Fall Retreat Wrap-Up Meeting

On a rainy October 17, we met Watermark Books in Wichita to review the 2007 Fall Retreat and plan for the 2008 Kansas Library Conference and 2009 Fall Retreat.

Present: Denise Smith, Ruth Rodden, Marie Pyko, Kim Beets, Rosanne Siemens, Cathy Newland and Sharon Moreland

After discussing the evaluation forms (quotes and highlights below), we decided to have a 2-day, one-topic retreat at the Spiritual Life Center in October 2009.  The date has not been confirmed, but hope to have the retreat on Thursday, October 8 and Friday, October 9. 

In response to the suggestions from the Retreat Evaluations, PLS will sponsor a presenter at the 2008 KLA Conference to cover topics associated with personnel management, such as learning styles, personality profiles, personnel law and dealing with difficult people.

PLS will also sponsor a Breakfast Business Meeting on Friday, April 11 at the 2008 KLA Conference.

Officers serve from July 1 to June 30.  Nominations to be sent on an e-mail ballot are:

  • Chair – Sharon Moreland
  • Vice-Chair – Ruth Rodden
  • Secretary – Ken Werne

And now for the good stuff – the Retreat Evaluation Quotables:

  • Mary is an enthusiastic presenter that makes you look at things in a new way.
  • Invite Mary Bushing for 3 days!! Nothing could have been better – just more time for all discussions, including those breakout table conversations.
  • Nice not to have TV/radio.
  • Excellent, affirming information for work and real life.
  • I am anxious to get back and start and “finish” several projects.  Was extremely useful and informative – lots of ideas to use!

Suggestions for Change:

  • A place to check E-mail
  • More specific/focused subject
  • Hourly stretch breaks

Suggestions for future PLS Topics:

  • Grant opportunities, Budgets and alternative funding
  • Bond issues and how to pass them
  • Team building in Library Boards
  • Reader’s Advisory
  • Time Management
  • Broadband issues
  • Staffing, human resource management, organizational changes and patterns, staff development,
  • Collection development
  • Publicity for libraries
  • Customer service
  • Developing libraries as community centers
  • Open source ILS
  • “Defending Access with Confidence”
  • Meetings

Respectfully submitted by: Sharon Moreland


LEEP Credit

Shannon Roy says that we can apply for LEEP credit for Mary’s workshop (4 hours for Mary’s portion of the event).  Here’s the form:


Keeping Your Community Connected

I owe Rosanne a big, fat apology – I failed to blog about her Video discussion at the Evergreen Branch on Wednesday night! 

Not only did we get an overview of the Kansas State Library Broadband Summit held the day before, but we had a lively discussion after watching the Gates Foundation video “Keeping Your Community Connected: Why Our Public Libraries Need Technology.” This FREE 8-minute video came with a 13-page booklet full of facts, statistics and images from libraries across the nation.  We recommend ordering a copy and showing it to your local government officials and Board members, especially if you are in the market for broadband.

For more information about the summit – http://skyways.lib.ks.us/KSL/ce/broadband_summit/ 

Participating in a discussion with librarians from every section of the state was eye opening and very informative, especially to a North-East Kansan like me.

Thank you for your support (day 2, last post)

And reading this…

Extra Special Thanks to Dr. Grandma, I mean Mary Bushing.  This was an amazing two-days with a lot of great information and laughs.

Jean Hatfield for hosting Mary

Gina Millsap, Patti Butcher, Vikki Jo Stewart and Marc Galbraith for their presentations

Hans Fischer for assisting with a talk table.

Rosanne Siemens for preparing and facilitating the Wednesday evening broadband/technology discussion at the Evergreen Branch of the Wichita Public Library.

Spiritual Life Center staff

Fall Retreat Committee:

Marie Pyko, Denise Smith, Sharon Moreland, Kim Beets, Cathy Newland, Ken Werne, Rosanne Siemens and Ruth Rodden

Contact any of us if you are interested in helping with the Public Library Section!  We have fun doing all this work…

And the winners were:  Robin Clark, Terri Harley, Jessica Wiens, Hans Fischer, Carol Barta, Nancy Malone, Vikki Jo Stewart and Donice Wilkerson

State Library of Kansas (day 2, post 3)

State Libary Presentation

Book-related Initiatives (Vikki Jo)

  • Kansas Center for the Book (http://skyways.lib.ks.us/orgs/kcfb/)
    • Kansas Reads to Preschoolers – “Three Books, One State” – Safety theme
    • It’s time to call 911Board book with a “small irritation”
    • Do Kangaroos Do Seatbelts – author coming to Kansas
    • Look Both Ways – author coming to Kansas
  • Notable Books Program 
    • Lovely medal, 2nd year for the project, all but two authors will be at the Kansas Book Festival, stickers for the front of those books (e-mail Vikki Jo for 10 or so)
  • Letters about Literature (http://skyways.lib.ks.us/orgs/kcfb/letters.htm)
    • National letter-writing program, where kids write to authors who are important to their lives
  • A Fourth Point – Vikki Jo says that Vick’s vapor rub in the creme “absolutely works” on scaly heels…her panty hose last much longer now…plus it smells nice.  (We decided that Vikki needs a gift certificate for a pedicure.)

Goals for the State Library – Patti

  • How can we better serve our customers?  Remove barriers for the customer
  • One-stop shopping model
  • Inclusive of all library types – nix vendors that don’t accommodate ALL libraries in the state
  • Customized
  • Customer Driven
  • Equality of Access and Resources – our tax $$ pays for it, so we had all better have access to it!
  • User-friendly
  • As Accessible as Amazon!

Why? – lots of cute pictures of libraries in the state…

How are we meeting our Goals?

  • Statewide Databases – contracts die next year, stable pricing goes away, will need to re-bid, how will we decide what to keep?  what new databases will be added?  asking for additional databases…
  • New State Library Web site – December Debut (Librarians love to search, customers love to Find) – many pages moving from Blue Skyways (local stuff, genealogy) – Databases, catalog, resources on new Web site –
    Oone Search with grouped results
  • New and Improved Kansas Library Card – Lasts 3 years, not one!  Quova (?) – new geolocation software to analyze IP addresses and locations, so you will no longer need to authenticate (except for audiobooks)!! (December debut is the plan)
  • Audiobooks, Music & More – Very well used.  Some max access titles checked out over 4 times. Language courses! Science videos for kids.
  • Virtual Kansas Library Catalog – New Z39.50 target – Johnson County and coming soon KU and KSU libraries.  The KLC will be a hybrid catalog, where a search looks at both the KLC database and these other library databases/catalogs simultaneously.  Will save $$ spent on duplicate OCLC records.
  • Patron Initiated ILL – Coffey County Library is the pilot.  System can help a library set this up.
  • Web Junction
  • Automation Grants to Regional systems – KohaZoon, Swiftnet, Liblime, NExpress, SWKLS and CKLS
  • Summits & Task Forces – broadband summit, ILDP (Nov. 1), databases, Talking Books, etc.
  • Libraries have a vital role as…Community centers, promoting reading, supporting lifelong learning, (see presentation, she moved to the next slide too fast for me)
  • What can you do for your Customers?  Letter to the editor about HomeworkKansas, promote the audiobook collection, take a WebJunction course, turn on patron ILL

HomeworkKansas – Mark

  • Real, live homework help – one Kansas student talking online with one live tutor.  “Speaks to individual student needs.”
  • Easy to use – any student can go to www.homeworkkansas.org and use their existing or new KLC number to access this. 
  • Comments: “I think this homework tutor project is a great idea.”  “This is the best thing on the Internet.”  “The white board thing is cool.”  “I would recommend this to anyone.”  “This is cool.”  “Jessica helped me so much, I feel I should get an A+.  Sweet.” 
  • Over 20,000 sessions logged the 1st year.
  • Challenge :: The NEED to tell more students about it.  Promotion and advertising budget is ZERO.  Send out more press releases, write pieces for newsletters, Web site links, posters and flyers to share (say with the PTA), business cards – print your own from the Web site
  • Easy “dog and pony show” to take to teacher in-services and PTA meetings.
  • School libraries – are they promoting this, too?  Even if they can’t access it during school hours.  School librarians can issue cards!

Project Management Tools (day 2, post 2)

Project Management Tools

  • Software – Office has a program that might work for you
  • Visuals – diagrams, graphs, charts – library projects can have progress thermometers, too! Timelines
  • Literature – Most libraries have books on project management – “what a concept…” says Mary
  • Lists – Do a list that works for you. 
  • Experts
  • Others with experience

Be Selective – Use what works for you.  Find a system – lists, palm pilot, calendar, post it notes…

  • lists (clean cat box, meet with president, send invoice, write letter) – Mary keeps work and life on her Word List 
  • simple calendar (Outlook calendar as an archive of what you’ve done, laminated yearly calendar for long-range)
  • timeline with targets
  • work breakdown sructure (Industrial work, contractors, etc.)
  • logical task flow – example of one of the many tools developed (such as in the military)
  • task analysis – flow chart tech services…review the work processes and how they’ve changed over time
  • GANTT chart
  • PERT – Performance Evaluation Review Technique
  • CPM – Critical Path Method – What has to be done first?  What is the order of operations/order of importance?
  • Flowchart – “Not everyone thinks this way, that is why there are so many different options”
  • Outline
  • List
  • Spreadsheet

Celebrate Intermediate Successes

  1. Rejoice/publicize completion of each stage & progress towards goals
  2. Acknowledge contributions of individuals and groups – public kudos, brief note in personnel file, positive notes
  3. Provide small rewards – “Nothing succeeds like success” Do you expect excellence without “thank you’s”?  Develop this skill – leave presents, notes, show your appreciation, cookies, birthday cards (‘amazing how much that matters to people’)
  4. Keep a central graph – Especially for big projects and projects that inter-connect with other people’s work…

Celebrate the Conclusion – Officially declare it DONE!, Throw a party, find a hokey ceremony that brings closure (throw out the cards after a retrospective conversion project), make it an organizational celebration, write letters for personnel files for stars, and whatever other ideas you come up with!  Symbolism…

Roles to be filled:  Leader, Cheerleader, Whip, Pressure valve (inside jokes, imaginary scotch, etc.), and/or Communicator.  Don’t be a mother/father.  This isn’t what people need.  That’s a dependency relationship and it can get us into trouble…

Additional Tools for Success

  • Laugh together – keep your sense of humor
  • Acknowledge the stress & frustration
  • Remember that this is NOT LIFE or DEATH…really, it’s not.  Mary says, “Libraries can be your vocation, you can be passionate about what you do, but you need to remember and remind that “this is a library, it’s not anyone’s life.”
  • Be realistic
  • Remember to breathe – “we are only as smart as our next breath” – oxygen needs to get to the brain, especially to stay calm and to make good decisions
  • Do not take it home with you – leave it in the library.  I love this story: “when you get ready to leave, stop, and turn to your office or work space and say “Stay!” with conviction” – Our brains in some ways are really stupid and what we tell it, actually happens. 
  • Have a life

Project Management

Conceptualize :: Define :: Plan :: Impelement :: Complete it :: Reflect and learn

Project Life Cycle – Day 2, page 1

New Scenario: Review all of the circulation policies for the library system and make suggestions for what needs to be changed.

After you’ve defined the project and come up with a plan of action, when you implement the project – set some rules for the meeting!  Set the expectations.  Stay on task, make sure the meeting room is ready (clock, white board, markers that work), start on time, come prepared and make sure your electronics are working.  Most people are visual learners – use flip charts at the meeting!  Have the agenda written on the board – give visual clues.  [New standard of three slide presentations of for-profit proposals.]

Defining the Project :: Answer some questions about what needs to be done, when, with what resources and who is to be chair?? 

Defining the project scope :: Clarify the scope, goals & priorities with adminstration so everyone is on the same page starting out.  Clearly define project objectives … who, what, when, how, and why???  Decide how you are going to communicate about the project’s progress (alerts to the administration, alerts to staff, progress reports).

What must be done (objectives)?
How is it to be done (strategies)?
Who will do what (responsibilities)?
When must it be done (timeline/schedule)?
How much will it cost (resources/budget)? 
How good will it be (quality and expectations of end product)? 
What performance (training needs)?
Identify weaknesses (compensate)…
Identify obstacles (risk analysis)…
Control & authority (who & how much)…

Visual – Triangle – At the top is performance (specifications and scope), at the base are Cost (budget and resources) and Time (schedule).   Time is usually the only variable we can control/fudge.  Schedule :: Resources :: Quality

A second visual – A chart saying “Pick Two” of these three: Good, Fast or Cheap.  “Get the job done on time, within budget & according to specifications.”  Do you want it fast and cheap, but “good enough for now”?  For some projects, quick and dirty is just fine!  How good is good enough…look at the project from the patron’s point of view!  Negotiate for Clarity (Time, Resources and Quality).  Aks questions to get clear answers and get them in writing if possible.

Plan the Project – timeline, outline major stages or activities, determine resources, and determine the specifications: How good does it have to be?  Perfect?  89%?  What are the standards? Do you need a board cut as a shelf for paint cans in the garage or does it need to be cut as a shelf for nick-nacks in the living room…

What will Success Look Like?  Decide this before you begin. How much must be finished to declare the project finished and decide how well it has to be done.   “Don’t allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good.”

IMPLEMENT THE PROJECT – put the pieces together
(primary motivation should be to improve what we do for the users-are we doing this work for us or them?)

1. Engage resources (people, funds, equipment/supplies)
2. Evaluate quality (decide what is ‘good enough’)
3. Use progressive decision-making – you can’t know all of the answers in the beginning, so make adjustments as you go.

Control and Monitor the Project :: Track the progress, keep everything in sync, communicate and ENCOURAGE team (cheerleading outfit with a whip), BE FLEXIBLE and make timely decisions. 

Do not put people in charge of projects who cannot make decisions. (Do hand-wringers make good project managers? no)

Speaking of flexibility…”adjust, adjust, adjust…”  Build in flexibility and fall-backs :: ‘look forward with concern & prudence’ (not with panic and worse-case scenarios) :: Don’t loose sight of the Schedule, Resources and Quality :: Learn lessons as you progress

What Must Be Managed?
:: Scope and objectives
:: Time – scheduling and controlling
:: Costs – resources, budget, people
:: Communications – make sure the information flows
:: Human Resources – people
:: Quality – what is good enough?
    ::  99.9% perfect and complete?
    :: Less than 10% errors?
    :: 97% accurate?
    :: 92% of cases complete?

Tangent: Libraries are in the used book business, so why are spending time and money on ILL when we should be buying used books from amazon??  The point being – make a project of evaluating vendors periodically.