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Turning the IT Dept. Outward


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A presentation given at the LITA Heads of IT Interest Group Meeting, ALA Midwinter Conference, Boston, MA. Jan 10, 2016

Published in: Technology

Turning the IT Dept. Outward

  1. 1. Turning the IT Dept. Outward Bohyun Kim | @bohyunkim Associate Director for Library Applications and Knowledge Systems, Health Sciences and Human Services Library University of Maryland, Baltimore LITA Heads of IT Interest Group Meeting, ALA Midwinter Conference, Boston, MA. Jan 10, 2016
  2. 2. Traditional Role of the IT Dept.  Behind the scene  Systems and applications  Web development  Hardware and Networking  Desktop and other tech equipment/device Support
  3. 3. Technology Offerings at a Library
  4. 4. Additional Work by the Library IT Dept.  Public computes, scanners, photocopiers, etc.  Technology-enabled classroom & meeting room support  Mobile device management for check-out  Multimedia Lab  Instructional technology  Emerging technologies  Makerspace; Maker programs
  5. 5. Technology Demand for the IT Dept.
  6. 6. Commonly Experienced Issues The short-staffed IT Dept. is unable to handle all requested projects satisfactorily. Difficulty in communication OR different focuses between IT dept. and Other depts.
  7. 7. Traditional IT Operation  Not necessarily creative or exploratory, rarely interfacing with patrons, relatively outside of frequent collaboration with other depts.  Not always user-centered / flexible / collaborative.  More focus on stable, secure, and proven operation.
  8. 8. Two Strategies  Add technology functions to a non-IT department  Duplicated efforts, Communication/Priority issues OR  Expand the role of the IT dept.  Change and uncertainty & How to transform an IT dept. to be more flexible, user-oriented, and more involved with front-facing projects and work.
  9. 9. ‘Outward-facing’ IT Dept. : The New Role and Expectations  More interaction with patrons and involvement in front- facing projects.  More creativity, flexibility, and proactive initiatives by the IT staff  Stronger focus on UX  Work in partnership and collaboration with other depts.  Broader understanding of the IT dept.’s work in the context of what the purpose of a library is.  Instruction for library patrons & Training for library staff  Design and implement new programs & services
  10. 10. Turing the IT Dept. Outward : At UMB HS/HSL  Makerspace (3D printing & 3D scanning)  Develop & conduct workshops, orientations, consultations  User-focused classroom renovation with the new AV system  UX improvement based upon feedback, how-to guides, training  Pi-wall (R&D)  Statistics dashboard (Proactive initiative)  Poster printing service (Collaboration with other depts.)
  11. 11. Challenges  Need for a broader perspective and different skill sets for the staff Interaction with patrons / Customer service Focus on users & their needs & priorities Instructional Skill (Teaching materials, Assessment & Feedback) Initiative, Creativity, Flexibility, Collaboration  Shared vision & Changing expectations
  12. 12. Kotter’s 8 Steps to Transform an Organization 1. Establish a Sense of Urgency 2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition 3. Create a Vision 4. Communicating the Vision 5. Empowering Others to Act on the Vision 6. Planning for and Creating for Short-term Wins 7. Consolidating Improvements and Producing Still More Change 8. Institutionalizing New Approaches Source: John P. Kotter, “Leading organizational change: Why transformational efforts fail” (2007).
  13. 13. Kotter, John P. “Accelerate!” Harvard Business Review, November 2012. te.
  14. 14. The Reality of Change Management : Far Messier  Re-orienting the IT Dept. while libraries themselves are changing and evolving.  Example observations from the Univ. of Utah Library  Persistent resistance to change  “The disconnect between their belief of not being heard and the fact that we made efforts to listen to them led us to speculate that the IT employees were confusing ‘being listened to’ with ‘being agreed with.’”  Leadership  Difficult conversations Source: Catherine B. Soehner, “Leading Change in Libraries: A Case Study.” Library Leadership & Management 29, no. 2 (January 20, 2015).
  15. 15. Making the Change Worthwhile  Libraries are changing; Changes in the library IT Dept. is only natural.  We need to think ahead and advocate for the changes that will best align the library IT Dept. with the changing role of libraries.  Qs for further research:  What kind of role would an IT department be expected to play as an outward-facing unit?  How would a mandate to be outward-facing change the traditional role of a library IT department?  What would be the best way for the head of an IT department to manage such a change?
  16. 16. Thank you! @bohyunkim Slides at rning-the-it-dept-outward