Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Time management spotlight: Daily Routines

One of the most valuable things I have done in my (neverending) quest to get un-scattered has been to create routines for myself for the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks that need to happen for me to stay on top of my various projects. The first time I created a routine of this sort was when I worked in social services, and had to have an organized way of making sure 200 families and all their associated paperwork didn’t fall through any cracks. I found that a standard process for handling every case, as well as all the tasks I needed to handle in a typical day, kept me both accurate and efficient, and made that job as low-stress as it was ever going to be.

As I became converted to the wonders of the routine, I created ones for my non-work life, both before and after going to work. In some ways those early experiments with managing my time made this student ready for the day I was introduced to GTD. They are the key to my ability to manage all of my projects in my 20-odd areas of responsibility. If you don’t have routines automating your key projects, things will slip through the cracks, your most important self-improvement efforts will sputter to a halt, and you generally won’t be making the best use of your time. It’s back to David Allen’s exhortations to get the stuff out of your brain—just putting a repeat button on the action as you do.

How do you build a routine? Well, let’s say you have some things you’d like to take care of on a regular basis after work. You want to make time to pick up the house a little bit every evening so that you aren’t frantically moving piles into bedrooms the night before the in-laws visit. You need to hit the gym, there’s this book you’ve been meaning to finish, you’d like some sort of daily spiritual prayer/meditation practice—basically you want to curl up in bed knowing that you did more with your evening than fight household fires, call in pizza and stare at the TV for 4 hours. Get that stuff out of your head and into an action list—call it @evenings, or whatever you like. Keep it simple though—if you give yourself some 25-item, 3 hour ordeal to slog through every night after work, that’s a recipe for accomplishing nothing more useful than drinking 2 glasses of merlot and tipping the delivery guy. Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking. In fact, save the complex stuff for the weekends—if you accomplish a short, brainless list every day, you’ll have time to get to those things in a leisurely way on saturdays.

Here are my current daily routines to give you some ideas for getting started—also, do a search for "routines" at either Zen Habits, lifehack.com or lifehacker.com —all of those are great resources on the topic, and all have too many articles on the topic to cite individually. For specific ideas on creating routines for your housekeeping, I can’t recommend Flylady highly enough--she tends toward glurge, but the woman knows how to keep a house clean in the most efficient manner possible.

Morning Routine:
45 minutes cardio workout
Give the bathroom a once-over, including the cat litter
Change into work clothes, makeup, etc.

Commutes: Listen to my Chinese lessons and catch up on my podcasts

After work:
Start dinner
Tidy up two hot spots
Sweep whole house for rogue laundry, dishes, and papers.(Kevin actually does the dishes and laundry, for which I am eternally grateful...)
Today’s activity (could be my weekly cleaning routine, meetings for my non-profit board or other group, weights, date night w/ kevin, weekly baking, personal projects, etc.), then...


Pre-bed routine:
Give the kitchen a once-over, including trash if needed
Today’s deep clean Zone Chore
Put up Laundry
Lay out tomorrow’s clothes
Meditation practice (10 minutes)

BED at a sane hour! (for me, no later than 10:00 now that I’m getting up early…)

One last thing—These routines are goals, not scripture. I flop down on the couch, ask Kevin to hit the takeaway place on the way home, and veg out more evenings than I’d like to admit, and I probably only accomplish all this stuff (in the same day) about twice a month. However, I do most of it on most days, which is a lot better than if I didn’t have the routines at all. And I have enough on my plate as it is without berating myself for letting the trash can sit full in the kitchen for a day. I am not Martha Stewart, and I sure as hell ain’t a fitness guru. But I am interested in living a happy, ordered, moderate life, and my routines have been a handy tool in getting me there. I hope a system like this may be useful to you too.

Next Tuesday: Graduation is drawing near for our friends getting their MLIS degrees, and I’m going to talk about job hunting for librarians, complete with a sample project plan and links to some of the best career resources on the web. See you Thursday for RSS Digest!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

RSS Digest: February 22, 2007

Hey All! It's been a busy week here with go-live looming (the switch is in 4 WEEKS!!! AUGH!), so I'm keeping it short. Here’s the best links I found this week in LIS, time managment, and as always, my favorite reference websites…

LIS Links

Chronicle Careers: 2/20/2007: The New Library Professional Other than the fact that this author just called me (and many of you) "Feral"...very much worth a read if you haven't already.

Open Letter to ILS Vendors | TechEssence.Info WORD. Yes, we're about to go live on one of the biggest of 'em all, but I have a supicion this may be the last time we purchase a proprietary ILS, if things keep trending the way they're trending. This one from Roy Tennant’s a must-read.

Information Wants To Be Free » Blog Archive » Lead, follow or get out of the way

After you read Roy's post (and pick yourself up from your swoon)--read Meredith's. I have GOT to learn more about OA--that's all there is to it.

Feel-good Librarian: A friend in need Ok folks, Vibes/Prayers for FGL please...

LibraryThing: Tagging: LibraryThing and Amazon Worth a read, much like most everything posted over at LibraryThing. I have GOT to get that account set up...but when you work in a library, organizing your books seems a bit less...recreational. *shrug*

Tame The Web: Libraries and Technology: Hurrah! A Better Bill out of Illinois: Internet Safety Education Act We spend a lot of time here in LIS-land ranting about ridiculous pieces of proposed legislation. Ergo, I'm posting a link to something sensible! :-)

LibrarianInBlack: Online genealogy classes I had originally tagged this to share as one of the kewl reference sites of the week. Now I'm tagging it as an object lesson in how NOT to handle your public relations.

Caveat Lector » Unbeholden *nods*

What I Learned Today… » Blog Archive » Extension List Dumper Nifty for us Firefox geeks.

LibrarianInBlack: Library Podcasting Resources for Staff some good resources if you're thinking of starting a podcast.

Chronicle Careers: 2/16/2007: Red-Hot Library Porn I don't know that I'd have ended that article on as glum a note about the future of the humble book--but I'm still so thrilled that someone else loves the stunning architectural triumphs many of us are lucky enough to work in...

Library Juice » Urgent message from LoC Professional Guild

*jaw drops*. I'm honestly shocked this hasn't gotten more link love.

Strange Book Title Quiz Can you guess which one's fake? (and no cheating by logging into worldcat!)

Streamline your Research with Web Research - lifehack.org Del.icio.us seems to do it for my needs in this area, but this is an interesting tool for web research, especially if you need to save a website as it appeared at a given moment.

The Kept-Up Academic Librarian: No Wikipedia For These History Students Wikis have their place. Being cited as a scholarly source in a history term paper isn't that place. Kudos Middlebury.

Information Wants To Be Free » Blog Archive » Highlights from Week 1 of Five Weeks to a Social Library I am STILL kicking myself that I didn't get involved in this because I was "too new" and "wouldn't have anything to add". Go, read, comment--and don't listen to your anxieties about speaking up! :-)

Free Range Librarian: My Training Plan... Er... BOPSIASK I already practice my own prof dev plan that looks much like a stripped-down version of this, but this gave me some ideas for life after go-live.

Time management and Productivity Links

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better | OEDb An interesting set of tips for you lifelong learners out there (and shouldn't that be all of us?)

zen habits: How to do a Weekly Review in Under an Hour GTD-ers! having trouble with your weekly review? Read on...

Organized People are Lazy! - lifehack.org I need this shirt. (oh yeah, this is also a good primer on using your time effectively)

Productivity & Organizing Myth #5 – the right planner (tool) is all you need - lifehack.org I'm about to let you in on one of the deep secrets of organization: THE TOOLS DON'T MATTER. I think I am going to do a post on the power of routines and SOPs, but until then...read this great post from Lifehack.

Music Vs Workflow - lifehack.org I'm about 1 more paycheck's "fun money" away from drinking the ipod koolaid. Here's a great strategy for putting together my work playlist.

zen habits: Top 20 Motivation Hacks - An Overview Need some motivation? give these tricks a whirl.

Think Like Leonardo da Vinci >> Dumb Little Man

The Simple Dollar » 15 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Your Career

Mice, Antelopes, and Your To-Do List - lifehack.org Interesting read on priority setting.

Cool Reference Sites of the week

HEALTHmap | Global disease alert mapping system THIS...IS...COOL!

SDNHM: Shark School Went to the aquarium with Kevin and his mom the other weekend and saw the sharks, so this is fresh in my mind...

Car & Truck Repair Information, Auto Advice, Car Repair Estimates in Gainesville FL: ECONOMECHANIX I LOVE this site! I have a great little mazda that just past 100,000 miles with barely a murmur, and this has given me some tips for thing to check to make sure she sees 200K+. If you have a car, you need to bookmark this. period.

ResourceShelf » New Showcases from the National Library of New Zealand Matapihi Database I have SO got to figure a way to visit Middle Earth...check out these images and DROOL.

British Library's New Home page oooooh, pretty.....

See you Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Town & Gown: Notes on our new resource sharing program

As I've mentioned, I work for a smallish (4,000 FTE) university in a medium-small town of about 17,000. As an academic library, we of course are part of the OCLC network, and interlibrary loans flow in and out of here daily. However, our town's awesome public library, which isn't part of any consortium or group, doesn't have the money for that, though they can and do loan and borrow through the state's ILL network. As a college town (and a surprisingly intellectual one for being in the middle of the bible belt), we have lots of retired professors who stayed on in the area, several authors who moved here for the rural setting (that's still within 45 minutes or so of the big city) and cheap cost of living, and plenty of avid readers.

Many of these folks don't have privileges at our library, don't use us often enough to justify purchasing our "community borrower" card ($20 for lifetime privileges), but still occasionally need something a bit more scholarly than they can easily access through the public library.
On the opposite side of the coin, we have lots of students who commute to school here but who don't live or work in this county (the requirement for a card at the public library), and that want to get a hold of a novel that we don't have in stock. (We do try to buy most of the bestsellers as well as particularly popular genres like Fantasy, but we can't get everything...) Enter our awesome serials librarian, Jan, who worked with the director and head of ILL at the public library to create a resource sharing agreement between the two libraries. In a nutshell here's the process.

1. if a patron at library A is looking for a book that library A doesn't have, they or the librarian can pull up the OPAC for library B and see if Library B has it.

2. If Library B has the item, Library A calls Library B, and the item is checked out in Library A's "name". Library A is responsible for keeping records of which patron has which book in case of problems, and will charge the patron to recoup any overdues/lost book fees that accrue.

3. The patron will be given a receipt at library A with the title of the book, which they present at the main desk of library B to pick up the book. When the patron is done with the book, it can be returned to either library (though we prefer library B, for obvious reasons).

The resource sharing scheme has been going for about 2 months as a "pilot program", and we plan to tinker with the system over the summer. Our two libraries are about 5 minutes apart, so it isn't a major hardship to get to library B to pickup. We've put up posters in both libraries explaining the system, and had a nice writeup in the local paper to coincide with the launch. I don't think either side expected this to be a huge source of business, but we're doing 2-3 transactions a week--and those who have done it like the system, so hopefully word of mouth will grow the program.

I know all of us academic librarians communicate well with each other (at least the ones who follow this blog do!), and I'm sure your director goes to lunch with your public library's director on occasion, maybe they even serve on each others' boards. That said, how strong is your library's relationship with your local public library? Go over and introduce yourself to your counterpart, volunteer, offer to do a bit of training on Library 2.0 "stuff", or even work together on a joint outreach project like our resource sharing scheme. There is a lot of overlap between the users of the public library and academic library, and by working together we can support each other, strengthen our presence(s) in the community, and create plenty of win-win situations.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

RSS Digest: February 15, 2007

It’s that time again! Here’s the most interesting stuff I found this week.

LIS Articles

What I Learned Today… » Blog Archive » What makes a librarian? Read, think, respond. :-)

Outgoing: WorldCat Identities Ok, cool toy. Thanks to Walt Crawford for blogging this...

ResourceShelf » Research Paper: Selection and Management of Open Source Software in Libraries; Survey: Adoption of Open Source Digital Library Software Going by the abstract, looks like an interesting analysis of OA in academic libraries.

Library Stories: Libraries & Librarians in the News: Annoyed Librarian asks the tough question *applause* I work in a city that is pretty analagous to weatherford, and I wouldn't change a thing. jobseekers, be willing to be a little adventurous in your searching, and you may find some nifty places!

EDUCAUSE REVIEW |If the Academic Library Ceased to exist, would we have to invent it? Yet another article that makes me confident that the rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated.

Library Stories: Libraries & Librarians in the News: Bartlesville to show Bette I wanna be like Ruth Brown when I grow up. To find out more about Oklahoma's most famous Librarian, click on... :-)

Librarians Without Borders Okay, now this is just cool.

librarian.net » LoC Authority files, yours to keep! Free authority files? is the world coming to an end? I gotta make sure our cataloger knows about this. :-)

Information Wants To Be Free » Blog Archive » Making things happen! Wow! I didn't know Meredith is another social services veteran. This is a great post on how any of us can take a cool idea and make it a reality. That strategy's certainly worked for her...

Free Range Librarian: Your Gummint Nixes Digital Preservation *sigh*

» Jobless jitters I wouldn't go as far as saying that "NEWLIB-L should be required reading..."--but it's worth taking a look at if you haven't. I disagree with a lot of what's posted there, but I've also been very lucky in my LIS career so far...

Productivity/Time Management Articles

Get Rich Slowly » How to Win Friends and Influence People An oldie but a goodie. I don't reread this annually as JD does, but Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey, and David Allen are responsible for whatever productivity I've created in my right-brained, scattered self.

zen habits: Zen Mind: How to Declutter I'm a minimalist, Kevin is a collector. We're still working on meeting in the middle, but here are some tips on decluttering for your reading enjoyment.

zen habits: Think about your life goals Have you made a list of what you want to be/do when you grow up?

The Chief Happiness Officer Another new addition to my blogroll...check out this guy's insights on finding fulfillment at work.

Making Your LinkedIn Business Network Pay Dividends - lifehack.org Ya know how I was grumping a week or two back about not getting much benefit from LinkedIn? This has some great tips for making this site work better for you--I'm going to try some things it suggests and report back with progress.

Why you shouldn't buy that new gadget - Lifehacker Blasphemy!!! But definitely worth a read when you're lusting over an iPhone...

Top Ten Dalai Lama Tips - lifehack.org I don't have much to add here...how can you add on to the Dalai Lama anyway?

Being an Entrepreneur Sucks! -- Young Go Getter Every so often I ponder hanging out my shingle as an independent business researcher. Then I read something like this, and explaining how to log into the campus VPN for the 28th time that day doesn't seem nearly as bad of a gig.

How to maximize your first two hours of the day - Lifehacker Some good strategies on starting your day off on the right foot without getting bogged down on "urgent" emails and other minutia.

The only sure-fire investment - lifehack.org On You, Inc.

Reference resources of the week (and a few silly sites)

ResourceShelf » UK: New Web Site: World War II Films from the Home Front Ok, I'm an Anglophile and a WWII buff, making this the coolest history site I've run across in a while. Have fun!

How Good Are Zillow's Estimates? - WSJ.com On the real estate phenomenon known as Zillow--if a patron hasn't asked you about this resource, they will.

LISNews.org | The Romance of a Dozen Roses, the Gritty Reality of a Truckload I will never think of a dozen roses in quite the same way again.

Illuminating the Word: The St. John's Bible (A Library of Congress Exhibition) I don't care if you're a hardcore atheist--this thing's a work of art.

How does skywriting and skytyping work? Everyday Mysteries: Fun Science Facts from the Library of Congress This is why I'm here. To share reference resources on the fine art of skywriting.

The Book of Household Management, by Isabella Beeton This week's highly cool archival find. Thank you Librarian's Index to the Internet--I now have a great employee manual to pass on to my next under-housemaid.

NPR : The Partisans of Ali Do you know less than you should about Islam? (and if you're not muslim, you probably know as less than you should about Islam). This great series NPR did this week gives a good primer. I finally understand the difference between Shia and Sunni!

The Man in Seat Sixty-One... I've always wanted to take a REALLY long voyage by boat or train--like an ocean crossing or the Orient express. Until I can finagle a month off work to make that happen, I'll read this site and dream...

LibrarianInBlack: Kitty goodness Title says it all. Cat people, surf away.

Wheel of Food Now this thing is just cool. Tired of snagging a cold sandwich in the library cafe for lunch, but not sure what you want? give this site a "whirl" and see what you come up with...

Stroke Warning Signs - lifehack.org This week's public service link, courtesy of lifehacker.

That’s it until Saturday, when I’m going to do that long-promised progress report on my indexcard GTD implementation. I’m sure you’re all aquiver with anticipation. See you soon!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Early to bed, Early to rise...

Let me make this clear right off the top. I am NOT a morning person. If I were named the Supreme Dictator of the planet, my first act as world leader would be to make the work day start no earlier than 10:00 AM. I find those natural larks annoying in the extreme when they flutter into the office at 8:00, twittering about the beautiful sunrise while I’m still grunting and stumbling for the tea kettle in the breakroom. That said, my part of the world runs from 8 AM to 5 PM, so I have little choice in the matter. I also have discovered that I simply am not going to consistently do certain activities necessary to meeting my goals if I try to do them after work. 6 PM is not the ideal time for me to head over to the gym in the apartment complex, even if there isn’t a line for the treadmills. In addition, my husband Kevin works a demanding job as a software developer, and while his boss is good about encouraging work-life balance, he works 50+ hour weeks as a general rule and I try to keep my evenings as clear as possible so that we can share the time we both have off.

This left me with a problem. I have several self-improvement projects I’m struggling with, most notably maintaining a daily spiritual practice as well as daily exercise. There simply weren’t enough hours in the evening to cook dinner, go to any meetings of my various activities, keep the house tidy, work on my dead tree and online reading, relax by myself and/or with Kevin, AND do those new practices regularly. I tried multiple variations of evening schedules, and they all left me overstressed and overscheduled. Finally, about 2 weeks ago I realized there was nothing for it but to get up earlier.

Resources on getting up early

In one of those amusing cosmic convergences that crop up in my life from time to time, soon after I resolved to get up earlier, several blogs I follow either published articles on the art of early rising or posted links to them. I’d run into Steve Pavlina’s guide to morning routines some time back. However, within 3 days of that resolution I stumbled across Yahoo! Finance’s article on CEO’s morning routines, Lifehack’s article on the art of rising at 5:00 AM, and my new favorite blog, “Zen Habits” which ran two articles on developing a morning routine and training oneself to get up early enough to complete that routine. Each article had a slightly different twist on the core topic of creating morning routines and getting up early to accomplish them, and all are worth a read. However, they all boil down to 2 basic suggestions: write a list of tasks you want to do every day, and set the alarm clock early enough to accomplish them with ease.

My Plan

The first part I’d done over 6 months before, when I created a 1-part GTD, 2-parts FLYlady morning routine for myself. after a few revisions it had become a great routine, except for the fact that I was still attempting to accomplish 90 minutes of tasks in 60—45 if I hit the snooze button. I knew that if I wanted to exercise, pray, catch the local headlines, tidy up any lurking hot spots in the apartment, AND walk out the door dressed and made-up to perfection by 7:00 AM, something had to give, and NOT the workouts or my time with the Deity.

Step one was to figure out a way to get myself up earlier without depriving my hubby of his sleep—after all, he’s not the one who came up with the mad idea to wake up at 5:00 am to walk across the sub-freezing apartment complex to get on the treadmill! As it happened, I just bought a new pre-paid cell phone after a near-wreck in one of our recent snowstorms brought home the fact that having the means to call a tow truck is not a luxury when you have a 30 mile commute. Said phone offered an alarm function, along with its other bells and whistles. I searched through the various ringtones, found the least objectionable one, and set it at a volume that would wake me but not disturb Kevin. For the next 4 weeks, I would back up my wakeup time by 15 minutes each Monday morning, so I would be waking up by 5:00 am within a month.

Results so far
Last week was week one on this plan. As you can’t do much extra with 15 minutes (at least when you’re still semiconscious), I just enjoyed the luxury of lingering in the shower, cleaning up a few more clutter spots than usual, and generally starting my day in a non-rushed manner. This week I’m getting up at 5:30, and have enough time to do morning prayer, read a little bit, and sip some green tea and journal while watching the local talking heads. Next week I think I’m going to start working out, and I’m trying to decide if I’m going to multitask while on the treadmill via my podcasts or to read stack, or if I’m simply going to pop something fun into the DVD player in the gym. I won’t add anything my final week when I dial back to my final(?) 5:00 AM alarm call but that 15 minutes should allow me to do things at a deliberate pace that will allow me to wake up, be productive, connect with myself and my surroundings and generally start off the day on the right note.

Will she make it? Can this confirmed late riser turn herself into a lark? Well, I doubt I’ll ever stroll into the office on Monday humming show tunes, but if I can transform myself from a hopelessly scattered slob to a time management blogger, perhaps—just perhaps—I can find out why Aristotle and Ben Franklin were so hooked on pre-dawn productivity. I’ll keep you up to date on my progress. :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

RSS Digest: February 8, 2007

Thursday again! Here’s the hot links of the week on Librarianship, Productivity, and reference sites…

LIS Links

The Well Dressed Librarian: Way, Which On signage in libraries...

LibVibe: the library news podcast: LibVibe - 5 February 2007 Just thought I'd check to make sure everyone around here listens to LibVibe...right? if not, it's a great way to keep up on LIS-related headlines.

Free Range Librarian: March 8, 2007: Sisters, Sisters! An interesting call for postings by female librarians...

Diary of Saad Eskander, Director of the Iraq National Library and Archive Wow. Remind me not to grumble about not getting a flatscreen monitor with my new office computer.

Pew Internet: Tagging Interesting report from the Pew Internet and American Life project on tagging...

The Well Dressed Librarian: Lie, Statistics never We've come a long way, baby... (well, sorta)

ALA TechSource | Wooden Dominoes An um... interesting (disturbing?) editorial on google's library digitization efforts...

The Shifted Librarian: More than Just DDR for Fines Gaming in libraries...I'm still not completely convinced on their use as an library tool, but the articles Jenny links to make some intriguing arguments.

Top Ten Zero-tech Library 2.0 “no brainers” for Public Libraries « The Other Librarian Yeah, I know I mentioned this one on tuesday. It bears repeating.

Stephen's Lighthouse: Using the 23 Things in Special Libraries Ok, Forwarding this to my boss for a staff development project--staying updated with LIS-land on 15 minutes a day!

LibrarianInBlack: Pew report on online tagging So it's not just geeks like us who are addicted to tagging? Kewl! :-)

Free Range Librarian: Children of Men, Gender, and Library IT I'm not sure I completely agree with this discussion of Coder culture and gender, but it definitely bears reading...

http://acrlblog.org/2007/02/05/academic-libraries-unlikely-to-beat-search-engines-at-their-own-game/ I agree, lots of commenters don’t. why don’t you read for yourself?

Superpatron - Friends of the Library, for the net: selling books online on consignment with Books By Chance (Ann Arbor, MI) I wonder if we could try this next time we're ready to unload a stack of weeded books, instead of sending them to the auction...hmmm...

Gmail Locks Out User For Using Greasemonkey & Reports Of Gmail Contacts Disappearing Timely reminder about all these hosted web services that ulimately, we have chosen to play in THEIR playground, with their rules and their bugs...

Free Range Librarian: Dorothea on DSpace A rant on less than responsive OA software developers. no, we are not saying all OA packages/developers are like this--my hubby is a software developer for pete's sake!--but this is an issue that needs to be discussed.

David Lee King » Blog Archive » Change, Adaptation, and that 33 Reasons Why We’re Important Article From his post: "[librarians'] reason for existence in the new digital society … going where the customers are … and adapting to the the concept of “change is a given.”" Awesome. Read. NOW.

ALA | Developing a long-range and outreach plan for your academic library Just forwarded this one to the boss-developing a strategic plan and a marketing plan has been on the "after go-live" to-do list for some time...

LISNews.org | Good News for LOC Brittle Books I don't get enough time to indulge my deep interest in old/rare book collections, but I'm happy to hear of the Alfred P. Sloan foundation's grant to digitize and preserve LoC's brittle books.

woodyevans.com » EBSCO back talkSome interesting chatter on the recent changes to EBSCO's search interface--complete with responses from the borg's--erm, I mean the database provider's customer service department...

The Chronicle: Daily news: 02/01/2007 -- 01: U. of California Sues the Family of Jacques Derrida Over the Noted Philosopher's Papers An interesting lawsuit over the ultimate resting place of the papers of philosopher Jacques Derrida. I'd make some pithy comments here, but A: I try to be neutral in presenting news links, and B: Deconstruction gives me a headache.

Productivity Links

The GTD Mastery 100 so...how is your score? I'm at 50, which is better than I expected. I'm adding this to my bimonthly 30,000 foot & up review, and just working it has given me ideas for improvements and projects...

CollegeJournal | On the Job Interesting article on decluttering your career--and hits close to home for me. I've been so focused on accomplishing a lot of "stuff" that I haven't stopped to think it it's the right stuff for reaching my career goals. Hmm...

Productivity & Organizing Myth #3 – I don’t have time to prioritize - lifehack.org What she said. And it's amazing how much time I've found once I started "wasting time" in getting organized at the start of the day.

The Prepared Don’t Procrastinate - lifehack.org Are you procrastinating on a project because you haven't planned well enough?

Make phone calls from your browser - lifehack.org Well, this is an interesting development--and just when i've gotten around to fiddling with Skype! *sigh*

Where’s Your Motivation? - lifehack.org 11 common motivations to get stuff done--which ones move you?

Video: How to make those first impressions count - Lifehacker A great little presentation on how to handle introductions to VIPs (and isn't everyone a VIP?)--those first impressions count!

Nourish your dreams regularly with attention - lifehack.org "It’s one of the ironies of getting caught up in Getting Things Done: a lot of things, including your dreams, end up on your Someday/Maybe list. And that’s more than a shame; it’s a guaranteed way of slowly dying inside."

Productivity & Organizing Myth #2 – Can’t stop influx - lifehack.org Trying to figure out how to stop all that shi--I mean *stuff* you get in your various inboxes every day? Have no fear, Lifehack has the answer!

Ready Reference links of the week (I’ve totally given up on just picking 1)

Go2Web20.net - The complete Web 2.0 directory Why did it take so long for someone to come up with a directory of web 2.0 services? definitely gonna play with this puppy over the weekend.

super bowl commercials - Ask.com Web Search for those who aren't football fans but who wouldn't mind seeing the commercials...(aside from the $%^* Snickers one I’ve seen 80 gazillion times…)

Learn CPR and choking first-aid - Lifehacker These videos don't substitute for taking one of the many free red cross classes (and you have done that, RIGHT?), but this still seemed like a good public service to share. :-)

Archives Hub: Collections of the Month: Love letters This collection is just cool. Thanks to ResourceShelf for bringing it to our attention. :-)

How do they do that? - lifehack.org You remember those nifty videos of stuff being manufactured that they'd show sometimes on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or other kid shows? Well, here's a whole site-full. Enjoy!

I won’t be posting again until next Tuesday, as the Coolest Mother-in-Law on Earth is coming up for a visit. :-) Next Tuesday is going to be a discussion of the productivity merits of training yourself to get up at an even more ungodly hour than you are already (complete with links to how-to guides!). Future Tuesday essays are going to cover the merits and drawbacks of distance learning, especially as related to DL library services, a review of a book I’ve been reading on networking, and some other topics I’ve got on the back burner. No more multi-part sagas/rants for a little bit though—The Dark Side posts wore me out! As always, Thursdays will remain my opportunity to declutter my Del.icio.us links (and clutter yours). See you soon!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Stolen Library Book Leads to Shooting

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) - Police say a security guard at the Anderson County Library fired his gun at a car after the driver triggered a security alarm.

Police say security guard James Turner asked the woman to stop after the alarm went off as she left around 5 o'clock Saturday afternoon.

A police report states Turner chased the woman as she ran to her car and he said the bumper brushed his knee as she pulled away.

Police say the guard then fired into the driver's door. Authorities say the woman kept going and they don't know if she was hurt.

Library director Carl Stone says he's asked Cherokee Security Systems not to send Turner back to the library. Stone says no one should be hurt over a missing library book.

WLTX NEWS Columbia, SC Originally Posted: 1/9/2007 8:15:34 AM Associated Press


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Dark Side of Library 2.0, Part 3: Old Solutions to New Problems

Hello fellow librarian types! Again I’m flattered (though not surprised) by the thoughtfulness of the comments on my posts in this series. One of the most insightful responses was by Laura Cohen—her thoughts have helped me immensely in putting together this last part of my series.

Also, before I kick off part three, I want to clarify a few points. I am not Anti-Library 2.0, nor do I think it’s a bad thing. I like to think I’ve helped bring some 2.0 initiatives into existence at my workplace, and we have plans for more. My point had been that it can be easy to ignore the substance of Library 2.0 for the style, and to forget that Library 2.0 is really a more mindful (and more technological, when appropriate) way of doing the things we’ve been doing since Alexandria. As Ryan Deschamps mentioned in his excellent post on zero-tech Library 2.0 projects, this all really comes down to the perennial struggle to narrow the inevitable divide between information seekers and information. And on that note…

The Dark Side of Library 2.0, Part 3: Old Solutions to New Problems

I’m in my (very) late 20s. I am the youngest full-time employee at my library. I am 20 years younger than the next youngest librarian. Most of the full-time staff is in their 50s or older. We have one librarian in her 70s, and our veteran cataloger is almost 80! Both the paraprofessional position that I was initially hired into and the librarian slot I moved into after finishing my MLIS opened up due to retirements—about the only way we’ve had openings here for a while. It’s a little more obvious a generation gap at my library, but are these demographics sounding familiar to you?

When I came on board here, I had ideas, but was timid in sharing them. Here I was, a half-trained kid surrounded by people who had been doing this job all their lives. Our director came into his position the same year I started Kindergarten, for pete’s sake! Besides, I was worried about coming off as the stereotypical “cocky youngster”, throwing out dozens of half-baked ideas and annoying everyone. Plus, based on things I’d been reading and had seen in classes and my internship, there was a pretty bad cultural gap between the boomer librarians and the “nextgens”, a group that I obviously belonged to. And for all the grumping I saw in the blogosphere about those hidebound old boomers who refused to retire and who didn’t “grok” Library 2.0, it seemed like there was plenty of fault on both sides for the cultural gap.

First off, there was (and still is) some resentment on the part of younger librarians that the impending shortage of librarians is, well, still impending. While most people seem to understand the reasons behind this slow transition and are taking advantage of it to glean more knowledge from their seniors, it’s a lot less easy to be sanguine when you’re a job-seeker who can’t find an opening. Also for good or bad, we nextgens are used to instant access to information, a flat leadership structure, job mobility, constant change, and making an impact in our workplaces. All of this can make our senior colleagues a bit, well, wary. And this isn’t just generational, it’s human nature. How might you be tempted to react to some brand new student worker telling you that you were doing things all wrong? In any case, we have a situation as old as time, where the young distrust the old for allegedly being too bound by tradition, and the old distrust the young for allegedly ignoring their hard won wisdom. The end result is a divide running down the middle of our profession (and many others), and a shortage of people willing to do the work to bridge it.

Back to my new employer--there I was, in a position some of us might find familiar. I had lots of ideas, but I was also fully aware of just how ignorant I was about the basics of librarianship. Most of all, I didn’t want to alienate my new coworkers. So…what did I do? Fortunately, I didn’t assume that my new coworkers fit into the stereotype suggested by their birthdates. They also gave their new “young change agent” the benefit of the doubt. My first step was to learn as much as I could about how things were, before I started throwing out ideas about how things could be. I kept my ears and eyes open, my mouth shut (as much as possible), and LISTENED for the first month or so I was on the job. I learned about institutional history, office politics, the go-to people (and don’t go-to people) on campus, as well as the day-to-day tasks of library work that can’t be covered in any MLS program. In a nutshell, I showed everyone the respect they were entitled to, and was genuinely grateful for the information they were generously showering me with. When the time came when I had a few ideas of my own, my colleagues were ready to listen, and as enthusiastic about helping me with my ideas as I had been in assisting them with their projects. What could have become an unmanageable gulf is now an easily bridged stream. I won’t kid you and say there are never disagreements or misunderstandings, but there are remarkably few, and I am honored and humbled at how quickly this tight-knit band of librarians welcomed me into their fold.

Of course, what worked in a small academic library in flyover-land with less than 10 full-time staff might not work in your situation. However, I’ve learned a lot of things from my more experienced coworkers about customer service, reference interviewing, library instruction, and all the nuts and bolts of my job. So what if I handle the online students and am working with my new colleague (a boomer by birthday, but no less 2.0 aware than I am) to launch IM reference and a library blog? We’re doing the same things—and that’s the biggest thing I want to share about library 2.0 in this series of posts.

The core of librarianship, whether 1.0, 2.0, or whatever you want to call it, is connecting an information seeker with the information they seek. You use the best tools for that job, depending on the user’s needs or desires. Some will comment on your blog, build firefox extensions to search your OPAC and reserve books via the website, others will walk in to check out books and read the paper in the coffee bar. Most will fall somewhere in the middle. Our duty is to bridge divides. But how do we do that when we live with such wide chasms of technology, class, and age in our own community? To effectively unite our patrons with what they want, we must unite ourselves. I haven’t posted these articles because I’m a pessimist or a luddite, but because we can and must bridge these own divides in our own house before we can present a united front in the battles that we fight daily against price gouging vendors, frustrating software, an ignorant public, and politicians that challenge our patrons’ most basic rights to read and think independently. We have a lot of severe challenges on our plates, and we have GOT to stop the squabbling, listen to our less trendy fellows and start working together.

Our unique market position is that we are NOT google. We are not some corporation who makes its living on ad clicks and cares about popularity over quality (not dissing google here, just making a point). We provide our patrons with unbiased, apolitical, noncommercial access to information and opportunities to build communities to share that information FOR LITTLE OR NO CHARGE. In a world of commercials and spin, do you realize just how rare a commodity that is? THAT is the mission and message of Library 2.0. We are a haven from the world of spin. We are a refuge from the nonstop commercialization of our information sources. We are a community center in a culture that is being plied into solitude by millions of portable blinking screens. A Library is inherently a non-trendy, nonconformist and revolutionary place. That is our identity, and that is our strength. And if we stay true to those roots, while branching out into new ways to do our jobs, Library 2.0 can and will make libraries better places to be for a long time to come.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Problems with posting comments

Hey all,

I've heard from some folks that Blogger has been misbehaving and sending comments through sluggishly or not at all. Yet another reason to consider migrating to wordpress...but in the meantime, just keep trying, and I apologize for the inconvenience!