Greetings (insert name),

Sorry to hear that you are so tired. I wonder if you are tired of mind games and watching the wheels go round and round.

I was saddened to learn that you are considering (insert the action prompting you to write). Even my guitar gently weeps.

Sometimes life is an exhilarating magical mystery tour and other times it is the subdued long and winding road.

But you should know that no matter what happens, ob la di ob la da life goes on.

Now, let’s imagine just a few efforts that you can consider undertaking to make the world a better place. There has to be something that ignites your passion. Don’t worry about being labeled a fool on the hill.

How about making the environment better for all living creatures like the walrus, octopus’s garden, blackbird, and rocky raccoon?

What about making the world a less violent place? Really, is happiness a warm gun? Why not give peace a chance?  Then celebrate when war is over.

What about connecting with people on the margins of society? You know, the folks on the outside looking in. Why not come together?

If you ever need help, you can always get by with a little help from my friends from across the universe. I’m not sure if someone back in the USSR, might be someone you’d like to reach out to.

If you get stuck there will be an answer, let it be.

Let me know how you’re doing, promise me that. Don’t let me down.

I hope you can turn the page from yesterday. Tomorrow morning, just yell out here comes the sun!

Sorry, I have to go it’s time for me to get back.

Goodbye for now.

(Insert your name here)

P.S. All You Need Is Love

I recently got to hear wonderful things from Jose Aponte out in San Diego. You all may remember his ride across the country in 2016 to raise money for the American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship after retiring as Director from the San Diego County Public Library System.

Aponte has an amazing art exhibit (Indigenous: A Mestizo Journey) displaying at the Vista Library until March 10. The San Diego Tribune’s Lisa Deaderick wrote a wonderful article on January 21 about it.

 

(Photo of Jose Aponte taken by Eduardo Contreras of the San Diego Union Tribune)

 

Here are a few things that make this exhibit important for us in the library world, along with some reflection questions to prompt future action. This might just be one of the most important posts I’ll make all of 2018.

1)      Aponte had to travel outside of the library in order to both get inspiration for his project and in order to go carry it out. He went to Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, and various parts of the United States. So, traveling out of the library is a good thing. International travel allows traditional frameworks of thinking to go out the window as you learn how other cultures work and you thus become sensitive to those cultures. Library supporters and librarians need to ask themselves even if they cannot travel internationally at this time, where can I go to learn more about my local community? This might involve going to local business association meeting, places of worship, cultural heritage institutions, and centers of learning to name just a few. Stopping by and visiting is good, but getting involved is even better. How might library leaders empower staff to do this?

 

2)      A skill set was brought along for use in Aponte’s travels. I am not talking about a strictly library related skill gift, but rather a more personal one. Simply put, photography was something Aponte came to the table with. What skills, apart from the strictly library related, do we have that we can take with us for use anywhere? How do we see the use of those skills benefitting other people we meet?

 

3)      Choosing to interact with people that we do not normally see every day or that are different from us is going against the grain. We leave our comfort zone behind and become open to how these interactions change us for the better. Aponte willingly did this. So, how are we interacting with people that are different from us in our local community? How can we describe the benefits of these experiences? How might we record these experiences for future private  reflection or even public sharing? Aponte states, “The message is simple: celebrate one planet, live as one people, and learn from the richness of our diversity of cultures, peoples and geography for a truly prosperous and vital common humanity.”

 

4)      Tie everything together, bring it on home to the library (as well as elsewhere), and tell others about what you’ve been up to. Aponte’s venue for his exhibit is the Vista Library. We should all think of the library as a place for public sharing. However, we needn’t stop there. What places, library included, might be venues for telling the story of our experiences with other cultures to a public audience? How might we use the online environment to spread the word about what we are doing? How might we partner with those in our community to help us do so?

I have been blogging about the Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician over the last few months.

To illustrate how all of what I am talking about connects using a successful example from librarianship, I will briefly touch upon the Inter-Library Loan system (ILL). What would be helpful for further reading would be the PhD dissertations and academic publications that go into the history behind ILL, the genesis of it, the key decision makers, the administrative architecture that the managers employed to launch it, and how it was first implemented in actual libraries. While I will not go into much detail, I can make an educated guess that the process generally went something like this.

The Entrepreneur: A library director thinks about borrowing books/materials from other libraries out of their own area. The idea itself may have been planted from either frontline library staff  or customer suggestions. The entrepreneur thinks, would it not be grand if a book, that our library does not have, could be sent from another state for a patron/student to borrow at their local library?

The Managers: These folks were probably the forerunners to those working in IT departments. It is possible that staff that ordered, purchased, and cataloged materials were probably consulted. The questions they asked were probably: What type of medium do we need to record the pertinent information on to start making such a request? What pertinent information do we need to communicate/record? How do we plan to send this information to the library that has the book being requested? How do we know that a particular library has the book being requested? How do we guarantee that the request gets to the right place? What is the means of delivering/returning the book? In short these folks had to develop the administrative architecture/platforms to make ILL happen.

The Technicians: These were the people working in the actual libraries that had to fulfill these requests by grabbing the books off the shelves. They most likely asked questions such as: How are the instructions delivered to me to find a certain book? Where is the place where I prepare the book for shipment elsewhere? What instructions do I need to follow to make this work?

I am thinking about other illustrations that could work from modern librarianship. If you think of any let me know.

 

Just got Ray Dalio’s Principles as a gift. I have been flipping through it to get a flavor of what it is about. I love the brief commentary in huge font on page 164, which is as follows:

BAD: Worry about appearing good.

GOOD: Worry about achieving the goal.

My take: While appearances are important, if there is no substance behind the appearances it will produce a lack of credibility. This is the equivalent of talking the talk but not being able to walk the walk.  For me, “achieving the goal” is similar to doing the right thing. Better to do the right thing than to focus a great deal of energy to keep up a mirage. Doing the right thing seeks to serve a higher purpose than the self and will often cost something of value to carry out.

31. December 2017 · Comments Off on The Entrepreneur · Categories: Uncategorized

I’m focusing today’s post on the Entrepreneur from the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

The Entrepreneur is the big-picture thinker, looking at projects on a macro scale. Often times the Entrepreneur will go against the grain by challenging existing ways of doing, operating, and thinking in the world. The Entrepreneur is often asking why not? A reluctance to readily accept the status quo is key here.

Gerber believes that the Entrepreneur in us is the visionary, the dreamer, the creative force, the innovator, and the grand strategist. The Entrepreneur is also a lover of the unknown and the untested.

According to Gerber, the Entrepreneur is the “Energy behind every human activity. The imagination that sparks the fire of the future, The catalyst for change. The Entrepreneur lives in the future, never in the past, rarely in the present. He’s happiest when left free to construct images of “what-if” and “if-when.”

How the Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician interact with each other will be the subjects of future in 2018. Happy New Year!

22. December 2017 · Comments Off on California Library Association Conference 2017 by Jenna Pontious · Categories: Uncategorized

I am very grateful to Jenna Pontious, Branch Manager at La Sierra branch and literacy coordinator for the Riverside Public Library, for this guest column on the 2017 California Library Association Conference. Thank you Jenna!

This year, the 2017 California Library Association (CLA) Conference was held in my home turf of Riverside, CA from November 2-4. Since the event was held in the city with the library system I work in, I (along with 21 of my coworkers) was able to have my conference fees covered by our FOL group.  It was my first time attending CLA and it was a rewarding experience. I volunteered to work the registration desk for 4 hours for pre-conference, on Thurs. Nov. 1. I met a lot of fellow librarians and vendors, and was able to see a lot of old coworkers too. I ran in to these same people throughout the conference, so it was great way to network and see who made it in. I also volunteered to be a session monitor for 3 hours on Saturday, Nov. 4, where I was in charge of 6 rooms. Session monitoring consisted of checking in with the speakers, making sure their surveys got filled out, turning in the surveys, and contacting the building/tech services if the speakers encountered any problems. I got a nice sampling of the workshops that afternoon, like volunteering away your library fines, a reading ambassador program for kids, and I got to hear a bit of the State Librarian’s speech. In the exhibit hall, I spoke with our credit card system rep, Comprise, tried out Occulus, a virtual reality head set, and attempted to win a marshmallow catapult contest with my coworker. Sadly, only 4 out of 8 marshmallows connected with their target. The Headshot Truck generously donated their time to take free headshots, which I took advantage of. All in all, the conference was great for networking, professional development, new ideas for programs and services, and promoting issues like social justice and equality.

 

30. November 2017 · Comments Off on Communication is Important · Categories: Uncategorized

Was just checking out Entrepreneur Magazine’s December 2017 issue. Loved the short article on communication on page 68 by Cal Henderson, co-founder and CTO of Slack. He writes as follows:

“We regularly hear from CEOs that the number one issue they’re focused on is improving communication within their organizations-helping their teams find information and identify key decision-makers, maintain alignment as an organization, and so on. It may not sound like the most exciting topic, but it’s fundamental to business and will continue to be a core focus for years to come, because the sheer volume of information flowing through companies today is incredible. A McKinsey study found that employees spend nearly 20 percent of their time looking for information or tracking down colleagues to help with specific tasks.”

Henderson argues that we ought to automate routine tasks and integrate “AI into workplace tools” with the goal being to “free us up to do more of the creative work we are uniquely suited to.” This needs to happen, but I also think more traditional one on one verbal communication can compliment these tools. The end result of being able to work on more important creative tasks is definitely where both communication methods take us when they are used effectively.

My communication approach is old-school in that I like to find out from people directly what they need to be successful and then get the required resources to them. Certainly posting/sharing available information electronically is great, but given the amount of information out there locating electronic documentation is not always easy. As a supervisor the number one area of importance thus far for me has been communication. Without it nothing can truly be successful.

My take on Henderson’s article?

People who can quickly access important information, people, or resources and get them to the right place will be in high demand in the future. These people will be masters of both electronic communication platforms and traditional verbal in-person communication styles. They embody the Networking Manager referred to in Koch’s 80/20 Manager.

19. November 2017 · Comments Off on The Manager · Categories: Uncategorized

I’m focusing today’s post on the Manager from the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber.

The Manager is the one that handles matters through the paradigm of what is practical and what is realistic. Theoretical constructs do not usually apply to this work perspective as they are the domain of the Entrepreneur work personality which will be the focus of another post.

Seeking order through creating organized, reliable, and predictable work flow systems is the role I envision the Manager playing under Gerber’s definition.

For clarity I will quote Gerber as follows from page 26 of E-Myth Revisited:

“The Manager creates neat, orderly rows of things. The Entrepreneur creates the things the Manager puts in rows. The Manager is the one who runs after the Entrepreneur to clean up the mess. Without the Entrepreneur there would be no mess to clean up. Without the Manager , there could be no business, no society. Without the Entrepreneur , there would be no innovation.”

:

28. October 2017 · Comments Off on The Technician · Categories: Uncategorized

Earlier in the month, I was reflecting on Michael Gerber’s thoughts on the 3 different work perspectives. The Technician is the one I’ll address in this post.

To me the technician is the implementer of an organization’s vision. That is to say the person who actually does the work on the front lines. This person more often than not is a “doer” rather than a “thinker”.

As Gerber points out in E-Myth Revisited on page 27, “The technician isn’t interested in ideas; he’s interested in “how to do it.””

While implementation is critical, to first get to the implementation stage you need an organized structure to make sure the work is completed properly. You also need to articulate a guiding vision to ignite passion in the work in the first place and to direct energy/resources to achieve an overarching goal. The next posts will focus on the Manager work perspective and then the Entrepreneur work perspective.

 

07. October 2017 · Comments Off on Three Different Work Perspectives · Categories: Uncategorized

Looking at E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber in which three different work personalities of Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician are presented. I believe all three perspectives are needed for success and want to make this the content for future posts.