Amplified! Speaking the Language of Management

YALSA President Shannon Peterson and I have been talking about her presidential theme of Amplified: Speaking Up for Teens and Libraries, and we were discussing the effort to build strong ties between YALSA and our members and library administrators. In May and June, I wrote a six-part series for this blog on how to work with library managers and administrators. Those posts were based partly on a survey that YALSA conducted of members who identified as supervisors and managers. One of the things we asked was what were some of the buzz words, lingo, and hot topics that made managers prick up their ears and listen. So here are some of those terms and ways you might incorporate them into your conversations with your managers:

ROI. This is manager-speak for “return on investment.” It’s really pretty straightforward. Managers want to know that if the library invests time, money, personnel, and equipment on a service, program, or collection, there will be some return on that investment. What kind of return? Maybe you can demonstrate that the effort you invested in putting on a dynamite program resulted in increased circulation in a particular area or from a particular demographic. Maybe adding a service, like homework help, resulted in reaching a previously under-served segment of the community. The more you can collect data (track circulation before and after the program; keep count of the number of new cards that were issued to participants in a new program or service, etc.), the easier it will be for you to show your managers how much return you got from your investment. Continue reading

What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 6

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! This is a six-part series that shares some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

In the first five weeks, I talked about’ presenting yourself as a professional,’ speaking the language,’ collecting data, sharing information up the ladder, and taking a big-picture look.’ I’ll conclude this series by talking a bit about:

Getting Everyone On Board

One way to get managers to take notice of teen services and programs is to get everyone talking about those services and programs. “Everyone” means:

  • library staff
  • teens
  • parents
  • community members
  • trustees
  • elected officials
  • everyone!

Continue reading

What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 4

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! This is a six-part series that shares some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

In the first three weeks, I talked about’ presenting yourself as a professional,’ about’ speaking the language, and about collecting data. This week I want to talk about a sometimes forgotten piece of the puzzle:

Sharing Information Up the Ladder

When YALSA surveyed members who were identified as library supervisors and managers, we asked them about best practices and success stories in increasing upper management buy-in for teen services. There were several recurring ideas:

  • Publicize successful programs that succeed in engaging teens
  • Have teens speak to library board/Foundation boards to share their love for the library
  • Document reports with photos/videos from programs for teens
  • Share teen comments in monthly narrative reports
  • Share successful award-winning projects that have increased library usage by teens
  • Share’ stories of how teen services develop youth and transform communities
  • Tie teen services to youth development

What these comments have in common is the importance of letting upper-level administrators and board members know what you are doing, and’ why it’s important to the community. Continue reading

What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 3

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! This is a six-part series that shares some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

In the first two weeks, I talked about presenting yourself as a professional and about speaking the language. This week I’m going to get even more practical and talk about:

Collecting Data

As I noted last week, teen librarians can sometimes get too focused on the teen point of view: we think it should be obvious that teens need our services, collections, and programs, because they’re important for the teens. But your manager needs to know more than that. Your manager needs to know the value of the services, programs, and collections that the library is providing, and whether the money allocated to teen services is well spent. Continue reading

What Your Manager Wishes You Knew – Part 1

Do you sometimes wonder what you could do to get more administrative support for teen services in your library? There are some relatively simple steps you can take to win friends and influence managers! Over the next six weeks, I’ll be sharing some tips from managers that you can integrate into your work life and maybe make some positive changes in your library.

In March, YALSA surveyed members whose job titles identified them as supervisors or managers. We asked them some questions about administrative support for teen services in their libraries, and what would improve that support. There were some common threads, and today I’m going to start with a big one:

Presenting Yourself as a Professional

In the comments to our survey, one manager said that YA librarians need to learn how to “code-switch” between being “hip” and being “professional.” It’s true that a lot of YA librarians have a lot invested in their look and style–and that works with teens. But sometimes the style doesn’t come across with the people who are making decisions–especially the ones who are of a different generation.’  Continue reading