By Meredith Farkas | October 26, 2010
When I looked at the list of items I wanted to share with you and saw the number that were from one blog, I realized that I really should just say READ MUSINGS ABOUT LIBRARIANSHIP!!! Nearly every post Aaron Tay has written has been insanely useful for me either in sharing with my LIS students, developing presentations, or using his ideas in my daily work. I can say without a doubt that this blog has probably influenced my work in the past year more than any other. His posts provide fantastic practical advice and examples from libraries (many of which I’ve never seen highlighted elsewhere). Just in the past three weeks he has written a number of fabulous posts: 12 User points of need – where to place your services online, Adding your library catalogue results next to Google results using WebMynd, and Putting services at user’s point of need – my take. So instead of talking about everything he’s written that’s awesome I’ll just say, visit his blog. Subscribe. And check out the archives. I’ll bet that very few of my readers won’t get something out of his posts.
10 Ways Twitter Will Make You a Better Employee, Better at Your Job and Benefit Your Library by Bobbi Newman at Librarian by Day – I wish I could show this to all of the people I know who think that Twitter is just people writing about what they’re having for lunch and other minutiae of their lives. Bobbi describes some of the wonderful professional benefits one can get from Twitter.
And maybe the minutiae of Twitter and other social networks isn’t all bad. Iris Jastram’s post entitled Sunday: at Pegasus Librarian discusses how that minutiae connects online friends in a way that simply isn’t necessary with friends in the physical world:
It’s about the little stuff, for me. If I have to wait for big stuff I’ll usually have nothing to say. And if you wait until you’ve got big stuff to tell me, I no longer know how to read between the lines. There’s just so much to compensate for when you can’t actually see the person you’re talking to.
I’d recently thought how nice it would be if I could filter out all of the minutiae from Twitter and just get the meaty professional-related stuff. But Iris’ post helped me realize how those seemingly meaningless posts have great meaning, because in aggregate they anchor me to my online friends in a way that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It helps me to know them their lives, their hearts, what they value.
Olivia Nellums at Librarians Commute (another blog I’d strongly suggest you subscribe to if you’re interested in thoughtful posts on work in academic libraries) has written about a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about as well: Calculating the Value of Service. I’ve written in the past about the librarianly love of numbers and how our statistics aren’t always meaningful (to us, but especially to external entities). Olivia discusses the difficulties in determining the real impact of services like Reference. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot too and I’d really like to do more surveys of users to find our how helpful our answers to reference questions really are. Certainly the number of reference transactions only tells one very small part of the story.
I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on library conferences lately and Michele Martin must have been reading my mind when she wrote her post Conference Homophily is a Problem–Maybe Conference Mashups are the Solution at The Bamboo Project blog. Michele talks about the fact that always being with people from similar areas with similar views means that you’ll rarely find truly creative “out of the box” solutions to problems. She suggests that instead of having conferences with people from one field we create mashup conferences with people from different fields who deal with similar issues:
We could start small–maybe combining people in similar occupations who work in different industries. I’m thinking, for example, of a conference for classroom teachers and corporate trainers/educators. We have a lot in common but there are enough differences in what we do and how we do it that we could definitely learn from each other.
I love this idea! I certainly try to read blogs in a variety of areas (which is why I even discovered this post) and am starting to feel like I’d get a lot more out of a conference that’s mainly for college faculty than I would from a library conference simply because they’re looking at teaching from a different perspective. It’s nice to get out of our boxes sometimes.
Finally, two fantastic posts about getting stuff done. The first, 10 tips for finding your groove and getting sh*t done, by Julie at the Strange Librarian, offers specific, down-to-earth tips (and not a complicated system) for developing a productivity routine that works for you. I like how she talks about not getting bogged down in productivity p0rn, because I’ve certainly been there!
The other post focuses in what I think is the scourge of productivity — multitasking. In Let’s try some monotasking instead, Jack Vinson, of Knowledge Jolt with Jack (a great KM blog, btw) writes about how difficult it is to get anything done when you’re focused on several tasks at once. He suggests choosing one task to focus on at a time and recommends the pomodoro technique. Jack also had an interesting follow-up on the subject entitled More evidence on task switching – timing is everything , which finds that task switching from one incomplete task to another can negatively impact the quality of work on the second task. Sometimes you just need to close the email, close the TweetDeck and really focus on just one thing.
I hope these link posts are helpful to you. They’ve been interesting for me in that they’re really showing me which blogs I read that consistently provide me with valuable food for thought or inform my work.