Leaving Las Vegas: ALA Annual Conference Roundup, round 1

Wherein we distill thoughts on ALA Annual 2014. First up, a couple of non-preservation sessions. The preservation notes will be posted soon.

On Introverts

Jennifer Kahnweiler, PhD,  author of A Quiet Influence: The Introverts Guide to Making A Difference, gave the ALCTS President’s Program keynote on the power of quiet influence and the strengths that introverts bring to the workplace.  When asked to raise their hand in response to the question, “How many of you are introverts?” roughly 95% of the audience agreed. This is not a surprise to anyone in Libraryland, right? What is different is that Ms. Kahnweiler, who self identifies as an extrovert, is not out to make us into something we are not or to imply, as so many do, that being an introvert is a bad thing or that we should necessarily change into extroverts. She was here to instead help us realize our strengths and help us identify how we can use those strengths to better navigate our work.

By definition introverts are energized from within while extroverts get energized by people and places around them. Neither is a bad way of being, they are just different. Let us remember, too, that while you may have tendencies one way or the other, we often possess qualities of both the introvert and the extrovert and some of us have learned to “turn on” one or the other when the situation requires.

The characteristics of introverts are:

  • Analytical
  • Patient
  • Think before they speaking
  • A sense of both humility and privacy [which makes them terrific librarians I suspect]

Introverts are found in every industry and they can exact influence even if they are not in positions of power by challenging the status quo and inspiring change. Introverted leaders tend to be more analytical and listen more to their employees. According to Kahnweiler, we need introverts’ quiet influence now more than ever.

Challenges for introverts in the workplace include:

  • People exhaustion
  • Having to make fast decisions
  • Teams
  • Selling yourself
  • Putting on a happy face (she says the question introverts hate most is “what’s wrong?” because they tend not to demonstrably show their emotions)

How introverts can successfully navigate the workplace

Kahnweiler suggests ways that introverts can successfully navigate the workplace. If you manage introverts, these are good things to realize and provide space for if you want the most out of your staff. She stresses that introverts make an impact by quietly influencing people. These “ripples of influence” can change the workplace and make a huge impact on individuals and organizations.

Preparation—Taking time to adequately prepare for meetings or presentations helps alleviate anxiety.

Taking quiet time—Introverts are thinkers and need time and space to think through problems and find solutions.

Engaged listening—Listening provides a chance to build rapport and understand issues and concerns at a deeper level. Engaged listening is about connecting to the other person, not making the conversation about yourself. Of course, if all you do is listen, you run the risk of being perceived as not having an opinion or an idea. You also run the risk of being the person in the office people come to so they can vent, which can be stressful. Key tips: don’t multi task, bracket your thoughts (take random thoughts and put them in a ‘parking lot’ so you can concentrate on listening and being present), ask yourself “what can I learn from this?,” and move your body and be healthy.

Writing–Introverts can use writing as a way to gather thoughts and express ideas.

Thoughtful use of social media–She urges introverts to start with just 15 minutes a day and try social media as a way to build community and make connections. This is one part of her talk that really didn’t wring too true for me personally. I find that librarians and archivists have embraced social media with vigor, but then that is the pool in which I swim so maybe more people than not feel social media is too stressful.

More on Introverts

Susan Cain, “The Power of Introverts” TED Talk (February 2012); an animated version from RSA Shorts is here.

Bryan Walsh, “The Power of Shyness” Time Magazine February 26, 2012. [Walsh erroneously used “shyness” when he means “introvert.”]

Tumblarian Talk

This was a great conversation starter, I only wish the session lasted longer. My library is new to Tumblr and we are trying to build our community there. We will be participating in the #5DaysOfPreservation event the week of July 14th to help build that presence but I wanted to attend this to find out more.

If you are on Twitter, search #tumblariantalk for posts from the panel discussion. The panelists started with very brief statements with the conversation following. The panelists’ slideshows are online. A list of Tumblarians including some on the panel can be found on The Lifeguard Librarian’s site.

 

Ian Stade, Hennipin Co Library

Show unique items
Timely topics, post content that relates
Guest posts from interns and volunteers
Partner with researchers to show their work and interests

 

Colleen Theisen, University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives

They have five Tumblrs with special collections content, organized by single collection, theme or department
Reblogs across tumblers
Feeds Instagram directly to Tumblr
Participate in common themes such as Miniature Mondays and Throwback Thursdays to create quick content
Don’t forget to use hashtags

 

Katie Anderson, Rutgers Special Collections (Paul Robeson Library)

Survey says 27% public and about 30% academic and special collections are using Twitter [see the survey information on slideshare]
Enable questions and submissions to facilitate conversation
Use your Tumblr description to market yourself and say something about who and where you are (many people ignore this)

 

Rachel Dobkin, Gov-info.tumblr.com

Tumblr is a project of LIS-GISIG students, their motto is “Making gov docs sexy since 2012”
Gets content from a variety of government blogs and social media
Defines government documents as anything any government agency ever touched even a little bit
Highlights data, services, health, archives, etc.
Information activism is an interest for her and trying to get more people involved
Hunts down documents when she reads in the news that “data or documents aren’t available”
Posts about every day
NASA pics are most popular

 

Daniel Ransom, Holy Names University

Tumblr is a mix of personal and professional acct
Alternative to using exclusively twitter or other format
Likes Tumblr for its responsiveness
Easy to connect to other librarians and the tone is generally positive

 

Molly Wetta, Lawrence public library

Focus is on readers advisory
Tries to post twice a day and wants half to be original content
Highlights local events and does readers advisory posts that relate
Produce readers advisory charts and graphs, insanely popular
Book reviews are popular

 

Audience discussion

How do you measure “success” with social media?

  • Weekly stats
  • Google analytics (add Google analytics id)
  • User quotes, collect the anecdotal evidence when you get it
  • No analytics for rss and reblogs
  • Journalists can find your posts and get you visibility
  • Questions through Tumblr are as valid as in person reference questions

Responding to criticism, some do, some don’t. Most of the Tumblarians on the panel were trying to make special collections accessible and don’t get a lot of negative feedback.

When you reblog, try to add info or sources that you may have that can add to the conversation.

How do you engage with students directly? Enable questions, put email on account, keep track of local community tagging trends.

Censorship, should we or no? Mostly no, one person did take down one post by request, she had permission to post a photo but made it into a gif and the person who gave permission didn’t like that and requested they take it down.

 

 

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