Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Answers to questions you haven’t asked yet.

Why should I do this? We have found that our competition has improved our reader’s advisory skills.  It is clearer whom to go to with specific questions about some genres and authors.  Even though we always talked about books a lot before, now everyone knows who our “specialist” in certain areas is and that is helpful.  We also are getting our social networking requirement here.  As we mentioned in our presentation, we have noticed some library blogs (all in other states of course) that exist but haven’t had a post in six months.  Well, you can’t really even count that as having a blog, can you?  Our blog has also made our staff picks newsletter easier to put together because there is the copy and paste possibility instead of generating all new content.  Displays are easier too…you can look through the blog and come up with ideas. Plus our favorite reason, it is FUN.

What if RA isn't part of my job? Karen Robinson famously said during a class I took from her, “My friends and family don’t care what I do all day; they expect me to recommend books to them.”  So really it isn’t all about your job, it is about the joys of librarianship.   If you aren’t providing this service now, maybe you should start.  After all, keeping your bosses reading gives them less time to cut your budget.  Also, you never know when your job might change or you might change jobs.  Something like this could give you a leg up if you artfully include it on your resume.

My boss says no – well everybody can’t have “vision” but don’t let that stop you.  You can “go rogue” and set up a blog that isn’t affiliated with your library.  You can even put a disclaimer on your “personal” blog that states “this blog is not affiliated with ‘your library name here’” just to be sure there is no question about you following your leadership.  You can also tell us your boss’s name so we can make fun of him/her on OUR blogs.

This sounds like a lot of work.  We like to think of ourselves as the masters of work minimization but someone does have to get the blog going and the team will have to read and write about what they read.  I’ve been posting monthly book and page totals on our blog but people mostly keep track of their own totals and email them for me (with a few exceptions).  Since you are designing your own competition, keep in mind the amount of administrative tasks you are signing on for as you get creative.  I can’t emphasize enough the need for you to make CLEAR to your team that they have to keep track of their own reading.  After all, isn’t that why spreadsheets were created?

As for the team competition with the Missouri Book Challenge, the purpose of this blog is to keep us posted on your progress.  You can interpret that anyway you want to.  There is no requirement that you post anything here but in the end, you will have to provide totals.

You keep saying it is fun but I’m a fun hater.  Well, you got us here, maybe you should try therapy.