What are the Characteristics of a Great Boss?

A new session of Anne Cain’s popular 4-week course Introduction to Library Management will be starting on September 12th. Throughout the course, participants assess their strengths as a library manager and identify areas and opportunities for personal growth. The course, which is targeted at first time managers, includes a variety of practical exercises aimed at helping participants better understand the role and responsibilities of a manager.

In one assignment, for example, course participants are asked to think about a great boss or supervisor that they have had and then to identify the behaviors that person exemplified that were particularly effective.

Here are some of the behaviors that were shared in the spring 2017 Introduction to Library Management course.

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What do you think? Have you had a great boss (or bosses)? What characteristics made them great?

If you are a first time manager or supervisor (or if you’re considering moving into a management position) and want to learn more about how to be a great boss, consider enrolling in the course. Registration is open now.

Make a Plan for Learning

What will you learn in 2017? Have you set any professional learning goals? Plan On Monitor Shows Expectations

Creating a learning plan is something an individual, a team, or a community of practice can do. It is a way of communicating intentions and identifying action steps to be taken to achieve your learning goals. Achieving learning goals can make your work life more satisfying and it can ultimately lead to improved library services.

There are many different approaches to creating a learning plan, but this article will overview a simple three step process that may work for you.

  1. Reflect: What did you do in 2016? What did you learn? What changed in your community, organization, and department or with your position? Think more broadly, too, and also consider… How has the field changed? What new technologies, trends, or opportunities have you not yet explored? Consider these questions and critically think about your workplace performance and consider areas for growth. It may be useful to solicit input from peers or supervisors who are familiar with your job performance, too.
  2. Set Goals: Based upon your reflection, identify things you want or need to learn. Start by creating a long list of possibilities and then establish priorities. Looking at the strategic goals for your library, organization or community can help you determine the learning priorities that are most relevant. Discussions with your supervisor can also be key as you narrow down your list of learning possibilities. From your list, select 3-5 learning goals. Try to set goals that are ambitious, yet realistic.
  3. Identify Actions: For each goal, create an action plan. How will you achieve each learning goal? Will you take a course? Attend a webinar?  If so, we can help!
    • Infopeople’s Planned Training Calendar can help you identify learning opportunities.
    • If you want to receive email notices as courses and webinars are scheduled, you can sign up for the Infopeople training announcement list.
    • Having trouble finding a course or webinar that addresses your learning goals? Please use this form to make a training suggestion.
    • It’s critical that learning not stop at the end of the training. Applying what you have learned in your workplace is a vital action step to include in your plan. Infopeople training always emphasizes practical application.

Ready to start learning with us? Here are a few of our upcoming courses and webinars!

Online Courses (4 weeks, unless otherwise noted)
  • After School and Out-of-School Programming – Instructor: Lisa Shaia
  • Adult Literacy Programs – Instructor: Jane Salisbury
  • Technology Planning – Instructor: Diana Silveira
  • Widgets and Tweaks: Tools for spicing up old websites and blogs (2 week course) – Instructor: Rita Gavelis
  • Introduction to Library Management – Instructor: Anne Cain
  • Serving People with Mental Illness at Your Library – Instructor: Josh Berk
  • Developing Effective Library Partnerships – Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
  • Beyond Cataloging: RDA – Instructor: Emily Nimsakont
  • Emotional Intelligence (Part 1) – Instructor: Catherine McHugh
  • Programs for Emerging Adults – Instructor: Audrey Barbakoff
  • All Work is Team Work (LSSC) – Instructor: Cheryl Gould
  • Customer Service Challenges- Instructor: Mary Ross
  • Supervisory Success – Instructor: Sarah Flowers
  • Staying on Top of Technology – Instructor: David Lee King
  • Re-Defining Safe at Work – Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk
Webinars (1 hour)
  • Historypin: Connecting Communities with Local History – Presenter(s): Kerry Young
  • What’s New in Children’s Literature 2017 – Presenter(s): Penny Peck
  • Informational Books for Storytime – Presenter(s): Penny Peck
  • What’s New in Young Adult Literature 2017 – Presenter(s): Michael Cart

If you would like to receive email notices as registration for these courses and webinars opens, please sign up for the Infopeople training announcement list.

We’re Better Together

Most Infopeople online courses are structured so that an individual signs up, completes the course assignments, participates in discussions, and receives a certificate of completion at the end. However, for the upcoming Building an Effective Learning Culture (BELC) initiative, we’re asking people to sign up in teams of 3 – 5 people from a single library or library system. Why are we employing a team approach for this initiative? There are numerous benefits!

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And… it will be a whole lot of fun!

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Want to learn more about the initiative?

  • A 3 minute video introduction to learning cultures
  • A one-hour webinar Building an Effective Learning Culture
  • The project web page and registration form
  • Sign up to be sent email updates about the project

Building a Culture that Supports Learning

Here at Infopeople, we’re 100% focused on providing continuing education and professional development opportunities for library staff. It’s what we do! Every year we offer hundreds of training events for more than 5,000 people. We regularly and routinely ask those 5000 people for feedback regarding our courses, but we also ask them for feedback and insights about overall learning and training needs in libraries. It’s a huge opportunity for us to learn about workplace learning and what works… and what doesn’t.

Over the years we’ve noticed something interesting. On one side, we hear from library staff who wish for more support for their learning. We also hear from library administrators who wish they knew how to motivate their staff to prioritize learning. Ultimately, everyone wants the same thing. It’s based in awareness that our learning and growth will result in our ability to better serve the ever-changing needs in our communities. It’s important!

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Learning is at the heart of what libraries do, yet we don’t always prioritize our own learning. Meaningful learning in a library is more than a single course or a single person. It’s a culture. That’s why Infopeople is excited to be developing a new initiative called Building an Effective Learning Culture. This 3-minute video describes what we mean by “learning culture”.

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We’re trying some exciting new things with this program:

  • Unlike the typical online course, participants will register in teams from a single library or library system, and will do work individually and in groups.
  • It will include virtual mentoring.
  • It will focus on new delivery methods that are divided into bite-sized chunks.

This pilot initiative will launch in January and run through June of 2017. Application materials will be available soon. Interested in learning more? You can stay current with this new initiative by filling out this form to join our mailing list. You can also register to attend a webinar we’re hosting on November 1st, which will talk more about this important topic and how your library can get involved in the initiative.

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Libraries Seeking Solutions and Serving Communities

Arsolutionse you seeking solutions? If you look at Infopeople’s planned training calendar for 2016/2017, you will see a number of learning opportunities for those seeking to address important challenges in their libraries and communities.

Make a plan for learning! We encourage you to review the options and to make a plan for learning. Which 4-week courses or 1-hour webinars address the topics that are a priority for you? Consider divvying up topics among staff members and then sharing what you learn with one another. To be alerted when registration opens for these options, subscribe to the IFPTraining email list.

November 2016: Active Shooter Policies for Libraries

In this one-hour webinar, participants will learn what an active shooter situation is and how to respond (run, hide, fight). Active shooter policies will be covered, including emergency/disaster, communication, and evacuation plans. Best practices for training library staff will also be included.

Instructor: Mary Soucie is the State Librarian of North Dakota. The North Dakota State Library was one of the first state agencies in North Dakota to write active shooter procedures, with assistance from the ND Highway Patrol.

January 2017: Social Services in the Library

In this one-hour webinar, participants will hear from Elissa Hardy, a social worker working in the Denver Public Library. Denver City Librarian Michelle Jeske said the position is focused on the following outcomes, “To connect people who are at risk with services they need, remove barriers, and we want to do that while making the library a safer, more comfortable place for everyone.”

Instructor: Elissa Hardy, a social worker, is the community resource specialist at the Denver Public Library. In this role, she is making an impact in a way that’s helping many library patrons and also her coworkers.

February 2017: Libraries Services for Patrons Experiencing Homelessness

In this four-week course, participants will learn to provide meaningful library services to library patrons experiencing homelessness. Are you concerned about how to balance the needs of all your library users? Do you find yourself questioning the rules and policies of your library related to those experiencing homelessness but aren’t sure how to create good alternatives? Using real life examples, this course will provide you with the tools you need to navigate the world of services to people experiencing homelessness, helping you figure out your library’s place in that world.

Instructor: As a librarian, Julie Ann Winkelstein worked in a range of positions, from jails and prison librarian to Family Literacy coordinator to children’s and young adult librarian. In 2012 she received her PhD in Communication and Information from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where her research topic was homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) and public libraries. Since 2008 she has taught online and face-to-face undergraduate and graduate courses in children’s and young adult literature, as well as courses in race and gender.

April 2017: Serving People with Mental Illness at Your Library

In this four-week course, the instructor will share a practical, compassionate and understanding approach to the delivery of library services to patrons who have a mental illness. Gain the information and tools needed to better understand mental illnesses. Look at examples of the challenges faced by libraries and their patrons, and learn from the exemplary approach some libraries are taking as they seek to meet the challenges.

Instructor: Josh Berk is the Executive Director of the Bethlehem (PA) Area Public Library. He is actively involved in mental health training in public libraries. He is also the author of four books for children and young adults.

May 2017: Customer Service Challenges

In this four-week course, participants will develop an understanding of and skills to deal with a range of difficult behaviors from merely annoying to potentially harmful. Prevention and proactive approaches will be shared. Library policies and procedures will be covered. Special issues related to safety in small or minimally-staffed libraries will be included.

Instructor: Mary Ross has over 25 years of experience working in public libraries as a children’s and adult services librarian and as a branch manager. She managed the staff training and development program at the Seattle Public Library for eight years. While working at Seattle Public Library she implemented a training program for all staff on dealing with difficult patron behavior. She has helped hundreds of library staff members learn how to safely manage difficult and disruptive patron behavior.

June 2017: Re-Defining Safe at Work

In this four-week course, participants will explore how libraries can develop safe and respectful service environments and workplace cultures. Policies and procedures, job descriptions and performance expectations, behavior and discipline rules, and safety guidelines will be covered. Participants will be encouraged to look at the current conditions in their library – including signage, bathrooms, and parking lots – to assess and make plans for improvement. Everyone, from administrators to staff to customers, can contribute to creating a safe and respectful environment.

Instructor: Catherine Hakala-Ausperk is a 31-year Ohio public library veteran, with experience in everything from direct customer service to management and administration. She is the author of several books including Be a Great Boss, Build a Great Team, and Renew Yourself! A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work.