Access Services · Library Philosophy · Networking · Professional Conferences

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 3

First thing this morning was a shower. I’m sure all my fellow attendees will appreciate that. Shower done I packed and checked out of my room. By the time that was done I didn’t have time for breakfast before my first event; visiting the Access Services Community of Interest meeting. (They had muffins!) This consisted of me and two other librarians discussing the difficulties in our underfunded libraries. Interestingly, I was confused for UMSL‘s Head of Access Services, which we do not have. We also discussed potential presentation topics for next year. Oh, also I became next year’s official recorder, which means in two years I’d be the vice-chair, chair in  three years, and previous chair in four years. Yes, previous chair is a real position for “institutional continuity.” The chances of me actually fulfilling these duties through 2020 are pretty slim, but I get more resume fodder for them, just the same.

After that, I arrived late to a presentation on how MST is revamping course reserves that was full of good ideas. Shelly’d devised away to determine which items needed to be on reserve based on usage statistics. Way to go, MST! I think this means that I’m an uber library nerd in that I can go to a presentation on ILS list techniques and think it’s interesting.

Currently, I’m waiting for “Sharing Managerial Wisdom” being hosted by a couple of SISLT faculty.

It was really good! It was about knowledge management and passing on institutional knowledge. Lots of anecdotes on how people, including me, have had to fend for themselves in new positions. They talked about the importance of succession plans and making available policies and procedures for colleagues. They also talked about how important it is to NOT keep your job details a secret. I have learned first-hand how that is detrimental to a department. My attitude is that no one is indespensible, and any sense of power you get from holding on to details is false. In the end, you only hurt your coworkers.

Next session, in the same room, is on positive customer service.

They had tech issues and seemed a little disorganized due to the fact that they were trying to pack a two-hour training session into forty-five minutes. Their content was good, though. It was all about the “getting to ‘Yes'” model of customer service. The idea is that by viewing your patron as a partner whom you are to help succeed resets the dichotomy between the service provider and served. It’s as much about attitude and word choice as it is about the actual work. This is actually a model I’ve tried to employ over the last several years. It is the service model I describe when I’m in a job interview. It is who I try to be every day I am at work. We would all be better off if we employed that in our daily lives.

I have to say that I had an excellent conference. Ever since ALA 2015 in San Francisco I’ve felt that I’ve really figured out professional conferences. I’ve been able to cut out the sessions that are wastes of time, generally. I’m comfortable talking to strangers and networking with new colleagues. I’m getting involved with committees and attending business meetings. And, the more local conference have several people from all types of libraries that I’ve gotten to know over the years and are some degree of friends of mine.

This conference was excellent in that I got to make new connections, build on existing relationships, get new information and reinforce old information. Furthermore, all but one of my sessions were actually worthwhile. Typically, if one gets three good sessions over a three day conference you have done well. I had way more than that. Next year’s conference is home in St. Louis. I expect I’ll still be around then. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again and learning more cool geeky library stuff.

Related Tales of a Librarian

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 2

Missouri Library Association Conference, Day 1

Schmoozing Skills

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