Bringing Health, Beauty, and Fun to Your Local Library with Guest Blogger Tabitha Washington, Gadsden County Public Libraries

By Guest Blogger Tabitha Washington, Gadsden County Public Libraries

About 3 years ago I decided I wanted to bring a health and beauty series to the Gadsden County Public Libraries. The communities that we serve have a lot of women who are looking to improve themselves physically. So I decided to incorporate Zumba first to help with the fitness aspect. I attend classes on my own in Tallahassee, so I reached out to my instructor, and she was more than willing to help. Zumba has been successful at the libraries for a couple of years.

I next decided I wanted to do something out the box for the women of Gadsden County. I called in a few favors from friends with various talents and put on a makeup glam and a hair seminar. My personal hair stylist is Aveda-trained in hair, makeup, and eyelash extensions. Together we put together two amazing programs for women. The presentations both included PowerPoint presentations, hands-on tutorials, sample products, and a live demonstration (with me as the model). Guests had a chance to ask questions, take notes, and there was even a drawing for door prizes. I was also able to obtain nice refreshments from a local caterer at little to no cost. Both events were well attended and greatly appreciated. I scheduled them close to Mother’s Day in 2017 and 2018, to draw more women in.

A month prior to the event, I had a poster-size flyer made of the event. I also had a display table made as a teaser to the event. The day of Ladies Glam Night, the meeting room was decorated in pink and black. I used plastic tablecloths from Walmart and made the tables look like gift boxes. On each table were containers with eye pencils, concealer, sponges, toner, and wipes. These items were used for participants to practice drawing eyebrows on each other. The beauty consultant gave them a demo and later went around and assisted the guests.

The grand finale was the live full makeup demonstration featuring me! I got a full face of makeup, false eyelashes, and my hair curled. I thoroughly enjoyed getting glammed up, and my library patrons did, too!

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From Clueless to Coding! with Guest Blogger Rebecca Jones, Wakulla County Public Library

By Rebecca Jones, Wakulla County Public Library

I have been the Youth and Children’s Services Specialist II at the Wakulla County Public Library for a little over 3 years. Part of my job has been to add programs and ensure that current programs evolve as we grow. Over the last three years, we have had some wonderful programs and seen several grow and split into other things.

Sphero logoOur STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) program is one of those programs. We started with science experiments and cool (but cheap) building challenges. We eventually added Sphero robots to the mix, and they were a big hit. Due to the interest in them, our Kids Coding program was created.

Taking on a coding program is no small feat! The biggest problem for any library is the cost to run or start a new program. In order to start a kids coding class, it needed to cost next to nothing.

I already had robots, which was a good start, and access to our library’s computer lab, which was another piece of the puzzle! Lastly, I needed to learn how to code, because honestly I was clueless! Lucky for me I found a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through Coursera for Scratch programming. Scratch is a free program created by the MIT Media Lab that teaches block coding for beginners and kids.

With the online training and a few books, I was able to start a coding class. The class started small and required kids and parents to sign up because the computer lab only has 11 computers, making that my maximum class size. We have class once a week for five weeks. Each class is an hour long. In 5 weeks, the kids make a computer game using Scratch and learn how to program the robots to go through a maze that is taped out on the floor. The kids look forward to working with the robots, and saving them for the last two classes is a good motivator for them to learn how to code.

I am a prime example of the possibility of starting a class on something you know little to nothing about. You just need to be willing to learn, able to put in the time studying it, and be ready to have fun!

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Joint Conference for Librarians of Color by Guest Blogger Bridgett Birmingham, FSU Libraries

Photo of 3 librariansBy Bridgett Birmingham, FSU Libraries

The third Joint Conference for Librarians of Color (JCLC) was held this year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The event is organized by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association; REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking; the American Indian Library Association; the Chinese American Librarians Association; and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association. Although it is affiliated with the American Library Association (ALA), ALA membership is not a requirement to be a part of either JCLC or the associated caucuses. JCLC’s purpose statement is: “To promote librarianship within communities of color, support literacy and the preservation of history and cultural heritage, collaborate on common issues, and to host the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color every four to five years.”

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a librarian of color to attend. Many of the sessions addressed serving populations of color or with specific literary needs and those methods are of use to librarians in any community. In my role as the Diversity and Inclusion librarian at Florida State University (FSU), I felt fairly well versed in diversity and inclusion topics before going to the conference. I was surprised by just how much I learned over the course of three days and how often my eyes were opened to new ways of looking at issues. For instance, at FSU we run a very popular and very successful Hackathon each year in conjunction with our students. A Hackathon is a 48-hour event where people come together to prototype a new design or create software, usually in a group or team environment. Prior to attending JCLC, it would not have occurred to me to assess the barriers for participation in an all-night event for working parents or those with medical needs. That is one of the benefits of going to a conference like this: there are always opportunities to reflect on your practices and look for ways to improve them.

Logo of the Joint Council of Librarians of ColorThe sessions were great and varied in their topics but one other aspect of JCLC that I appreciated as a librarian of color was interacting with other librarians of color. At the conference, we could discuss microaggressions or challenges that arise from not having the same cultural touchpoints as other librarians. Many sessions ended with brainstorming or Q&A where members of the audience worked collaboratively to solve problems or give advice.

Librarians of all ages, genders, and backgrounds were treated like experts and valued for their unique experiences. Partly that might stem from the types of people that are drawn to a conference to discuss diversity and inclusion with a thousand other people from all over the Americas, but I was impressed with the spirit of inclusion that infused the conference.

I would highly recommend anyone that is even slightly interested attend the next JCLC conference. The conference was definitely a highlight of my year. The next JCLC won’t happen for another four to five years so you have a bit of time to make your decision. I, for one, will be going.

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Share Your Knowledge with Your Peers with a PLAN Blog Post!

Do you have something to share with your peers? We’re looking for people to write blog posts. You do not need to be a professional writer – you just have to be able to string 300 to 1000 words together, and hopefully provide a photograph or other graphic with your post.

You can write about topics such as:

  • How you are helping new students adjust to college
  • Serving autistic patrons
  • [Software program] tips and tricks
  • Archival tips for non-archivists
  • Readers’ advisory
  • How to find government resources
  • Understanding blockchain
  • Any cool apps, software, extensions, etc., that you want to share
  • Any great book you read
  • Any fun programs (adult, seniors, kids)
  • Special collections (cake pans, ukuleles, seed library, Internet of Things, iPads, etc.)

We will issue a new blog post every Monday. Please sign up for a date between October 1st and September 30th on the shared spreadsheet. Please put your name, library/organization, and your general topic on the spreadsheet. Dates are first come, first served!

Anyone can write a blog post like this:

Cover of book The Strange Case of the Alchemist's DaughterI recently discovered a great series by Theodora Goss. So far, there are only two books in the series, which is based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, but I am hooked!

In the first book, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club Book 1), we meet Mary Jekyll, daughter of Dr. Jekyll (yes, THAT Dr. Jekyll), who is now alone in the world. Her father is dead (or is he???) and her mother recently passed away as well. Mary discovers that her mother had been sending money for the upkeep of Diana Hyde, daughter of Mr. Hyde (yes, THAT Mr. Hyde). Throw in Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson along with Beatrice Rappaccini (who is poisonous), Catherine Moreau (the cat-woman), and Justine Frankenstein (estranged wife of Frankenstein’s Creature), who are all daughters of other “scientists” who have performed experiments on them, and this is a great story!

The second book, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club Book 2), follows Mary and the others as they seek to save Lucinda Van Helsing, daughter of Professor Van Helsing (yes, THAT Van Helsing), who has had horrific experiments performed on her. The “monstrous gentlewomen” dash across Europe from Paris to Vienna to Budapest in a race against time to save Lucinda and confront the secretive Alchemical Society.

I hope you will write a blog post and share your knowledge with your peers in the Panhandle!

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Linda’s Bookbag – and upcoming webinars!

Hello everyone,

August is upon us, soon to be followed by “back to school” (I’ve talked to some who are already there!), then the whirlwind of the holiday season and a brand-new year already.

This month, I’d like to share a book title that is almost two decades old – and although there are many great books on communication, the topic of listening is more important now than ever before. The book, “Listen Up,” by Larry Barker and Kittie Watson was published in 2000, almost in the last century! And yet, when I think of that book, I realize the art of listening has never been so sorely missing in our society as it is today.

We know there are many distractions that keep us from listening: we aren’t really all that interested in what someone is saying (!); we’re bored; the speaker intimidates us, so we can’t stay focused; our email alert just went off drawing our attention away; we don’t like the person speaking; the speaker’s vocal tone; we’ve already heard this story; we have a headache; it’s too hot – or too cold – to pay attention; or maybe a butterfly just flew by the window and mesmerized us…you get the idea. It can be tough to pay attention and actually listen.

In years past, one of the biggest reasons researchers found for why we didn’t listen well was that we were thinking about what we wanted to say. Even if we were trying to think of something that would make the person speaking more comfortable or bring them comfort over a sad or difficult situation, if we were thinking about something else, we couldn’t have been listening well. It was that simple. And it still is.

Sadly, though, there is a “new,” ubiquitous item that seems to have taken over every ounce of our listening skills. Want to guess what that is? Yep, it’s the “smart” phone, which can sometimes make us look anything but smart.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not sure I could live without my phone, especially when I travel. And I don’t even want to try. But I have been reading more and more research that asserts that our phones are decreasing our communication skills, including how well we listen. For example, a recent study by Qualtrics and Accel found that Millennials check their phones as much as 150 times a day. Why wouldn’t they? They are the epitome of digital natives and that seems as natural to them as speaking to someone they meet for lunch. Just three years ago, studies showed that people in that group checked their phones “only” 74 times a day. But those of us who aren’t Millennials aren’t off the hook, either. Other studies are showing that people of all ages are beginning to show signs of addiction to their phones. It’s tough to be a good listener if we constantly have our ears tuned to the dinging of a text message.

So let me ask you a ridiculous question. What would happen if we became addicted to really listening to others? Hearing the emotions – or the unspoken words – rather than just the noise coming at us from the other person? Do you think that might impact our relationships? Our workplaces? Our own thought processes and perspectives on our world?

I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t create some element of change in how we interact with others and I believe that change would be positive.

Whether you read the book or not, please consider how becoming a better listener could positively affect your life – and the lives of those around you. Becoming a better listener isn’t about agreeing with everything others say. It’s simply about…you know – listening to them!

And don’t forget to check PLAN’s training calendar. We’ve got some great webinars coming up for you in August:

  • August 14 – Cranky Coworkers and Other Difficult Behaviors
  • August 17 – How to Handle That Dreaded Discipline Problem
  • August 28 – Lessons for Lifelong Learning (part of the PLAN Library 101 Series)

And surprise! Becoming a better listener could help with every one of those topics.

Be sure to login and register for these August training sessions!

Hope to “see” you soon!


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Linda’s Bookbag – and Upcoming Webinars!

Photo of a stack of books topped with a cup of teaHello everyone,

Wow – it’s hard to imagine that we are nearing the halfway point of the year! Time flies, as they say, and whether we are whining or winning as the days go by sometimes depends on our mindset.

And that’s exactly what I’d like to talk about this month. Mindset, a book by Carol S. Dweck, has over a million copies in print. So, I’m guessing there may be a lot of people who know they need to be aware of their own mindset – and many of us who may need some work in that area.

In the book, Carol talks about a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. I think we can all grasp that concept without a lot of explanation. Do you think things will always remain the same for you regarding what you are able to do or learn or are you continually looking for ways to grow? The tagline for the book is “How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential,” which definitely requires a growth mindset.

But I’d like to expand on the word “mindset” just a bit. A growth mindset is a worthy ideal as a long-term view for our entire lives, but what about that ol’ day-to-day grind we sometimes have to deal with? Life does happen, after all, and it can be challenging (and sometimes nearly impossible!) to keep focused on moving forward to fulfill our potential. There are times we need to just put one foot in front of the other and deal with whatever life brings our way in the moment.

We have a couple of webinars coming up in June that can help you in those areas. The first one I’d like to mention is one of my favorites (I know I say that about a lot of my programs – because I love what I do 😊). It’s called “Leave Your Stress @ Work!” and it’s scheduled for June 1 at 2 p.m. CT. We’ll talk about just that – how do I leave my stress at work? We may even talk about not bringing our home stress TO work! I love doing this webinar because it helps ME be more aware of how those little dribs and drabs of life may be causing stress – stress that sometimes just lurks in the background causing a feeling of dis-ease. How can I be positive and have a growth mindset when that’s happening? So, let’s discuss a list of things we can do that will help us realize we sometimes have more control over our stress than we give ourselves credit for!

The second webinar that might be helpful for some of us is “Patience: How to Get It, How to Keep It,” scheduled for June 15 at 2 p.m. CT. In our social-media/technology/instant-on world, patience seems to be less and less available – or perhaps we just aren’t paying attention to the idea that we have lost our patience. Another area in which I’m always happy to have a reminder. I have two ornery cats and a sweet but sometimes stubborn dog, and they can try my patience every now and then! It never hurts to be reminded that we also have control over whether we choose to live in a state of impatience. And it is a choice, isn’t it?

I hope you’ll register for both webinars – I’m sure you’ll find a tip or two that will help you be your best self. Oh…and a little teaser for you…in August (the 28th at 2 p.m. CT), we’ll be talking about “Lessons for Lifelong Learning” as part of the PLAN Library 101 series. Now THAT’S a growth mindset!

Enjoy spring and I’ll “see” you soon!


P.S. We have a few other webinars sprinkled throughout the summer months, so be sure to check PLAN’s training calendar!

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Interview with Jurate Burns, Director of the Destin Library

One of PLAN’s long-time supporters has announced her retirement. Jurate Burns, Director of the Destin Library will be retiring this Spring after 19 years as the Library Director in Destin. She is looking forward to her post-retirement plans that include spending more time with her grandchildren in South Carolina and travel to Lithuania where her parents were from. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jurate about her career in librarianship and her time at the Destin Library….

Why did you choose librarianship as a career?
I sort of fell into it. I was teaching 9th grade English while my husband was in law school at University of Alabama in the mid-1970s. Since I rarely saw him in the evenings, I started flipping through the University catalog looking for advanced degree programs and read about the MLS program, which sounded interesting.

When did you get your MLS degree?
I received my Masters of Library Service (MLS) from the University of Alabama in 1975, which was the year they received their ALA accreditation (making them the 50th ALA accredited program in North America). I was also selected by the faculty to receive the Dean Hoole award for excellence.

What was your first job in a library?
I volunteered throughout middle school and again as an adult. We moved to Destin in 1979 and I was asked to be Destin’s librarian in 1980. This was a volunteer position, as there were no paid staff until a few years later, and that was a paraprofessional position. I resigned when my youngest child was born as he needed my undivided attention. The City of Destin took the library on as a department in 1989, and it was not until 1999 that I came on board as the Library director.

What were the facilities, staffing, and services at the Destin Library like when you became its director?
With the exception of two paid staff (our cataloger and an administrative assistant) we still depended greatly on volunteers to run the front desk, shelve books, etc. The library was located on Stahlman Avenue in what is now the Destin Fishing and History Museum. Nothing was automated and there was a door connecting to a Thrift Shop which supplemented the library budget.

I immediately threw myself into straightening up and updating everything. I had marvelous staff and volunteers who made the transformation possible. We closed the thrift shop and expanded into the space with a reference section. We got internet access and some computers for the public to use. It was a steep learning curve for me, as I was a novice Windows 95 user at this time.

My first day as Library Director, April 27, 1999, I had to attend an evening City Council meeting, during which I persuaded the council to reverse themselves on their decision to not join the two year old library cooperative. Council had done so at the previous director’s request, as he was afraid all of our books would end up at other libraries and our shelves would be stripped bare. The Council readily saw the wisdom of shared collections and cash flowing into City coffers from the County in return for this cooperation.

Our next blessing arrived on the library’s doorstep one fine May morning in 1999 when Bill Conniff, the director of PLAN then, showed up offering to pay for our retrospective conversion. I was dumbfounded and accepted the offer. With lots of volunteer help, we wrote the ISBN numbers of 40,000 volumes onto their respective shelf list cards and shipped the whole shelf list to Autographics in California. Several months later our barcodes came in and were applied by enterprising staff and volunteers.

What is the library like now regarding facilities, staffing, and services?
We are always trying to keep abreast of trending emerging technologies and changing patron needs. We were able to use library impact fees to carve out space for two small study rooms and a digital media lab. Thanks to PLAN innovation grants, we have managed to equip our lab with state of the art equipment and software. For a fairly compact facility (13,327 square feet) we have utilized our space very efficiently. Staffing has remained steady at 7.25 FTE’s. This is adequate in terms of numbers, but it is time to consider some re-organization of job titles and duties.

What notable accomplishments during your years at the Destin library would you like to tell about?
Working with the architects at DAG in the design of this building was a most gratifying experience. I was able to choose colors, finishes, fabrics, etc. as well as having input into the space allocation. Even 15 years after we opened, the pleasant feeling of working in these environs has not worn off. The live oaks on our grounds add to the entire experience, as do the bronze statues purchased by our Friends Guild.

Tell us about mentoring and training your staff:
I come from a family which places value on education and culture above monetary gain, so I have always encouraged staff to attend PLAN workshops and webinars. OCPLC, our cooperative, also has annual continuing education days and scholarships to assist in conference attendance.

You have been a very effective advocate for your library over the years. How did you accomplish this? 
I have never hesitated to contact our local legislators in person and discuss the impact libraries have in our communities. There have been three legislators who know me and with whom I feel comfortable having very direct conversations, like:  Senator Charlie Clary, Senator Don Gaetz, and Representative Matt Gaetz. Now that Matt Gaetz is in Washington, I have asked him to make sure that IMLS is fully funded, so that we can get the trickle down money we Florida libraries depend on. I am also confident I helped the multi-type cooperatives maintain a decent level of funding in most fiscal years. This was based on mutual trust and my imparting key information to the legislators as well as inviting them to our PLAN Annual meetings.

How did you demonstrate the value of your library to your funding agencies?
By telling them what we are doing, what we can do for them before asking for more money.

What advice do you have for new/young library directors regarding…

…approaching government officials about funding for the library?
Everyone has a different style, so stay with a comfortable elevator speech, and be ready to answer tougher questions if asked.

…working with town/city officials?
Keep in mind that almost everyone has a warm and fuzzy memory of their childhood library and reading. Our job is to build on that feeling while informing them of what we really do in libraries nowadays.

…working with library boards and friends groups?
They are there to help, so use that good will, and thank them often for all they do.

How did you attract and keep good staff?
Keeping part time staff is difficult unless they have no need of benefits, and have another means of support. All too often part-time staff are looking at full-time positions. We use a team approach in hiring interviews that seems to work most of the time. If only we had a crystal ball…. I also try to assign non-routine tasks and projects to everyone so that they do not get bored and burn out.

How do you stay up to date, and keep your staff up to date, with new technology and trends in librarianship?
PLAN helps us more than any other single source. I also subscribe to (and read) Computers in Libraries, Library Journal, Public Library Journal, and American Libraries.

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ACRL Council’s Midwinter Discussion of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity

ACRL LogoGuest post by Michelle Demeter, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Services at Florida State University Libraries

This weekend the release of Black Panther smashed a number of records for attendance and revenue.[1] Considering the film’s impactful story and characters, many people in the media and across social media hailed its introduction as the beginning of a much-needed cultural and social sea change. There are numerous studies documenting the importance of films offering characters that people can identify with and how they can impact how people think and act.

Walt Hickey, a writer for fivethirtyeight, offers a unique look at one character, Shuri, who especially redefines what representation in film can accomplish.[2] Shuri, played by Letitia Wright, is a strong black woman who is not only a princess but a technological phenom who develops tech that outclasses anything the West has even dared to imagine let alone actually create. Hickey cites several other films that positively impacted the STEM fields, noting the rise in archeologists, paleontologists, and engineers following the release of Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Star Trek. Perhaps the only thing more astonishing than the success of Black Panther and its resoundingly positive reception is the fact it has taken the film industry this long to get it right. Similar criticism was levied when Wonder Woman hit theaters in Summer 2017.

So what does this all have to do with libraries? As it turns out, quite a lot.

While libraries position themselves as neutral and inclusive, there are several reports that would contradict this narrative. Library staffing is still predominantly white, and several initiatives have been launched by the American Library Association (ALA) and recently the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) to address the discrepancies in our own profession.[3] At 2018 Midwinter, ACRL Leadership Council spent about half of its meeting discussing the current landscape of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in academic libraries.

Key in these discussions was a worksheet that included the following questions:

  • What are the EDI initiatives being implemented at your libraries (e.g., policies, collection development, teaching approaches, etc.)
  • What campus-level EDI initiatives are in place at your institutions, and how have they affected your libraries?
  • What are any library or campus-level incidents of EDI-related intimidation or harassment that have occurred at your institutions, and how have these incidents affected the library?

These three questions allowed for some very intense and honest discussions at my table. We all talked about how gender, age, race, religion, and sexual orientation have been issues at our libraries and the campuses at large. Many of us, all women but only two women of color, discussed personal experiences with outright contradictions of EDI or microaggressions in one or more of the above categories, and it became obvious we have problems despite our best efforts.

During the course of our discussion, honesty, trust, and safety emerged as common concerns. We all felt it was important to be honest with one another and our administrators, but most of us felt that was impossible as we did not feel it was safe to do so. Several woman at my table voiced concerns about how to best help coworkers understand how some well-intentioned actions or words may have prevented women and people of color from speaking their minds. Many feared being labeled as “touchy,” or “angry,” or “motivated by emotions.” Others worried they would be seen as less able to be a leader. While I listened to my peers, I became conflicted because I have felt the same way many times and I was both glad I was not alone in the experience but saddened because it was such a prevalent occurrence and seems to be continuing despite our best efforts.

However, at one point while discussing age-related microaggressions, one woman recognized something she said to a coworker and was astonished to hear that it may have offended her coworker. She expressed genuine regret and vowed to be more careful, even if making what she thought was a joke. Because we established a safe environment of honesty and trust earlier in the meeting, we all felt empowered to say things we may have otherwise shied from. This is the type of open dialogue we need to help foster and promote in our libraries, both among our coworkers and the patrons we serve.

Despite this misleadingly simple answer, the main question that remains is how do we continue to affect real change and try to address the issues at our institutions? Certainly libraries are moving in the right direction by offering changes in hiring practices where we make statements on diversity, equity, and inclusion part of the application, and ask applicants to provide their own statements in addition to answering EDI questions during the interviews. HR-led trainings were another lauded option.

Two of the most-cited initiatives were the creation of library-led diversity teams and diversity residency positions, two directives my institution of Florida State University recently began. We recently opened three librarian positions and are expecting to have them filled and running by this summer. And not to be contrarian because these initiatives are all helpful in their own way, but what would it take to get the profession to the point where these sorts of actions are unnecessary because they are a natural part of our professional lives?

It is heartening that ACRL is interested in what it can do to help move the needle on the conversation and actual change. Many suggestions were given including ACRL-led trainings, web tools, and documents to help librarians learn and grow as individuals. It is encouraging that ACRL led this discussion, and it was evident that each table was equally interested in actionable outcomes as they listed further ways to improve hiring practices, collection building, and coworker/patron interactions. Once the ideas are worked out, I am optimistic that we will see the changes in equity, diversity, and inclusion that many in the library profession have been waiting so long to experience.

[1] Scott Mendelson, “‘Black Panther’: All the Box Office Records It broke and Almost broke in its $235 million Debut,” Forbes, accessed 2/20/18 at

[2] Walt Hickey, “‘Black Panther’ Is Groundbreaking but Its Shuri Who Could Change the World” accessed 2/20/2018 at

[3] ALA, “Recruiting for Diversity” accessed 2/20/2018 at ALA, “Diversity Counts,” accessed 2/20/2018 at and its main page regarding Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at


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Linda’s Bookbag for a New Year!

Hello everyone,

Target with arrows captioned goal settingHere we are, early in a brand-new year. The most-commonly spoken word at this time of year may very well be the word “resolution,” the definition of which is “a firm resolve to do or not do something.” Considering that very generic explanation, there are days that I tend to make resolutions several times in one day 😊.

So I tend to avoid that word and would rather focus on the word “goal,” “an aim or desired result.” And since we have a 2-part webinar series coming up titled, “Ready, Set, Goal!” (February 16 and February 23), I wanted to talk about how our behavioral tendencies (or personalities) can affect our desire to set goals and our motivation to work toward them.

Many of you know that I present workshops on behavioral tendencies based on the Florence Littauer book and assessment titled, “Wired That Way.” Other words that are sometimes used to describe our behavioral tendencies are “personalities” or “temperaments.” Whatever word you choose to describe how differently we move through the world as individuals, I think we can all agree that our innate behaviors are tendencies and not etched in stone. That means there’s hope for any of those less-desirable tendencies we might have!

So let’s look at some of our differences when it comes to setting goals and why that process can be challenging for each of the styles.

The “popular” behavioral tendency, that person who loves people and fun, may struggle a bit with goal-setting, unless the goal is to have fun 😊. More serious goals can put a damper on living life to its fullest for these folks. They may need to have a very specific step-by-step process to achieve goals and may find it easier to tackle those goals in chunks, which is actually helpful for many of us.

The “powerful” behavioral tendency, that person who is ALL about the goal, may become a bit obsessed with achieving goals, competing, or simply getting it done! They can sometimes choose chasing goals in lieu of actually living life. Unlike other styles, powerfuls may need to step back from the pursuit of goals from time to time to stop and smell the roses.

The “perfect” behavioral tendency, the person who wants to make sure everything is, well…perfect, can sometimes get tunnel vision and not even realize there is an end goal in play. It’s all about the specifics, the logistics, the details – so much so, that progress toward the goal can be painfully slow or even worse, non-existent. The perfects among us may need to realize that a goal achieved is progress and we all need progress, not necessarily perfection.

The “peaceful” behavioral tendency, the person who likes things consistent, nice and easy, and a steady routine, can struggle with even finding a reason we should set goals. Why make life so challenging when the important things eventually – usually! – get done. The peacefuls may need to realize their own goals are often connected to the goals of others – and not accomplishing their goals can affect whether others are able to do so.

As you can see, setting goals and achieving those goals can be challenging to every one of us. That’s why you’ll want to register for that upcoming webinar series I mentioned earlier (Part 1 and Part 2). As a matter of fact, why not make that your resolution for today? 😊 Hope to see you there!

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A New Year – A Better Way of Evaluating the Impact of Our Training Programs

Happy 2018! The beginning of a new year offers us the opportunity to begin anew by examining the past and making plans for changes in the days, weeks and months to come.  What a gift for us as individuals and organizations.

In November of 2017, I completed an extensive three-day training course by the Kirkpatrick Partners on the 4 Levels of Training Evaluation. For many years, the Kirkpatrick family (Father, Son and Daughter) have been challenging the training world to “go deeper” in our evaluation processes, and in-turn to reap the rewards of training as a process, versus training as an event…a one day or hour and done experience.

In their book The Four Levels of Training Evaluation, they detail the four levels of evaluation as:

Level One: Reaction (Did they like the training/trainer/room/food)

Level Two: Learning (What did they learn? Were the training materials relevant/useful?

Level Three: Behavior (Applying what they learned)

Level Four: Results (How did the behavior change affect the business)

Most training programs evaluate their results at Level One and Level Two, partially because those levels are the easiest to measure, and because many organizations see training as an “event”, and not as a process that will go on months after the training day.

The problem with not “digging deeper” as the Kirkpatrick’s encourage us to do, is that we truly do not know that impact of our training dollars, time and resources. We can feel proud that “x” amount of people attended our training and that they had a good experience. We can also point to pre and post test results and surveys to measure what they attendees learned.

But, so what? Did they apply what the learned? Did their behavior change? Did the behavior change lead to the desired results? (Goals achieved…etc?)

In a program that I co-presented with Terry McQuown from the King County Public Library at ALA and the Washington Library Association Conference in 2017 titled “Making Training Stick for Supervisors”, we discussed the impact that the supervisor can have in application of the information learned, and taking our training evaluation to Level 3 and beyond. I recommend that you listen to the webinar that Terry and I recently presented for Infopeople to learn more:
Here is the link to the webinar

As you get ready to launch your next training program, I hope you will give the planning of the evaluation of your training as much time and thought as you give to the training itself.

Find ways to change your organizational thinking about what training is and isn’t. Training should not be a one and done event…instead, it should be viewed as a process. And training is definitely NOT about Level 1 (Reaction) and Level 2 (Learning) results. How will you evaluate your training based on Application and Behavior Change? How will you measure what is really important, and not what just looks good and is easy to measure?

If you have any questions about the Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels Model, please email me at I’m happy to share the knowledge I have learned and am continuing to learn as I consult with libraries and other organizations on getting more bang for our training dollars. And do use the link above for our archived webinar. You just might find yourself thinking about training evaluation in a new way — for the new year.

Note: Be sure to join Andrew’s upcoming webinar “Effective Workplace Communication Skills for New(er) Supervisors and Managers” on February 2nd at 10:00 Central Time. For more information and to register, follow this link…

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