Categories
career Library Leadership

Library Metrics

If your library runs on a fiscal year, June through July, have you prepared your annual report? What library metrics should you provide the Board?  Read on for tips to create an informative report full of the most impactful information.

Digital Checkouts

With the pandemic, digital checkouts have surged in libraries across the country. Provide your stakeholders statistics on eBook, DVD and music downloads. These items along with magazines are the four most popular circulating digital items. Don’t forget to add the new vendors from 2020 or other anomalies to explain large data swings.

Door Count

The number of people coming through the doors has decreased due to the public health situation. Including this number is totally up to you, but it might not be pretty. You could include new partnerships or other outreach metrics in place of the door count. Safe to say, physical visits to the library might never recover if we need to live with Covid long term.

As a leader, you need to begin to get creative about bringing folks back in. Will large public events or annual festivals drive library traffic post pandemic?  Each community is different and finding the sweet spot for public engagement is your job as library director.

Collections

What new vendors did the library add or delete?  Please include all the collections to provide an accurate overview of your library’s offerings and impact on the community. I’ve worked in library where DVDs were the number one circulating item. Other libraries had a large children’s picture book collection that drove the checkouts due to higher family populations. Tailor the report and metrics to highlight the collections’ strengths while acknowledging possible gaps.

Programs

Programming will be your library’s time to shine. Despite closures, virtual programming has taken off at most libraries nationwide and globally. Edit a bit from a virtual storytime to present during the Board meeting and share how the library was successful.

Be sure to collect data regarding re-shares along with audience size in the initial posting.  Keep a digital archive of the library programs to improve next year. Consider regular promotions of  library programs on social media platforms to reach your potential audience. This will drive customers to the building too.

Format

If you have a choice of format, I’d recommend a simple infographic. Keeping the library information to one page will keep it simple, easy to read, and easy to explain.  Finally, a variety of pictures and statistics also keeps the eye interested and readers engaged.

However, whatever format you choose, keep the report relatable to the average person by avoiding library jargon (like “circs.”) Be sure to have fun reviewing your year. You are the best person to tell the library’s story and advocate in the community. Best of luck!

For more leadership tips check out: KathyHusserTempe.com

Categories
career Library Jobs

Prepare for an Interview

With the pandemic still at the forefront of our lives, interviewing for library jobs are being held virtually. You need to be ready to bring your skills and personality through the screen and get that job!

Research the Job

To prepare for your interview reviewing the library’s website and the job duties is necessary. Topics to be familiar with are the communities the library serves and popular programs. You will have a better understanding of your role if hired too.

Organize your thoughts and bring forward in the interview what you know about the library and the organization. You need to think about what value you can bring with your experience and passion for the job. Have a final few questions in mind. You show the interviewers what you know about their workplace and the time you took to understand the culture and their needs.

Practice your answers

Practice makes permanent, a mentor and teacher once shared with me. Anticipate the interview questions, or at least some of them.  Collaboration stories, rising from a problem or failure, handling public complaints will all be questions you should be prepared to answer.  If you don’t have real-world library experience, provide examples from your volunteer work. Student activities or stories from your personal life, like volunteering, also provide solid examples.

Making your stories personal, concise (no more than 2 minutes per answer) and appropriate for the question, will give you an advantage.  You need to make yourself memorable to the interview panel. The more you practice, the more natural and relaxed you will come across in your interview.

Be yourself

Finally, let your natural personality come through during your time with the interviewers. You are determining if the library and organization are a good fit for your needs, just like they are sizing you up. Ask at least two questions, not answered during the interview. Think about specifically the job, work culture or unfamiliar responsibilities you might need clarifying.

This shows your interest and initiative to understand what the library needs.  Outreach, children’s story times, working with teens are topics you can expand upon once you are aware of the job tasks. Your true self will shine through. Good Luck and just know the library needs you as much as you need this job, so relax and be yourself!

Follow me for more career and living well tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Digital Marketing in Libraries

The internet and digital marketing have advantages for libraries. Read on for a couple of tricks to increase your library’s exposure and customer base. Libraries are here to stay, and social media will help bring customers back into the building.

Social Media

It’s a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram driven world. This means that marketing your library on these social media platforms is essential. That’s true for any business. Post pictures of programs, customers, and be sure to use hashtags every post. Post photos of the building, bookstore, and community events at your library. Keep up with various literary events such as Banned Books Week or National Library Week.

Email Marketing

Set up a mailing list and then blast out newsletters and other information to teachers, legislators, and other local officials. Customers need to be reminded the library is in the community.  Furthermore, reach out to new customers interested in various events at your library. Grow those customers and sign them up for a library card!

Use Videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and photos sell. We live in a video-saturated world.  Make short videos about the programs at your library.  Storytimes and children’s programs have the biggest audiences at libraries, so publicize the most popular.

When doing this or taking pictures, it is important to use a proper high-quality HD-capable camera. With all the images we encounter in our daily lives now, we are quite good at telling HD from non-HD photos. The latter are now judged as inferior by default. Go for the quality and make an impression.

Event Marketing

What’s the next big event that you’re hosting at your library? Whatever it is, you want to use that to market your library big time. What’s more, you need to make sure that as many people know about it as possible. Use the tools above, employ flyers and banners, advertise to schools, and use other traditional event planning measures to get as much exposure as possible.

All this and more can help you get your library the publicity it needs and deserves

 

Categories
Library Leadership

Libraries and Programming

We have lived through the last two years in pandemic mode with many changes including library services. We have seen service models change and new programs emerge. The needs of communities are at the forefront of these changes, along with health and safety. So, what do programs look like now, with COVID-19 and health risks still in the foreground for many libraries? Let’s look at some successes.

Programs Outdoors

If you are lucky to live in a climate where in-person library programs can be held outside, patrons can have a new service model outdoors. Customers enjoy storytimes, school-age crafts, or book clubs social distanced for safety. However, programs are very engaging. If your climate is too warm or snowy, then an alternative has been a hybrid format. Producing online programs streamed via Zoom or prerecorded. This has become popular with many libraries.

Prerecorded Library Programs

Other libraries have great success and attendance with recording programs and posting the links. Posting within a Facebook post is also a great way to host a pre-recorded program. The advantage of prerecorded story times is easy editing and a way for the librarian to overcome nerves. Having your program recorded allows the flexibility to fix mistakes before posting. The link is available to update easily as your library changes. Plus the needs of your audience will change too.

Online Library Gatherings

Finally, many public libraries have adapted to all online programs due to funding constraints or public health concerns. Whether prerecorded or live every week at a predetermined time, virtual programs are the safest way to provide literacy and learning to a community. However, the downside is the staff’s reliance of a live audience for immediate feedback.

You also must have a team that has the skills and technology available to produce engaging library programs. Your library staff will need to have a solid handle on the audience they’re serving and the devices available. Have a reliable solution available if technology fails. Furthermore, bandwidth might be an issue and  would be a burden for your library users during online programs. Be sure to have solid solutions in place for every hiccup that could happen.

Categories
career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Libraries and Entrepreneurs

library-leadership

Many people dream of becoming entrepreneurs. They look forward to being in control of their own destiny and love building a career. Entrepreneurs are motivated and driven, and they aren’t afraid of hard work. The question is, where can you find resources to help get started? The answer is your local library!

Libraries Provide Access 

There are many research and reference tools for entrepreneurs at public libraries. Online tools that would cost a fortune if you had to purchase them yourself are free. Libraries have resources such as Reference USA, Regional Business News, and Business Source Premier for free.  These databases normally would cost thousands of dollars to access. Public libraries allow free access anytime with a library card and computer. Check to see if your city has multiple library systems, to access different subscriptions from each library. 

Free Patent Information

Checking out a patent or idea before moving forward is an entrepreneur’s first step. It is important to make sure that someone else doesn’t hold a trademark or patent on your idea. Libraries provide patent check resources and trademark information for free. This way, an idea is vetted before investing heavily.  Avoid legal problems down the road by checking out your idea. 

Check Out the Competition

Researching your competition before you start your business is also important. Entrepreneurs want know everything about potential competitors.  Furthermore, the library offers free information on marketing, demographics, and sales volume for the competition. Information that is invaluable for your idea to be successful.  The Reference USA database is the best source to help you gain an edge with your own company.

Raising Capital

Finally, raising capital in any business is essential. You will need to find investors or angel funders.  Libraries have all the information you need to begin the search. You will find resources and people to help you create a pitch, a logo, and more. You can find ideas on how to name your product, and you can learn how to speak in public. Finally, you can learn how to approach investors and sell them on your idea. The public library should be the first stop for any start up, and all the information is free!  Best of luck on your new venture.

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Jobs

Tips for Getting a Job at a Library

When you apply for a job, it is a good idea to know what to expect. Working in a library is a great job. Preparing for your interview so that you can stand out from other applicants is very important. Continue reading for tips on what hiring managers look for and how to get your first job at a library.

Library Organizations Provide Experience

Think about the skills you need as a librarian and get some experience from other organizations. There are many different groups to provide volunteer service. You want to gain experience that you can relate and tell a story in your interview. For example, the American Library Association is a great resource to learn more about library careers and jobs. The site provides information on training and links for more in-depth local volunteer opportunities.

Research the Job

It is important to learn as much as you can about the job you apply for in the library. Positions vary due to the amount of public service or contact you may need such as cash handling experience.  Visit the library’s website and research past programs, the online calendar, and any meeting minutes. Learn as much as you can about the goals for the library and how your future job would support initiatives.  In addition, researching the library’s website will help you understand the partners and programs offered. This research provides even more conversation starters for your future interview. You could also visit the library beforehand to get a feel for the work culture and fit for your needs. Observing library staff in action will give you valuable insights into what to expect from a possible job there.

Complete Application

Your application should be thorough and cover all the experience you have accumulated. Any work or volunteer time that relates to libraries should be listed, such as customer service and cash handling. In addition, make sure that you include a cover letter and your resume addressed to the hiring manager. This detail could make you stand out from other applicants who do not include these personalized touches. Also, make sure to have a friend or family member proofread your application to ensure there are no mistakes. Proper grammar is also very important to make a good first impression on the hiring manager.

Finally, run through a practice interview with a friend who understands the job and your skills. You will have more confidence and less nerves if you practice in a conversational style. Good luck!

 

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Improving Employee Engagement



With the pandemic changing how we live our lives such as remote work environments or new meeting platforms, engaging your employees is so important. Leaders that connect with their employees regularly with solid communication will keep up morale in their teams. Offering new opportunities to expand skillsets and keeping lines of communication open are vital to boost morale and engagement. Doing this regularly in your library will enable your team to thrive even in the most unpredictable and changing times.

Regular Communication

Having set library staff meetings is a must in our changing work environment especially with in person programming and physical circulation numbers down. During the pandemic lockdown normal routines and work schedules were altered. So, expressing a clear message of what’s going on in your organization helps dispel rumors when no information is present. Clear communication keeps all your stakeholders informed and on the same page. Even in unpredictable times, telling your staff what’s going on is important to keep the lines of communication open and questions and answers flowing. When information is not shared timely or not at all, people tend to create their own answers or share misinformation.

Employee Engagement

Besides regular meetings, having a planned day or even one afternoon to schedule in house training is very important to keep up the skills of your library staff and more importantly keep up morale. Having few if any customers come into the library for more than a year, hit staff hard. Many organizations are still rebounding. Some libraries describe Staff Training Day as the one time all the employees from their entire team can come together. It is an opportunity to network and learn something new to help their patrons and community. Think about having the staff plan the events of the day and act as trainers to help build professional development. Plan an entire day of learning for your librarians and staff to help increase engagement immediately with the team.

Be present

Just because you can work remotely doesn’t mean you should. Being present and seen by your library team is the most important factor to consider when increasing morale. Think about your team of library workers who must show up every day to help customers. Being present for your team and walking the floor shows you care about them and your library community.

Remember to check back every few weeks for other tips to help manage and engage your team! Kathy Husser’s travel blog also has great tips for your next getaway.

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship

Leadership at Work

Gaining trust and building influence at work are important leadership skills and for the success of your library team. You will manage conflict better and be respected when hard decisions come down. During meetings, you are more likely to be heard and acknowledged when you’ve established a solid reputation with results based on integrity. Gaining influence is a skill and it takes experience. Continue reading to set the foundation for being an effective leader and influencer in your organization.

Start by Building Trust

Trust is a critical component of influence within your team and organization. When trust is the standard in the work culture, employees will listen to you and respect your opinion. Staff will know that changes or tasks are necessary without pushing back when trust exists. You cultivate trust by having open and honest conversations with your co-workers and leaders. Asking questions of your team and walking the library floor are good ways to connect. Honesty and open communication is the cornerstone to a healthy work team.

Be Consistent

You will build influence when you are consistent. People want their leaders to be predictable and follow through with tasks. You should be consistent with staff meetings, team feedback, and act upon the feedback provided. You should also be consistent in what you expect from others at work. This builds trust within the team, which helps build your reputation as a leader. Consistency in communication displays your work ethic, integrity, and the value of the library’s organization. It also shows commitment to your team and their personal and professional goals.

Be Flexible

It is important to be flexible on so many levels as an effective leader. During the day with regular tasks priorities will change, even major projects might morph into something different.  Things happen, and you need to be able to switch directions, when necessary, in a positive manner. Listening to constructive feedback from your supervisor or following recommendations from other departments, is vital to collaboration and building flexibility. When you are flexible and solution-oriented, it builds your leadership skills and influence within the organization.

Be a Good Listener

Finally, it’s important to listen to employees, your supervisor, and mentors. Consider your library partners and their goals, your organization’s goals and the new ideas that come from listening. When you are presented with the facts in a truthful manner, anything can be accomplished with listening and feedback.  Active listening enables people to feel valued and respected. Encourage people to speak their minds and take the time to make sure they feel heard. This creates an environment of trust and respect that is mutual and leads to an improved teamwork.

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship

Grant Funding Basics for Your Library

library-leadership

It is important to understand how grants operate before writing one for your library. You need to grasp the basics of submitting a grant and the library’s requirements. Continue reading to learn how to earn grant funding for your community’s library.

Understand What a Grant Is

A grant is simply a financial award that is designed to be used for a specific purpose or project. Grants differ from other funding since the money is tied to specific library goals or outcomes. Still, you must use grant money for its intended purpose and document your team’s work. Grants are awarded by grantors, or the group that is the source of the funding. There are three different types of grantors including nonprofit foundations, corporations, and the state and federal government. Individuals, families, or nonprofit community organizations fund private foundation grants. Businesses fund corporate grant gifts.  Finally, the federal government funds state and nationally controlled library grants through the IMLS.

Who Qualifies for a Grant?

There are four different categories to determine qualifications for grant funding. Nonprofit organizations that are registered as a 501c3 corporation and religious organizations come under nonprofit grantee receiver status. Grants for individuals, including students, researchers, scholars, and artists fall into another category. Finally, there are grants for tax-supported organizations such as schools, first responders, and government agencies like libraries.

Still, private organizations with public interests such as library Friends groups, and fundraising charities also qualify depending upon tax status. Grantors will clearly state grant requirements. For example, if a tax ID is needed in the application.

How to Find Library Grants

There are several ways to research grants for your library’s funding needs. For example, attending workshops and professional development meetings related to your project’s cause is one way. Subscribing to specific grant websites such as Research.gov is another method to find grant money. You can also search specific projects at Grants.gov a one stop listing for upcoming grants. However, partnering with local corporations regarding unique grant opportunities for literacy or educational funds is also helpful. Reaching out to other unconventional civic groups which support mutual goals for the library and the group is another idea.

Furthermore, the best way to find out if your library qualifies for a grant is to read the application instructions. The application will explain funding goals, demographics of those served, and the documentation required after the grant is earned. Give it a try and good luck!

Categories
Librarian & Entrepreneurship

The Importance of Training and Developing Your Librarians

library-leadership

Being a librarian isn’t just about restocking shelves and helping people find books. It’s a job that requires a whole host of skills, which is why a Masters Degree in Library Science is required and other courses exist to help keep skills fresh. Why is training so important, and what programs exist to help?

Why it Matters

Any workforce needs to be competent, confident, and motivated. For as obvious as that may seem, people far too often overlook the importance of this with respect to the librarian profession. Competency means making sure that librarians update their skills as new software and IT systems are introduced.

What’s more, if managers don’t train librarians to respond to organizational changes, it can be all too easy for them to slip into a sense of ennui. From there, they can become disengaged, which in turn can reduce the quality of their service to library customers.

Some managers institute reward programs, while others invite promising librarians to take part in a leadership program with an opportunity for advancement. Remember, library work doesn’t just mean helping people as a front desk librarian. It can involve all manner of different technical services and archival research. It is up to existing library managers and leaders to help develop new librarian talent, matching them to their ideal roles and motivating them to meet their potential.

How Librarians Train

There are plenty of programs available to help managers give librarians the support and training they need to succeed. Some academic libraries are part of larger organizations, such as universities and hospitals. If so, they may offer specialized training programs or assistance via their in-house IT experts.

In addition, there are a plethora of specialized training programs that offer help via online courses and regional seminars. These include the American Library Association, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Society of College, National and University Libraries, the North West Academic Libraries, and the Public Library Association.

Athletes, singers, dancers, artists, soldiers, doctors all need support and training, and librarians are no different. These resources and similar programs can ensure that newcomers are motivated and tenured librarians remain fresh and the best they can be.