While it is important to learn from librarians about how to be successful in library work, taking time to find out how other professions handle technology, innovation, customer service, staff management, etc. can be a very useful way to re-think what we do and how we do it. I’ve found that by reading about the challenges and successes and tips and tricks of those in other fields, I’ve been able to expand how I think about what happens in libraries. As a result I think more creatively and strategically about library work and work with teens.
Some resources to check out in order to learn from those outside of libraries:
- WebWorkerDaily is a part of the GigaOm Network, a selection of sites that focus primarily on technology topics. The target audience for WebWorkerDaily is, as the title says, people who work with the web on a regular basis. What stands out is the selection of topics and a real-life approach to providing information. For example, earlier this week an article titled 8 Things You May Not Know About Facebook was published on the site. In the article, specifically written for those who are thinking about having or already have a Facebook page, readers find a straightforward overview of some of the features (and pitfalls) of Facebook. While the article isn’t written for libraries and librarians, many libraries that have Facebook pages may very well learn some useful tips and tricks by reading it. I’d say the same is true for many WebWorkerDaily articles, the articles aren’t library focused but they are library useful.
- OPEN Forum is a business blog sponsored by American Express and I’ve been somewhat surprised by how many articles I find that provide me with useful information that I can bring to my work with libraries and librarians. For example, this week an article by Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, was posted on the site. The article titled The Opportunity of Risk provides some details on how Branson and his employees go about determining when to take on a business risk and when to call it quits on a project that’s not working. Branson also talks about looking at gaps in the market (which in the library world might be equated to gaps in service in a community or within a library). He writes, “Almost all our new ventures come about from our thinking up a product or service that we believe people really want. ” I think libraries can relate to that, don’t you?
- Miller-McCune is a magazine that I actually discovered via The New York Times Idea of the Day blog. Many of the articles in the web-based version of the print magazine provide food for thought when considering teen library service. For example, today I discovered an article on the site titled Young Artists, Scientists Think Logically, Creatively. The article discusses recent research that looks at whether or not it is true that “Science students tended to excel at logical, analytical thinking, while budding artists scored highest in tests measuring imagination and creativity.” This new research found that there is no difference in the problem-solving skills of the differently focused students. It’s interesting to think about this research in terms of the teens that come into libraries. If librarians think it’s necessary to approach arts oriented and science oriented students differently, maybe that’s not the case. Something I might not have spent much time considering if I hadn’t found the Miller-McCune article.
These are just three of the non-library oriented resources that I check out regularly in order to get ideas and techniques for being successful in library work. There’s also Mashable, The New York Times, Read Write Web, Wired, Slate, and…. What non-library resources do you consult in order to learn how to better serve teens?