Just Ask Team Committee
Yesterday Just Ask hosted our first free webinar titled Managing Changes to Reference Services. It sold out fairly quickly, so we recorded the webinar and Gail was kind enough to send us a copy of her slides.
The recording of the webinar can be found here: http://ala.adobeconnect.com/p7tui6cm9re/. The presentation runs about 1:16 minutes.
Gail's slides have been attached as a PDF file.
Description of the webinar:
Managing Changes to Reference Services: Keeping Reference Services (and Reference Librarians) Alive in a Turbulent Environment
A free webinar, sponsored by JustAsk
Being a librarian isn’t what it used to be, but how do you deal with and manage this shift? Libraries and the services they provide are adapting to meet the ever-changing needs of their communities. How can reference librarians embrace and lead change to keep their services relevant, while staying sane and healthy? This webinar, featuring Gail Griffith, will discuss change and transition as it relates to reference librarians and departments. Using online discussion and activities, Griffith will not only ask participants to define current reference trends and models, she will discuss how reference librarians and professionals can manage change on a personal and professional level.
By the end of the sessions participants should be able to:
- Describe changes occurring in the provision of reference services, along with 2 positive and 2 negative impacts of the changing environment
- Identify the difference between change and transition (Bridges model)
- Articulate one reason why reference service remains an important part of library service (building on elevator speeches training?)
- Identify 3 opportunities for increasing the relevance of reference services in the current environment
- Identify one strategy for ‘staying sane’ in a turbulent environment
About the Presenter:
Gail Griffith enjoyed a 35-year career as a public librarian, retiring in 2008 as the Deputy Director of the Carroll County (MD) Public Library. Since 1992 she has worked with libraries throughout the country as a consultant on strategic planning, training, and leadership development projects. She currently serves as Coordinator of Maryland’s Library Associate Training Institute, a statewide program that equips Bachelor’s prepared librarians for certification.
Gail often works with the Singer Group, and co-authored (with Paula Singer) the recent book, Succession Planning in the Library: Developing Leaders, Managing Change, published by ALA.
Gail holds an MLS from the University of Maryland and an MS in Organization Development from the Johns Hopkins University.
This is a link to Just Ask's most recent free webinar Got a minute?: How to Prepare Your Parking Lot Speech.
Feel free to forward the link to anyone who may be interested.
Thanks to Stephanie Gerding, Cathay Keough, Diana Shonrock, and Andrea Hill for their work on this webinar.
Description of the Webinar:
Learn how to advocate for your library and its services wherever and whenever you meet potential library funders, supporters, and other key stakeholders through this webinar by learning to create a short parking lot speech. A parking lot speech, a conversation short enough to take place in the time needed to cross a parking lot, is an empowering method for staff, trustees, friends and other library supporters to think about and develop ways to spread the word about today's libraries. This webinar will help participants gain more of an understanding of where to obtain facts and stories that they can use in informal--and formal--settings, allowing you to promote your libraries' services and value anywhere, from literacy and lifelong learning to community spaces and opportunities, that touch upon technological and access needs.
You will walk away with the words you can rely on to state your brief but impactful message on the fly, in the grocery store, at a community event and even in a parking lot. Your parking lot speech will be drafted and honed to relay the key points that may spark future advocacy for your library.
After this webinar:
- Participants will walk away with three essential ways to identify the audience they are speaking to and gain their support.
- Participants will learn the steps for telling their library story through a Parking Lot Speech.
- Participants will be able to identify two ways to obtain key data (facts, statistics, etc.) and/or stories and anecdotes to confidentially incorporate into their advocacy efforts.
Stephanie Gerding is an internationally-known trainer, educator, and author (The Accidental Technology Trainer: A Guide for Librarians, and Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual For Librarians). She has developed and delivered online technology courses for Public Library Association (PLA), NorthCentral University, Simmons College, state library systems, and others. Gerding is also a certified trainer for the Public Library Association in library strategic planning, management, facilitation, and staffing in addition to being a facilitator/online trainer from 2011-2012 for PLA’s Turning the Page, a national advocacy project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
On February 27, 2013 Maryland AskUsNow! Statewide Coordinator Julie Strange and Operations Assistant Cathay Crosby started work on the Ask Campaign pilot here in Maryland to promote Maryland AskUsNow!'s tenth year anniversary (on March 17, 2013).
Items we used for photo shoot:
- Two clipboards
- Two lists of questions
- Copies of the Photo Release Form
- camera (SLR or other high quality digital is best, with manual flash settings)
- "White board" measuring 11"x17" (Manufactured by Hutchison Co. Advertising Displays - http://www.hutchco.com). It was essentially a white piece of cardboard with a clear plastic covering.
- Large black dry erase marker and eraser
Summary of photo shoot:
Prior to February 27, we created a Photo Release Form, asked for a photographer's help with a high-quality camera, and enlisted the assistance of another librarian from our department. We made sure the Baltimore County Public Library - Towson Branch Manager and Assistant Manager were asked for permission to do this, and they were enthusiastically supportive. They they notified the staff that we would be approaching patrons that morning. We also created a list of potential questions that could be used by patrons - these were drawn from questions asked through Maryland AskUsNow!'s and posted on its Twitter feed.
With a couple of clipboards in hand, the four of us entered the large branch in the morning hours (less traffic). Our goal was to have a variety of people (ages, sizes, ethnicity, styles of dress) and we hoped for 6 participants. The setting was to match the question as much as possible (i.e.; "What type of plants grow in Baltimore?" could be a question, and the photo may show a person by plants.
Experience Highlighting Photo Shoot: We found that it was less intimidating for patrons if one or two of us approached with clipboards. The standard greeting explained what we were doing and why, and how it would benefit our libraries. We then asked if the person would be interested in participating, and if so, to sign a Photo Release Form. We had them look over the list of possible questions to determine any they might ask (especially in a virtual environment, since this is an online library service) and encouraged them to make up their own question if desired.
When filling out the form, we also asked for their email or contact info in order to send them a copy of the final product: a poster with the person holding their question, in a setting around the library or at the coffee shop.
Most patrons agreed and were delighted to participate and we ended up with 7 (over our goal)!
We have documentation on the plan and a link to the Photo Release Form at:
We specified the look and feel we wanted and sent it out to our AskUsNow! partners and the Maryland Marketing Team and so far have had one library send us some good material.
We will be creating electronic media and potentially physical posters all of which is to be distributed statewide.
We will report more as we have information. Questions? Please contact Julie Strange (email@example.com).
Dear Just Ask Team,
As I had mentioned on your site a couple of times over the past several weeks, we are making some changes in the way proceed with the Just Ask project. My hope for this year is that we will make RUSA and the work of all of our members stand out and that we will develop continuing education, publications and tools to meet the needs expressed in last year’s membership survey. Just Ask is a centerpiece in that work and I want to be sure that it can move forward.
At the same time, Liz determined that she could no longer commit the time to the project that would be needed to lead it to success. I have asked Diana Shonrock and Elizabeth Stephan to assume that leadership role as co-chairs. Both have great credentials in reference and in RUSA. Diana is a past chair of MOUSS/RSS and a Past-President of RUSA. Elizabeth is active in BRASS, the editor of the RUSA Update, and a member of the RUSA Board.
I discovered that the Just Ask Team had never had an official charge. A charge is important to our success and to organizing all of the work you have completed so far into something that will make a difference. Diana, Elizabeth, Liz, Susan Hornung and I have drafted a charge for the committee and a set of goals. The draft charge will be reviewed and voted on at the RUSA Board meeting next week, on Tuesday September 25. One of the first tasks of the committee will be to review the goals and organize them into workable steps to achieving the charge.
Here are the drafts of each:
CHARGE: Create a RUSA vision of the reference/ information professional and the services they provide, and communicate that vision by advocating for reference librarians and providing access to forward thinking resources.
Possible measurable goals :
- Answer the question: what is a reference librarian now? How does that vision differ by type of library? Involve all RUSA sections.
- Gather data through focus groups, surveys, and needs assessments.
- Collect and publicize stories and case studies about reference librarians, their day-to-day work and exceptional services. These will be suitable for many purposes, including library education.
- Update the definition of reference and reference transactions (see below)
- Identify usable research and publications to include in the toolkit. Find workable models from other professions to guide the development of the toolkit.
- Develop a set of competencies for reference librarians that can serve as a call to action, an educational imperative, and a statement understandable to the general public. Begin with the current set of competencies developed in RSS.
- Create and perform a needs assessment to measure what librarians need to know and to have as part of the workplace in order to fit the new reference librarian model and what they need to know to communicate the value of reference librarians and reference service.
- Develop marketing tools, both inside and outside of the library profession for each step in the process.
- Create a MODEL for RUSA that communicates the value of reference librarians and reference service [at the regional, state, and local level].
Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
Approved by RUSA Board of Directors, January 14, 2008
Submitted by subgroup of RSS Executive Committee
Reference Transactions are information consultations in which library staff recommend, interpret, evaluate, and/or use information resources to help others to meet particular information needs. Reference transactions do not include formal instruction or exchanges that provide assistance with locations, schedules, equipment, supplies, or policy statements.
Reference Work includes reference transactions and other activities that involve the creation, management, and assessment of information or research resources, tools, and services.
(The following bullets clarify what is meant by terms within the Reference Work definition.)
- Creation and management of information resources includes the development and maintenance of research collections, research guides, catalogs, databases, web sites, search engines, etc., that patrons can use independently, in-house or remotely, to satisfy their information needs.
- Assessment activities include the measurement and evaluation of reference work, resources, and services.
You have all done a lot of thinking and working and I am so grateful for that work. I hope that you will continue to be willing to turn those efforts into meeting the new charge. I think we will have fun!