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One New Thing
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
One New Thing: How to Make Friends and Influence People.

More from the recommended reading list from my leadership course – I think this one's a classic now, although it doesn't read like it was written 70 years ago!

My first impression of this book was probably established back in high school, when we found it on the library shelves and laughed at the title. When I picked it up a few weeks ago and looked at the chapter listing, it all looked a bit - submissive. Now after reading it, I see the point. Rather than actually just being friends with everybody, it's about getting to the stage where you and other people can comfortably communicate. And then, so that you can achieve what you set out to achieve and have the other person feel they have achieved their aims as well. If you work in any sort of client support role, or you have friends, or a partner, or children, read it. ;)

What's funny is that I picked up and flicked through a few more recent books on communication and dealing with people at the same time as this one, and although the terminology was different and the scenarios more up-to-date (e.g. emails), the concepts were pretty much the same. People mustn't have changed much...we've just given them technology, so they can have more avenues in which to be frustrated. :)

Monday, August 28, 2006
Several New Things: Communicating with Clients Using New Technologies: Reprise and Update.

That's the title of the QULOC workshop I went to today. As the program (PDF) indicates, there were some presentations then some workshops. I found the presentations most interesting and useful. (I guess if you're a librarian but work in IT you need to look a bit harder to find library-focussed workshops on technologies you haven't come across before. Or, start running workshops!)

Anyway, some glimpses into how libraries are using the technologies at their disposal to communicate with their clients. Specifically, people talked about blogs and wikis, PDAs (mobile access to resources), instant messaging, webcasting and podcasting. There was a lot of discussion throughout the day regarding the generational issues when it comes to using these technologies – that for me was almost as interesting as the use of the technologies themselves. There were comments about the clients – whether universities with a high proportion of mature aged students would really benefit; if communicating in new online spaces is really what those clients would be demanding – but also from within the profession. I didn't see who in the room asked it, but my favourite question of the day was: how does Librarian 2.0 convince Librarian 0.9 that Library 2.0 is the way to go? :)
(Related statistics: someone on the NewGrad list posted a link to the Librarian occupations page on the Australian Jobsearch page. The median age is quite high. And only around 10% of us are under age 34! Not that age alone makes Librarian 2.0, but that's a low number for digital natives.)

A few of the ideas I heard today that stuck out for me were:
  • using wikis for FAQs, bibliographies, help pages etc – allowing visitors to edit them so you get more ideas about what they want to know
  • using podcasts to deliver training, e.g. for infolit-type workshops, or self-guided library tours. Also to promote library services throughout the year. (Check out what UNE's radio station TUNE!FM does to help out during university orientation!)
  • using webcasts to share information about specialist collections
  • making sure you search student blogs for unsolicited feedback on your services – students in some courses are given the task of creating blogs for assessment, although you might find personal blogs from students out there as well.
The overall advice I picked up from the day was:
  • if you want to use technology, first make sure it will meet your needs and your clients' needs – then don't release anything until you have thoroughly planned and tested and prepared
  • use the technologies to be where your clients want you, when they want you
  • don't forget to apply traditional principles when you're using a new technology: evaluate the value of the content often, and have a weeding policy
  • involve your IT people early! The IT section's security and policy needs seemed to be an issue for everyone.
Hope this post isn't too long and boring – might make up for a few missed weeks, again. :) I'll end with what would normally be a Friday link, but is more relevant today: Dave Pattern's Library 2.0 Idea Generator. (Warning: may make you laugh out loud...better not read it on the ref desk!)