Tag Archives: Communication

Knowledge Café 2014: New wrap-up

Learning together: when experts from developed libraries work with developing countries, everyone learns and everyone teaches

MARY AUGUSTA THOMAS (Smithsonian Libraries, Washington, DC. United States)
Right from the start, the topic was reworked to lessen the “developed/developing polarity.

However it provided a great springboard for discussions in all three rotations. Library visits or using external consults worked best when the type of library or the type of work was a good match.

For example, parliamentary libraries learned the most from each other. The identification of common issues and concerns also promoted learning in these visits. Common concerns seem to include sustaining networks of colleagues, use of technology for active information exchange, and changing practices in all libraries right now.

Many participants come from areas where travel is limited and therefore make heavy use of E Learning, in interacting with their colleagues in similar libraries. At the end of each session elements of “Best practices” were suggested. These were formed around mutual respect and mutual needs.

For individuals who were able to travel, visits to perhaps larger or better developed libraries offered exposure, which on their return can be leveraged by sharing the knowledge gained, encouraging teams to all move forward.

Types of exchanges included person to person attachments or assignments and participation in IFLA or State Department tours but these were perhaps not as effective as the regional or affinity based visits.

For visiting librarians — partnering around projects to have mutual benefit– must include give and take and ways to identify the benefits regionally and internationally. Sharing the information on your return was most important.

Everyone remarked that one often uses outside consultants to say things to management that will not he heard from the internal audience.
Digital life has changed things and in each group, there were more similarities of issue than differences.

What needs to be brought into these sessions by both sides is a respect for community knowledge.

These projects also require meeting challenges of different cultures with appropriate vocabulary and the need to being with common concerns.

Another summary of table discussion at the Knowledge Café 2014 in Lyon

Learning from others – peer training best practices

Moderator: Hannah Fischer, Library of Congress, USA
Rapporteur: Karin Finer, European Parliament, Belgium

There were many interesting discussions and examples of peer training activities around the world, including projects for sharing ideas and experiences on national level (http://osaavat.org/peerlearning/), dedicated websites for professional discussions on international/national/regional level, training days organised by library associations or equivalent, and individual library initiatives to ensure sharing of knowledge.

The efficiency of different formats for peer training was debated. Online tutorials, e-mail communication, social media, presentations at staff meetings, one-to-one training etc. can all be used. The preferred format is of course very much dependent on an organisation’s staff resources and size.

The question of whether peer training programmes should be formal or not was discussed. Some felt that it would be easier to motivate involvement in training if management actively supported and allowed time for such activities. One library had developed a peer training contract, to be signed by management, the trainer and the trainee. This contract notified management of the peer trainer’s intentions, and resulted in the peer trainer gaining extra work time to plan and complete their peer training program. Other types of buddy/mentor programmes to train new staff were described.

An interesting example of peer involvement was given by two libraries who had introduced a system where staff giving client training was observed and evaluated by colleagues. It worked well, due to the evaluation being firmly based on positive feedback in a friendly environment. It was seen as important to support others to become confident trainers.

Finally, the question of reluctance to share knowledge was brought to the table. Some colleagues felt there was no culture of sharing information in their organisation, and in some cases even resistance against it. Participants thought it was important to encourage all staff in an organisation to be part of peer training. There are many ways to be involved – as a classroom trainer, helping to develop online tools and training materials, writing reports from courses and conferences, and/or by acting as a reference point for questions in areas of individual competence.

Knowledge Café 2014: Next wrap-up

Here`s the next wrap-up of the table Creation of staff training and development teams.

Creation of Staff training and development teams
Moderator: Vivian Lewis, McMaster University
Raconteur: Juanita Jara De Sumar, McGill University

The group was presented with some base information and offered the McMaster University case as an example of successful implementation.
Participants discussed the benefits of having a strategic plan in place before the training programme is established. The value of having a clear sense of need was also identified. (In the McMaster case, ClimateQUAL data illustrated a strong need for training and an anonymous survey indicated what kinds of sessions staff wanted and how they wanted the content delivered.)
It was argued that a committee requires a library of a certain size, as otherwise there will not be enough people to take or deliver sessions. Many participants noted the value of bringing experts in from outside the library.
Soft skills (interpersonal skills, etc.) were identified as very important. In choosing trainers it may be necessary to offer everybody the opportunity to apply.
There was strong agreement in all three groups that staff must take some ownership of their own development. Staff must take an active role and apply what they have learned and the team must assist everybody. In reality, we find that some people expect the organization to make decisions for them in terms of what they need to learn.
We also discussed possible obstacles. Staff may be suspicious of the Administration having a hidden agenda. For the team to work, it is necessary that staff be confident and trust the committee leaders.
Another topic was the level of power of the committee. The team can be purely advisory, with management making the ultimate decisions. The group can simply coordinate the training or it can do the actual delivery. (In the McMaster case, the group did a mix of coordination and delivery.

They organized the purchase of Lynda.com, scheduled webinars, peer-to-peer sessions and guest speakers. Specialists from the Continuing Education unit were brought in to do project management training.)
Some of the comments suggested that resources could be used from the local library school. And it could be a good idea to provide some sort of continuing education certification.
Most participants in the first round remained for the second round and continued contributing to the discussion. All three rounds were lively and informative.


Update Taking charge of your career Workshop

The Summary of the topic:

 How to connect: using social media

Moderator Anne Lehto, Head of Services Tampere University Library, Finland,

e-mail: anne.m.lehto@uta.fi


In the workshop, there were 6 groups attending this round table one group at a time. We discussed the possibilities and challenges of using social media as a tool for professional development. Social media was defined widely in this session meaning different types of communication using web 2.0 technologies which enhance collaboration and include the aspect of interactivity.


1) How to use social media at your library?


There was an interesting IFLA offsite Social Media Workshop by Academic and Research Libraries that took place at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on 16 August. The theme was Social media strategy in academic libraries – Implementation experience at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Libraries. Some participants in the round table had attended the workshop as well. At NTU it was learned that NTU library had impressively hired 200 students to create social media content. The programme and presentations can be retrieved from http://blogs.ntu.edu.sg/ifla2013/programme/


Furthermore, examples of the use of social media in University library context are numerous, see e.g. Mervi Ahola’s (a social media savvy colleague) prezi-presentation: Social Media in the Work Practices in Tampere University Library:


2) In the workshop, the most common social media tools/technologies (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, wikis, Linkedin…) were discussed from the point of view of their usefulness to enhance professional development.


It turned out that Facebook was used more for personal purposes than for professional ones; however, there were also participants who shared their experiences of using Facebook to get information about current issues and for informing their professional network.


On the other hand, blogs were commonly used for professional development purposes. Also, Akademia.edu and Researchgate, http://www.researchgate.net/ were mentioned as major professional development networking tools. 


If you are a new professional or a life-long learner, don’t forget IFLA New Professional Special Interest Group’s (NPSIG) blog,http://npsig.wordpress.com. In the blog you will find interesting webinars which have been recorded and are available on the site e.g., “New Librarians Global Connection: best practices, models and recommendations“ is a new series of free quarterly webinars on issues of interest to new librarians, models of library associations and library schools working with new professionals, and groups by and for librarians. The free webinars are presented by IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning  and IFLA New Professionals Special Interest Group in partnership with the American Library Association.


LinkedIn was regarded as an increasingly more important platform for professional development. Other important role of LinkedIn is that it is used for the companies’ recruitment purposes. Thus, keeping your profile up-to-date is necessary if you want to become recognized by the potential head hunters. Technically, you can make your profile more complete by adding your photo, your CV, skills and your areas of interest. We discussed that the more contacts you have in Linkedin – the better it seems, and the more international contacts you have – even better. Do you disagree?


Your contacts in LinkedIn may endorse you for your skills. However, even people who have never met you in real life are able to endorse your skills, as LinkedIn actively invites you to endorse your contacts. The value of such endorsements is therefore controversial.


3) To sum up, there are multiple social media technologies and tools applicable to networking to enhance professional development. As both working time and spare time is limited, you don’t need to adopt them all. Still, it is worthwhile being curious and trying some social media technologies especially as they are mostly freely available. If you don’t get what you expected, just try some other technology that might fulfill your expectations better.


PS. Meanwhile you read this summary, some social media technologies that before were freely available may have turned fee-based or completely disappeared. It is certain that there are still some unexplored technologies that you can use for purposes you might not even know yet.


Report of the IFLA DIAL Working Group

Cut from the CPDWL Newsletter 

Ulrike Lang, Co-Chair of CPDWL

During the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) in Helsinki the issue of communication within IFLA was discussed and an active interest in strengthening the flow of information and communication was expressed.

As a result of one of these discussions, during the Division IV Leadership Brief on August 12, led by Division Chair Anna Maria Tammaro, the IFLA DIAL Working Group was established to investigate concerns related to IFLA communication issues and to develop proposals for the Professional Committee to consider at its meeting in December 2012 and to develop a work strategy and establish a consultation mechanism.

The group posted an opening statement in English and Spanish inviting participation to contribute to web-based discussions using different channels, including IFLA-L and comments on several IFLA blogs.

A short online survey available in English and Spanish received replies with a good geographical spread. 45% of the respondents were IFLA Officers, SC Members or SIG Conveners.

The questions of the survey were also posted on twitter.

Q1. What do you think about the way that IFLA communicates with its activists?

Q2. What do you think about the way that IFLA communicates with its members?

Q3. What do you think about the way that IFLA communicates with the general public?

Q4. What do you think about the way that IFLA uses social media? (blogs, twitter, etc)

Q5. What suggestions do you have to improve communications within IFLA?

A majority of respondents would like to see more transparency in decision-making processes, and more open discussions rather than just decisions communicated to officers and other activists.

There was also the general feeling that officers are limited by rules and the communication between sections is minimal and should be encouraged.

Most communication between IFLA officers and activists is face to face at the WLICs and some email contacts.

If members cannot join the WLIC, there is almost no communication. And for many colleagues IFLA is something far away and expensive.

Most respondents would like ongoing, constant communication online. The need for an

intensified exchange in these virtual spheres and the shift towards more participating media like social networks was expressed.

The responses of the survey also pointed out that IFLA would benefit from a much stronger and more strategic social media strategy. So far (with some exceptions) new media have just been added on top of the old structure. Respondent missed personal blogging and twittering that allow readers to sense the breath and pulse of the organisation.

IFLA’s Professional Committee’s own blog, ProfSpeak: blogs.ifla.org/profspeak was welcomed as a very good start although it should be more visible – at the moment the new blog, which uses a locally hosted WordPress platform, is not visible on IFLA’s own list of featured blogs thus, new ProfSpeak posts are not visible under Recent posts.

IFLA is the sum of its members. Respondents expressed a wish for IFLA to change for transparency and collective learning purposes, and in order to try new ways of engaging with the community.

While library and information professionals are eager to demonstrate the contributions we are making to society through our work in learning and research, information literacy, health information provision, social engagement, etc., IFLA communicates from the inside out,

We need a communication strategy from the user’s perspective (outside in) to showcase our contributions and bring the voice of librarians to the public discussion, especially in political issues such as copyright, open access, freedom of speech, etc.

IFLA is quite a large body with many parts, and rules and deadlines are needed to ensure that things get done in a coordinated way.

IFLA is made up of many people from many countries and different backgrounds and so there are different communication needs at different levels, in different groups and for different purposes.

While an update is definitely required and social media offers great opportunities, we should not forget that a significant proportion of IFLA members and potential members still encounter barriers due to lack of access to technological advances as well as language and skill barriers. Lack of resources brings a gap in participation as wide as the digital divide, which also needs bridging. Balancing IFLA participation between members from developed countries and professionals from countries still in development through greater communication and involvement, incorporating those from countries which currently still do not have much of a presence, and communicating with and strengthening national library associations are good starting points to achieve more balance.

How could we change for the better?

We could change for the better by practicing real dialogue, deep listening and organisational learning.

For example the leadership forums could be arranged as platforms with GB and PC members’ presence for activists to ask and suggest, and put more effort into organising virtual meetings to encourage greater participation.

Some investment on the website may be appropriate in order to develop a more user friendly IFLA website, including check lists / FAQs for newcomers, a blog to get the answers to common questions etc.

Library blogs exist in a competitive universe. Web readers expect blogs to be relatively informal but also frequently updated.

The IFLA Dial working group is very happy that PC and GB accepted the statement and will start a discussion within the IFLA community.

We see the importance to include this topic in our section work and ask everyone to come up with suggestions how we can improve our work in line with the surrounding needs.

Members of the IFLA Dial Working Group of CPDWL are Catharina Isberg, Information Coordinator and Ulrike Lang, Co-Chair of CPDWL.

Communication on an international arena

As part of IFLA, all of us are communicating on an international arena. This is not always an easy task, since we all live in different environments which have an impact on our communication. Impact which is so deeply integrated in us so we don’t even notice it.

One issue in our different environments (which might be the easiest one to develop), is to concider the differences between the northern and the southern hemisphere and their different seasons. Then writing a winter message can be kind of peculiar when the hot summer sun is shining outside (as a colleague from New Zealand pointed out the other day).

But even more difficult are the differens in culture, religions, gender and age.  We might for example say  “Merry Christmas” on the section FB-page (I’ve done that.), but what about other religions? Does a person with another belief feel involved in the IFLA work when their culture or religion is invisible? Are we open to different people with different backgrounds, religion, gender, age etc?

To improve and develop a communication built on inclusion, where everyone feel involved in the IFLA work and where everyone feel that their competence, their input and their work is being used by it’s full potential, we all need to concider different aspects on the environment we come from. To get all IFLA languages more used and visible is one important step, but the more difficult and important one is to get a communication built on inclusion in place.

What do you think about this? Do you have any suggestions on how to develop this work?

/Catharina Isberg (Information Coordinator, CPDWL)

Resolution Timing of IFLA Venue Announcement

For those of you who missed the PC blog message:

After our demand at the leadership brief this year in Helsinki, the PC  agreed to recommend a change in timing to the Governing Board.  In consultation with National Organizing Committees, the GB, and the PC, will find a way to time the venue announcement so that IFLA’s committees and members can more easily plan their future programs, particularly for satellite events. Especially for sections without midterm meetings (like us) it is highly recommened to have the time for planing already two years in advance.

The full post you can find here: http://blogs.ifla.org/profspeak/2012/09/03/resolution-re-timing-of-ifla-venue-announcement/

And of course we`ll let you know if there are further information.