particular area of a collection<br />Can apply to print only or to one or more formats, depending on the needs of the library<br />Can be tailored to fit <br />Can be completed by anyone at any level<br />
    29. 29.
    30. 30. Community Connections<br />Cannot replicate every personal connection, but at least keep track of the most important:<br />Reading groups, program sponsors and performers, email lists of program attendees<br />Other librarians (Popular Culture library at BGSU)<br />Educators<br />Media Resources (newspapers, local news)<br />Friendly (and not so friendly) Donors<br />Legislators and community organizations<br />Community Information Project (CIP)<br />
    31. 31. Checking in…<br />What else is worth salvaging? <br />Has this inspired ideas from your system/experience to share with the group?<br />
    32. 32. In conclusion…<br />meg.delaney@toledolibrary.orgamy.hartman@toledolibrary.org <br />Important to evaluate what is valuable to YOUR system.<br />We’ve shared our strategies for ways in which skills,knowledge, and community connections can be articulated before current staff moves on…<br />…creating a foundation to build upon as we continue our increasing, and accelerated, dramatic exponential changes.<br />We hope we’ve inspired others to make sure valuable traditions/knowledge stay within the library community as a whole.<br />