Archive for November, 2007

Intranet Feedback

I ran an intranet feedback session with the Brisbane staff the other day. It’s the first of my end 2007/08 series, next week it’s Sydney’s turn.

The morning commenced by luring them with “Dreamy Donuts”. Personally, I have heard of Krispy Kreme, but not these, but as they were close to work I thought “why not”. Food works, let me tell you. It helps to kick off the session with a bit of a giggle as well as that person in the corner confessing they have already eaten 4 !! I managed to not eat any, very proud !

I try to keep these sessions quite open to allow staff to input their opinions. And quite a few usually do. You have the usuals who don’t say much, so to engage them, we go around the table at one time and ask them the applications they use most on the intranet.

What came out of this session? Well, there were a few words on the front page that were confusing them.

  • Like, we have “What’s New”, they didn’t realise it meant, “what’s new on the Intranet” (we’ll change the wording), and
  • we also have “…in the news”, thinking they would realise it’s about the company, but they didn’t. So, wording needs to change to “Urbis in the news”.

It’s funny, but it can be minor things like this that cause staff confusion and make me realise we need to keep the intranet very simple in it’s wording. I just “presumed” it was simple, as Melbourne staff had told me they understood the wording. Not the same for other areas.

What’s the main big thing here? The Intranet doesn’t have a search engine, and that is mainly holding people back as they feel frustrated about where to find things next time. Well, that’s up to the powers that be to invest in…(EOM)


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I am always evaluating the message I am delivering to my colleagues and always thinking, “is my message getting across AND how can the message improve”. (do my colleagues understand the library) I think it’s important to always be thinking this as it will truly help your service to evolve and get more people using the service. Many shops and other services do this, it’s why they work on moving around their goods, buying new goods, consolidating popular goods and discarding old ones.

So what do you do when you *think* you are getting your message across, to meet up with staff who are telling you they are setting up their own libraries in their own work area? Cringe ! Feel deflated ! Hellalujah, they’ll do the library now ! Yes, I always know there is room for improvement in my library but when I caluculate the number of people who are making these *confessions* to me against the amount of resourcing and timing I have, plus, the company has doubled in staff size in the time I have been here (2 1/2 years), I know start to imagine these other *smaller collections* morphing, growing in strength and being too big to actually consolidate into our traditional library.

I think I’m being cynical today, maybe it’s been too long between blogs for me? Anyway, just thought I’d have my little vent and I’ll go off and keep thinking about how to solve this business and information issue. 

Thinking….thinking….thinking…till next time

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Usual question ? What do you do? My answer, “I get paid to blog and search google.” It’s not really what I do all day, but some part of my work is submitting information to my library portal via a blog. BTW, we use wordpress.

Initially the blog started as a way for me to handle many emails I receive. So I categorised them on the blog in their subject heading and then by date order.  Recently I assed a “Research Request” area, where I can submit the questions I am asked and then the answers. This shows my national colleagues the sort of questions they can ask me and gives answers, just in case they are looking for similar information, which does happen.

Soon, staff can subscribe to the service by RSS, but we haven’t launched it yet. RSS will eliminate another job for me, and that is emailing the information I receive. Which will allow me to focus on more important work such as literature reviews.

So, enjoy the librarian trade, it can be lots of fun to get paid to search google and play with your work blog.

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So you have been seeing my library marketing campaigns flourish. Current campaigns are the Sherlock Holmes ad and the “view the library refresh and grab a muffin” session I held last friday. Well, last Friday the CEO turned up and I had about 10 minutes with him before the hordes turned up. It was good to show him around the library, to reflect on how current collections are going and show him some new collections. I started a book swap a few years ago, just to give the Urbis library some flavour, and when the CEO saw it, he commented that he can donate a box of books, how excellent ! The refresh tours went well and I had at least 30 staff drop by and I did spring a few staff who just grabbed a muffin (I have mentally noted who they are). I think it’s good to generate interest in a Corporate Library’s collection, because sometimes staff are so busy they forget about the excellent resources on hand for them.

Soon I’m talking to staff in Brisbane and Sydney and I’ll post the progress of those talks in a month or so.

Questions that staff ask me have significantly ramped up since I launched the Sherlock Holmes look / theme / marketing – “information super sleuth. Some people contact me to ask a variety of questions, even if they are not quite library solutions, I can pass the person onto someone else, whether that be our office manager or the IT department. I’ll keep you posted on the “the super sleuth” too.

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If you had of told me on Saturday night at about 6pm, that our dam would fill up and our property would be flooded with water on Sunday morning, I would have told you you were crazy, and that it would not happen! Well, we rushed out and redirected some of the tank water in case the heavens did open and made the necessary plans.

And, well, it happened. The Bureau said we’d get about 25mm of rain, but our rain guage holds 70mm and it was overflowing ! Shock horror.

Here’s a pic to give you an idea of the deluge we received.

flood-1.jpg flood-2.jpgflood-3.jpgflood-4.jpg

Yes, you will notice in the third photo, that is our jetty underwater. We have found the frogs are now making their happy noises in the drains and my husband found a yabby (freshwater crayfish) under the house, who might have been escaping the water overload.

Here are the pictures of our dam in March this year,

I have a great feeling inside to know that we have some relief from the drought. I

think I might go and pull the canoe out this afternoon.

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The Librarians, a new show on the ABC, which you are all well aware of, has caused quite a rabble on many ALIA email lists. Many people are criticising it, saying they hate it, like it etc. But I see another side to the screening of this show, see my reply to a few library email lists.

Hi there to all you groovers discussing the Librarians (aired on TV last night),

Isn’t it great that this series has already caused so much discussion. I really don’t mind if people either love, hate, or are so so about this show, the good thing is is that us librarians are talking even more about our profession. While also drawing in a wider audience from the community.

I myself am going to ride on the wave of the show and use it to further market my library services with my own clients. And I notice that the State Library of Victoria also had an article in today’s Age, so maybe they are doing the same thing.

I reckon, ditch the shusshing, get out there and get loud !!

Jill Stephens

I have already had one positive response from a library manager who has forwarded my email onto her staff. So it’s good to see that my thoughts have a valid point.

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So, I have a vision for how I’d like to market my library within our organisation, and some of it is now coming to fruition. Your “Urbis Super Sleuth” is one strategy and there are more on the boil, which I will share with you as they are launched.

Recently Katy (she did lots and lots of work with remodelling the library) and I have changed the library around to “look like Dymocks” and yes, people are noticing.

On Friday, we are having a quick Show and Tell with the Urbis staff. To show people the new library refresh program that has been implemented. It’s not the sort of environment where people chat or have morning tea, but we are going to ask people to drop by, see the library and “grab a muffin”. I have found the weak points / the target points for my clients, and yes, it’s food. And it’s working. I know people are busy, but if they swing by, informally, for about 10 minutes they will have time to feel comfortable with the library set up.

Here’s our advertistment we cooked up.

Melbourne Library Refresh

Over the last few days, I have been walking around the staffs’ work areas and many people are asking me about the Friday event or confirming they will be there. I am amazed with the level of interest that is now being raised. I think it’s also good for the Library to follow on with marketing after the launch of The Librarians on the ABC last night. As I notice the (Victorian) State Library has an item in today’s Age, maybe they are taking onto the promotion of libraries in the new show as well. 

So it’s time to steam roller ahead fellow librarians and get out there and promote your services in whichever strategy you think will snag your clients interests !!

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