Reaching beyond the campus: first steps

In my quest to continue my blog writing after the Info 287 class, I decided to write about a recent exciting development that I hope will serve as a case study for “hyperlinking” between public and community college libraries. A branch of the county library located less than a mile from my college campus, was awarded the opportunity to host the traveling exhibition titled, “Making Money” created by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association to arrive in late March through April 2017. The exhibit will travel to a total of 50 U.S. public libraries to “ teach tweens, teens and their parents, caregivers and educators about financial literacy topics such as saving, spending and avoiding fraud in a way that is not only understandable, but fun” (ALA website).

The town’s library commission reached out to our library in early December 2106 to collaborate on some partnership ideas and to consider creating a companion exhibit focused on financial literacy for college students. I think the potential here for introducing our students to money management is extraordinary.  We brainstormed some ideas which we will revisit after the holidays and I foresee academic and student services departments getting involved in the project.  Some of the ideas batted included: getting college students to docent the younger students who visit the public library exhibit; have a financial trivia contest; and have our financial aid department participate in a panel on financing college, just to name a few.

thisisbossi on Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

There are good examples in the literature on both library involvement in financial literacy education as well as partnerships between academic and public libraries.  The RUSA article by Keller et al.  does a thorough job on describing  the process that the The Reference and User Services Association of ALA (RUSA) went through after being  awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop guidelines on financial literacy education. The project culminated in the report, Financial Literacy Education in Libraries: Guidelines and best Practices for Service (http://www.ala.org/rusa/sites/ala.org.rusa/files/content/FLEGuidelines_Final_September_2014.pdf) by the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee and by the RUSA Executive Committee in October 2014. (Keller, 2015).

The Gil article gave me a lot of ideas on how to leverage and get buy-in from other constituencies on campus including student government, the career center and business and economics departments. Working with contacts in the business and career center allowed the author to make connections in the local community with bankers and small business entrepreneurs who were then approached to be  presenters for the college’s financial literacy week.

Lastly, the Vander Broek article was a unique case study of the collaborations  between the University of Michigan Library and the Ann Arbor District Library over the course of several years. Besides giving me some great ideas for future projects, it also was forthright in admitting to “lessons learned” along the way.

I’ll revisit our experience in this initial venture with the public library in April.  I am looking forward to this new relationship and I welcome any comments!

References

American Library Association. (n.d.). Thinking money: Money management is a lifetime voyage. Retrieved from https://apply.ala.org/thinkingmoney/

Gil, E.L. (2015). Leading the way for financial literacy education: A case study on collaboration. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 20, 27-53. doi: 10.1080/08963568.2015.978710

Keller, K., LeBeau, C., Malafi, E., & Spackman, A. (spring, 2015). Meeting the need for library-based financial literacy education. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 54: 47-51. Retrieved from https://journals.ala.org/index.php/rusq/article/view/5643

Vänder Broek J.L. & Rodgers, E.P. (2015). Better together: Responsive community programming at the U-M Library. Journal of Library Administration, 55, 131-141. doi: 10.1080/01930826.2014.995558

Reflecting on the Hyperlinked Library class

In thinking back on our time together this semester, I find myself going back to past readings and lectures as I encounter certain issues at work.  This class has a made me much more sensitive, empathetic and thoughtful in my daily routine.  I can be in the middle of a meeting, or talking to a fellow staff member and, suddenly, I remember something that I read that can apply to the situation.  This begs the question: What did I do before this class?

Over time in the same job, you can get a little jaded. Everyone needs to be shaken up and reminded why they entered a profession.  This class woke me (if I can be so bold as to borrow a current social movement term?) .  I first registered for this class thinking it was more about new technology and how to apply it in the library world, and I was  happily surprised to realize that it was so much more.  This class reminded me of all that is right with librarianship and all that we still need to do.  In this last week’s readings,  three articles stood out as crucial to being successful:

Making mistakes in our daily work” by Cheetham and Hoenke is a conversation between two librarians on the importance of  trying new things and not being embarrassed if they don’t work. They have given us permission to play, experiment and stretch the boundaries of new ideas–all in plain sight of our patrons. This was one of the major takeaways from this class for me.  However, I have to caution that a person needs the right management to be able to do this with regularity.  There was a point in time in my career when I was not allowed to experiment and so I slowly got out of taking chances.  Luckily, I’m in a position now when I can stick my neck out again, fail and learn from it.

The importance of kindness at work” by Corkindale and “Talk about compassion” by Stephens both focus on cultivating awareness outside of your own world. We get so caught up with our own projects at work and getting things done that we forget what our co-workers, users and family (including pets) might be going through.one cat cleaning another cat Listening to others, empathizing with them and having compassion are keys to a happy life. Please don’t let your “To-Do” list get in the way of that.

Always doesn’t live here anymore” by Stephens shines light on the elephant in the Library: colleagues or institutions that have had “enough new things” thrown at them and may be anxious in keeping up with constant change.  I have run up against roadblocks throughout my career and it can get very frustrating.  In situations like this, it is important to be true to oneself and see if allies can be found to work with in breaking down the barriers.  It is not hopeless, even though it seems to be on some days.  When I ran into roadblocks, I found ways around them by reaching out to fellow employees outside my main department who wanted to try new things. It was wonderful to work with new colleagues and learn their perspective of the job. Having a like-minded person to work with may introduce you to new ways of doing things that might just help breakdown those roadblocks.

Do I seem to be giving advice here rather than reflecting?  I think in the process of reflecting, I remembered important experiences that I thought I’d share. Best of luck to everyone in their library careers!

References

Cheetham, W. & Hoenke, J. (2013, August 19). Making mistakes in our daily work: A TTW conversation between Warren Cheetham and Justin Hoenke. Tame the Web. Retrieved from http://tametheweb.com/2013/08/19/making-mistakes-in-our-daily-work-a-ttw-conversation-between-warren-cheetham-and-justin-hoenke/

Corkindale, G. (2011, April 18).  The importance of kindness at work. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/04/the-importance-of-kindness-at

Stephens, M. (2014, October 21). Always doesn’t live here anymore. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2014/10/opinion/michael-stephens/always-doesnt-live-here-anymore-office-hours

Stephens, M. (2016, April 21). Talk about compassion. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/04/opinion/michael-stephens/talk-about-compassion-office-hours/