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Salem Press Blog Award Winner!

This blog was just named the best Academic Library blog in the 2011 Salem Press Library Blog Awards! I feel really honored to be nominated by some of the great judges, but especially to be included among the winners. In the academic category there were a lot of great blogs nominated, especially one of my favorites: ACRLog. I never miss any of their posts and was even asked to submit a post there.

I really enjoy a lot of the blogs that won and were nominated. I was excited to see the Hack Library School won for best newcomer. It is written by some great folks, and they post on much needed topics for students. Many library schools are severely behind, and this group of folks are helping students be more proactive and working to make sure that a library school education does not get in the way of learning. I really admire what they are doing and was delighted to have the chance to post on their blog about some of my experiences in school.

I also feel honored to be in the company of such smart, enthusiastic and dynamic people like Buffy Hamilton, Sarah Houghton-Jan, and Brian Herzog. I have been subscribed to all of their blogs for a while. In addition, I appreciate what Salem Press is doing in putting on these awards. Not only does it incorporate a little fun into staying current in the profession, it also allows people to discover new blogs that hadn’t been on their radar. I just discovered and subscribed to the Waki Librarian.

Also, most importantly, I don’t want to forget the people who read this blog and voted for it. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and chatting with me on Twitter. I get tons of ideas from people’s comments and conversations with me, and I’m glad you all are getting ideas too. I really appreciate this and I look forward to continuing the conversation here.

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Improve Your Soft Skills

I’ve got a guest post up on the blog Hack Library School. If you are not following this blog, I would suggest subscribing. It’s a collective blog about rethinking library school and the future of librarianship. Here’s a short snippet from the post:

In librarianship, speaking in public is necessary if you want to be in academia, present at conferences, or hold any sort of leadership position. We have to teach classes, run meetings, present to faculty, other librarians, and the public, and sometimes even give presentations to land a job.

Read the rest here

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Catch And Release For Ideas

lightbulbs in a cage

image by Graham and Sheila on Flickr

We have ideas all the time. At conferences, in the shower, talking to co-workers, lying in bed, riding the bus, there is no shortage of ideas. Some are great and some are duds, but it’s necessary to capture them if we ever want to act on them. In fact, generating and capturing ideas is a key step in the innovation process as I learned in a presentation by David Dahl at the ACRL national conference. If we do not purposefully and regularly capture our ideas, it’s easy to lose them.

On a personal level, I am sure most people have preferred ways of capturing their ideas. My colleague Sarah uses nice notebooks and different colored pens to capture her idea in an analog format. I use Evernote on my two PCs, my iPad, and my Android phone to capture notes anywhere at anytime and automatically have them sync across devices. Other people might use lists or sticky notes or different digital methods to capture their ideas. There is a wide variety of ways to capture ideas and not every solution will work for every person. You need to find what works best for you.

But we also need to capture ideas on a shared staff-wide level. We have good ideas about how we can improve library resources, but if those ideas aren’t shared, they’re useless. I have a Evernote notebook titled “Work.” My colleague Sarah has her stack of notebooks with library thoughts and ideas in them. I bet if we brought some of these ideas together, we would both get excited and some of them would get implemented. There can be a lot of magic that happens when ideas collide.

Just like personal idea capture, there are a variety of ways to bring staff ideas together. David Dahl in his ACRL presentation mentioned some of the more obvious ones like wikis, intranets and even less obvious ones like innovation management software. In talking to Steven Bell at the ACRL conference, I learned about another cool way of capturing ideas as a staff. At a library staff retreat at their institution, staff members were given small notebooks. They were to use the notebooks to capture ideas about library stuff or ideas that came from observing library users. Then at some point in the future they will come together again and share their ideas. I thought this was a creative and fun way to collect ideas, and it showed that not everything has to be shared digitally. Analog can work just as well and sometimes better.

No matter how ideas are captured, they can’t just sit there. Ideas die in captivity. They need to be shared and examined and studied to be able to flourish and become an actual change in your library.

How do you capture and share ideas?