Library I.T.
Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders?:
A conversation
Introduction
Who is Craig? Who is Whitni?
@craigboman
Librarian (of
the systems
breed),
musician, 2016
ALA Emerging
Leader...
● Library IT: Underutilized
● We’re trying
● Leading Change: individually and collectively
Scope (n.)The range of one’s pe...
The Problem(s) - Underutilized
Library IT only as fixers…not as thinkers
Spend 90% of our jobs answering
help desk tickets & providing support.
Library IT skills not being utilized...
Job requirements request for experience on more
than just support skills.
BUT
Not everyone is looking through
the same scope.
Half full
Half empty
Recap
Library IT is underutilized, this is a PROBLEM
Job responsibilities are OVERSIGHT of employee
skills
We benefit from...
Hurdles to Library Collaboration
“A collaborative culture doesn’t mean that everything needs
to happen in a collaborative way. It means that individuals
wi...
Why it sucks…for everyone
Things that happened that made it suck, more.
Recap
NO COLLABORATION SUCKS for everyone
Underutilization leads to WASTED RESOURCES
We don’t know what we don’t know.
Heifetz and Balconies
Challenge for change
“It [successful change] is pursuing an
opportunity rather than running from a threat,
but you could s...
Disruptive Innovation
"The reason is that good management itself was the root
cause. Managers played the game the way it w...
Fostering collective creativity
Understanding organizational management
Orgs and Communication
Why it is hard. Really hard.
“No matter how sound the change may be...there
will always be a large part of the organizatio...
Why it matters.
Ways to challenge for change…
“Patience is not simply the
ability to wait - it's how we
behave while we're waiting.”
Joyce Meyer
Change
Now what?
Recap
Build a culture for change
Strategic Partners in Library Visioning
We all have a responsibility to lead change
“Henry Ford didn’t build cars, he built factories.”
References:
Crook, L., & Lowe-Wincentsen, D. (2011). Mid-career library and information professionals: A
leadership primer...
References:
Slide 14 Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/2aWEwBGSqR8
Slide 19 Image: Dilbert comic. http://www.quoteslike.c...
Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders
Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders
Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders
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Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders

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Talk given at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando June, 2016. Scope of the talk: Library staff employed in information technology (I.T.) departments are often seen as support staff, only providing services when something breaks. But what more can library IT staff do to support the mission of their libraries? In this presentation we will explore why library IT staff should maximize their ability to work across various library departments to collaboratively design new library services rather than being relegated to support staff. We will also explore how library IT staff may challenge traditional bureaucratic organization structures to lead change efforts.

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  • Intro
  • Craig
    Intro- Whitni and I would like to share a conversation we have been having for last few months. The purpose of this presentation is to share our conversation. A conversation around the increasing role library IT staff play in shaping the services of our libraries.

    Rather than have a presentation where we talk at you about this conversation, we want to bring you into the conversation. Which is why we want to open the floor up during our presentation for you to comment and participate. So that we can also present the material we’ve prepared and incorporate this discussion aspect, we’ve included recap slides throughout our slides as break points to recap material as well as opportunities for discussion.


  • Craig
    Intro
    We don’t have all the answers, nonetheless, we have some ideas we’d like to share.

    Supporting emotional issues around librarian coders rather than the technical problems of coding

    Library innovation as a process: or the metric for success is a moving target. Libraries must foster a culture of a learning to be truly innovative.

    Help people....
    Look at their individual behavior and their org's behavior and decide what they aren't doing well.
    From an IT perspective.
  • Craig
    Point 1 and 1.a

    “That’s not gonna work.”
    “Why would you do that?”
    “You know that’s broken, right?”

    We know that library IT has traditionally had a role collaborating with various library departments to resolve problems as they arise. This is library IT as a reactive agent. Like the Wright Brothers moved from building bicycles to building planes, while staying in the transportation business, how do we in LIbrary IT move from being underutilized reactionaries to being a strategic partner in the development of library services?

  • Whitni
    Point 1.b.i
    From a job posting description: Provide support to staff and public workstations. Primary responsibility of this position is to support staff and public workstations by investigating and resolving computer hardware and software problems of end users. Much of this work is done remotely with occasional need for physical visits to another area of the facility. (80%) - Fayetteville Public Library, AR

  • Whitni
    Point 1.b



    https://media.giphy.com/media/F7yLXA5fJ5sLC/giphy.gif
  • Whitni
    Point 1.b.ii
    A Line directly from a job description on an application for a Library IT employee.
    [Develop and maintain effective working relationships with departments. Interpret needs and design/create appropriate working software solutions according to library needs - Euclid Public Library, OH.]

    Often required to be “on call” in case things go wrong.
    Not included in library conversations on projects with IT responsibilities

  • Whitni
    Point 1.c
    What does IT have to offer to the library?
    LIT bring a perspective to the table regarding technology and how it is embedded within the library from a technical aspect
    LIT may bring a perspective of working with all library departments. Or we already know intimately what other departments are working on. We can use this bird’s eye view perspective to improve library services.
  • Whitni

  • Whitni
    2.b.i
    Discuss Perspective.
    --- LIT may have some really good ideas for improving library services, but often they may not have the support from the library
  • Whitni
    Recap of point 1
  • Craig
    2.a
    Technical Hurdles
    We want to but can’t. (Twilio/legal, lack of money)
    Organizational Hurdles
    We can but we won’t.
    Inability to convince others how new service supports libraries’ mission and vision, even though you know it does
    Inability to show that your understanding of the problem is sufficient to move forward with a project.
    Inability to reach compromise between departments
    Not being included in beginning/planning stages of new library projects, that would require use of their skills/time later down the road.

    Types of Technicals hurdles


    Types of Organizational hurdles
  • Whitni
    2.b.i

    Talk about how individuals can push to collaborate across departments but that the space needs to exist. That it’s important for managers to create that space that allows for the hybrid work on projects.

  • Whitni
    2.c

    “Everyone” includes whom?
    What we know a

    Under-utilizing professional staff in IT, many of whom have an MLIS
    Not being included sends the message that you don’t matter
    In a professional context that is drastically shaped by technology, having a perspective IT in the Library is more than just beneficial, it’s necessary
  • Craig Watson/IBM/NCR-missing opportunities to monetize
    2.c
    Strategic planning (w/out library IT)
    Understanding the amount of hours that could have been saved…
    May end up buying applications you could have built or re-purposed internally, primarily because they feel they’ll get better service than outsourcing support to library IT, non-IT staff may end up supporting software they don’t have the necessary technical skills to manage.
    Or buying a discovery system supported by reference libs, who don’t know how to properly support their new system.
    Lib IT knows the right technical questions to ask a vendor in a demo. “We can call their vendor BS” (W Watkins at Boston Tech Meetup)
  • Whitni - Recap of Point 2

    *make a point on WE == being libraries don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Craig
    Point 3
    Heifetz (not to be confused with the violinist Jascha Heifetz) and Balconies - From an individual standpoint, your lacking of empathy for others in your organization can greatly hinder your ability to predict the impact your changes may make on those staff.


    Book: Leadership Without Easy Answers by Ronald Heifetz
  • Craig- Potentially ask audience on why they would build authority prior to sharing my thoughts on building authority.

    Building authority - How would you build your library authority?
    You can get authority that people give you or you can have authority by simply showing that you know what you’re talking about and building that trust with others.
    Don’t let your job responsibilities limit your actions
    If you are passionate about something, do it.
    *Lack of tenure can be hinderance to your building organizational authority.
    This often relates to career envy (note by Doreen Sullivan in Mid-Career Library and Information Professionals
    Thinking outside the brain box.
    Increase Awareness
    What are other libraries doing that we need to be doing?


  • Craig
    Limits of traditional management
    Looking at traditional management through the lens of disruptive innovation leads to stagnation can lead to stagnation in creativity; stagnation in innovation. This is being used at a time when we need the most creative and innovative library services and library systems to lead us through these increasingly
  • Craig
    Individual Leadership not as visioning, but rather as collaborative process of fostering collective creativity and “creative genius” (Hill, 2014)
    Creating a learning culture (Senge, 1990)
    “...organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

    As you can see from the slide, creativity is messy and sometimes wasteful.
  • Craig
    3.b Intro to Org Change

    To understand change in organizations, we must understand how organizations change and why organizations change. How organizations change is obviously slow, but why orgs change is based on a variety of factors, both internal and external.

    What we know about traditional organization and traditional management structures”

    We know...
    libraries are constantly changing
    Traditional management styles are evolving (Weber, Fayol, Taylor, Hawthorne, Flat management, Agile ?)
    Are libraries changing their traditional management structures quickly enough to keep up with the changes in technology?
    Or are we (libraries) impeding the progress of librarians by clinging to traditional management structures?


  • Craig
    3.b Insert Kowalski Communication Feedback loop from his book
    Be sure to mention how all libraries need to participate in a communication feedback loop which includes not only our students and patrons who visit our libraries but also in communication with the communities in which we exist, even if they aren’t stakeholders.

    Aspects of organizational change
    communication/lack of (Kowalski, 2007)
    -Need for feedback cycle with our stakeholders
    individuals resistant to change
    organizational cultures resistant to change
    preference for status quo
    org structures resistant to change
    Bureaucratic structures
  • Handoff slide
    Include slide about org structures or talking about change
  • Craig

    3.b Building from the Kowalski communication feedback loop

    Pushing for change in an organization that has not recognized its need for many years, makes the pushing not only scary but necessary and difficult.
    What makes it hard?
    -Staff view your involvement as an invasion and not as a benefit
    -Librarians view your input as not “expert” level and thus not important
  • Whitni

    Ways to challenge change and why it matters. (find new home for the following

    Library IT must fully engage IT staff if they want to retain top talent
    IT needs to be at the front of the strategic planning and decision making because the role libraries are playing in our users lives is digital and access to information. This is being leveraged through technology, the is supported and put into place by IT. Having IT at involved in the front runner will be able to bring from the start whether a certain workflow, interested piece of technology to implement, etc will actually be an option. IT will be able to bring to the table the technical sides of the concerns that librarians may have -- and their knowledge and perspective on things like security and encryption and cloud vs in house and support will be different and different is what we need. We have to approach technology from the technical as well as the user’s aspect. The user is both patrons and librarians who teach it and use it to serve our patrons. We are very integral to the success of the digital (virtual) movement and evolving of the library and together IT and Librarians will be able to provide a much fuller picture to the challenges we face.
  • Whitni
    Ask to be on a library committee
    Teach while you support
    Share ideas while troubleshooting -- if you think something could be done better, say something
    Meet with department staff-- call your OWN meetings when projects overlap
  • Whitni
    Transition slide into takeaways and what we can do to push for change and collaboration across departments (next slide is examples)
  • Whitni

    Bring theoretical back to practical. Make sure to include more than one example for one of both.

    Do we have any (personal or not) examples of challenging the traditional bureaucratic org structures that lead to change?

    Collaboration
    Working to build better workflows with public services (Circulation and ILL)
    Work with cataloging to understand how libraries would like records to link together (or not) or maybe automate authority records workflows.
    Designing the OPAC (input from public services & reference librarians & IT to provide perspective on both what the users usually ask for AND best practices for web design)
    Deaccessioning/weeding projects -- Can IT provide scripts to automate some manual tasks that librarians may have to do otherwise?
    LIT working with reference librarians to provide a coding workshop around Ada Lovelace day and wikipedia-edit-a-thon
    Selection of hardware (scanners, printers, etc) that are used at Circulation and Tech Services work with Librarians, working with the librarians
    Documentation -- best practices from both viewpoints, in saving/storing and creating.
    Frontend website changes, usability testing
    Content creation & documentation efforts
    Strategic Planning

    Discuss the benefits of IT inclusion to Library stuff.
  • Craig
    Don’t let your lack of authority limit your libraries’ potential.
    Although we have discussed the need for libraries to change to provide better services, its important to emphasize the importance of listening to our patrons and our communities. t


    Photo rec: https://unsplash.com/photos/E0Spm6XXn2Y

    5 characteristics of a learning organization (Senge)
    Systems Thinking
    Personal Mastery
    Mental Models
    Shared vision
    Team learning
  • Craig
    Yes libraries are responsible for providing information services, but more importantly we are responsible for building the best computer systems and human systems which produce the best library services.
  • Library I.T.: Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders

    1. 1. Library I.T. Information Technologists or Information Thought-leaders?: A conversation
    2. 2. Introduction Who is Craig? Who is Whitni? @craigboman Librarian (of the systems breed), musician, 2016 ALA Emerging Leader. @_whitni Pianist. Colored jeans enthusiast. Lefty. Drives a MINI named Sebastian.
    3. 3. ● Library IT: Underutilized ● We’re trying ● Leading Change: individually and collectively Scope (n.)The range of one’s perceptions, thoughts, or actions.
    4. 4. The Problem(s) - Underutilized
    5. 5. Library IT only as fixers…not as thinkers Spend 90% of our jobs answering help desk tickets & providing support.
    6. 6. Library IT skills not being utilized... Job requirements request for experience on more than just support skills. BUT
    7. 7. Not everyone is looking through the same scope.
    8. 8. Half full Half empty
    9. 9. Recap Library IT is underutilized, this is a PROBLEM Job responsibilities are OVERSIGHT of employee skills We benefit from more PERSPECTIVES
    10. 10. Hurdles to Library Collaboration
    11. 11. “A collaborative culture doesn’t mean that everything needs to happen in a collaborative way. It means that individuals with ideas and initiatives have the space and possibilities to connect and find internal and hybrid communities in which they can grow.” J-P De Clerck Lack of cross-dept collaboration
    12. 12. Why it sucks…for everyone
    13. 13. Things that happened that made it suck, more.
    14. 14. Recap NO COLLABORATION SUCKS for everyone Underutilization leads to WASTED RESOURCES We don’t know what we don’t know.
    15. 15. Heifetz and Balconies
    16. 16. Challenge for change “It [successful change] is pursuing an opportunity rather than running from a threat, but you could see both.” Phil Davis
    17. 17. Disruptive Innovation "The reason is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it was supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource- allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies." Clay Christensen
    18. 18. Fostering collective creativity
    19. 19. Understanding organizational management
    20. 20. Orgs and Communication
    21. 21. Why it is hard. Really hard. “No matter how sound the change may be...there will always be a large part of the organization which does not perceive these values in the same way and, therefore, considers the change unwarranted and a reflection on the leadership's ability to make ‘reasonable’ decisions.” Bruce Henderson
    22. 22. Why it matters.
    23. 23. Ways to challenge for change…
    24. 24. “Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting.” Joyce Meyer Change
    25. 25. Now what?
    26. 26. Recap Build a culture for change Strategic Partners in Library Visioning We all have a responsibility to lead change
    27. 27. “Henry Ford didn’t build cars, he built factories.”
    28. 28. References: Crook, L., & Lowe-Wincentsen, D. (2011). Mid-career library and information professionals: A leadership primer. (Chandos Publishing Online.) Slide 5 Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/86/First_flight2.jpg Slide 7 GIF: https://media.giphy.com/media/F7yLXA5fJ5sLC/giphy.gif Slide 10 Image: World Class Traffic Jam https://flic.kr/p/cmJa3q Slide 11 Image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Classic_shot_of_the_ENIAC.jpg Slide 13 image: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/- dijM0IFm1Z4/U2kG6FgngUI/AAAAAAAAC8A/ky57QW1PUXU/s1600/Me+You+Us+Collaboration+F inal+Picture.png
    29. 29. References: Slide 14 Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/2aWEwBGSqR8 Slide 19 Image: Dilbert comic. http://www.quoteslike.com/images/1898/change-is-hard-online- comics-funny-dilbert-102912-comics-strips-comic-DNSsJ4-quote.jpg Slide 21 Image: Change https://flic.kr/p/shmPZ8 Slide 30 Quote: https://medium.com/the-modern-team/lazy-leadership-8ba19e34f959#.wg776z1jl Slide 30 Image: http://priceworldplymouth.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/5/2/13522823/823144_orig.jpg

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