The Bulleted Library Technician

November 24, 2008

no gaming in the library, please

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: , , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 7:57 pm

At least not for the next 2 weeks…  I was told today to put up the signs:

no gaming sign

See more of the signs I created for the library in my Flickr set “InfoCommons & Library Computer Help Desk.”

I can’t believe that Study Week & Finals are coming so soon!  This is Week 14 of the semester, how did it all fly by?


November 18, 2008

Influence Without Authority

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 1:51 pm

I attended an ACRL webinar today (actually I attended the first 60 minutes of a 90 minute presentation.) Here are my notes.

Speaker: Melanie Hawks from University of Utah

Ask yourself: why / who do you need to influence?

  • Many webinar participants are coordinators of their peers, but not actually their supervisors (ex. Instruction coordinator, collection development coordinator, etc.)
  • Some webinar participants want to “influence up” – the deans, presidents, CEOs, etc of their organization.

Think of a spectrum between authority and influence. What words do you think fall in this spectrum?

Webinar participants placed these words…


  • administration
  • policy manual
  • budget
  • hiring

… in between

  • purchasing software
  • building community
  • consensus


  • advocacy
  • liaison work
  • coordinator
  • training peers

1977 book “Men & Women of the Corporation” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter discussed successful strategies to “climb the ladder” of the organization.

  • Do the right things
    • Dependable performance
    • Extraordinary activities (beyond official job duties) – ex. leading a project, taking on a new assignment
    • Visible activities – if what you do is never seen by anyone, it will be difficult for you to exert influence
    • Relevant activities – is your work aligned with the organization’s goals?
  • Cultivate the right people – this does not mean manipulate, it means develop relationships
    • Superiors – these may be difficult to cultivate if you don’t interact with them often
    • Subordinates – they are the people “on the front lines” who get things done, it’s important to have them on your side
    • Peers – probably the ones you can form the strongest bonds with

Raw materials of influence

  • You
  • Your message
  • The audience


  • Start where the client *is* — respect their reality, don’t impose your reality. Relate to them in a sincere and empathetic way.
  • Survey the terrain – find out who & where your audience is, tailor your message to them. You can’t reach everyone, so you have to choose some subset(s) to concentrate on. It’s not effective to try the same exact message with every subset.
  • Turn off your filters and see them from their own perspective.


  • How do others see you?
  • Factors that impact your credibility
    • Consistency – Warren Bennis’s leadership studies show that people would rather follow someone that they don’t entirely agree with but who is consistent, than someone they agree with who is inconsistent.
    • Integrity – do your words match up with your actions? Do you do what you say you will do? See the books of Kouzes & Posner.
    • Competence – do you have the credentials or expertise for people to believe in you?
    • Benevolence – do they see you as caring and helping, or malevolent?

October 20, 2008

Using a wiki as a local “tourist guide”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 3:40 pm

The September 2008 issue of American Libraries magazine has an interesting article by Meredith Farkas.  She describes how she moved to a new area, and had difficulty finding the “best curly fries” and other amenities.  Larger cities tend to have tourist guides, but smaller towns have nothing of the sort — just the collective wisdom of hundreds of residents, all locked up inside their individual brains.  She describes how some towns are using a wiki to encourage residents to contribute their local knowledge, to share with each other, and to help new residents and visitors enjoy the area fully.  She encouraged libraries to take the initiative in getting such a project started.  Sounds like fun!  If I ever move to a small town again, I’ll certainly keep this in mind.

August 18, 2008

Enhancing Productivity with Web 2.0

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 2:00 pm

My notes from a presentation I attended at the Nevada Library Association (NLA) Conference on Friday August 15, 2008.   Presentation title:  “Enhancing Productivity with Web 2.0.”

Presenter:  Janie L. Hermann, Technology Trainer at Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ.  She is a co-author of the LibraryGarden blog and the Talking Technology blog.  She is a very engaging speaker, with a cute Canadian accent.  Now I have to look up some words that either she pronounced “the Canadian way” or I simply don’t know how to pronounce properly!  (You know how it is, when you are familiar with a word in print but you’ve never heard it aloud — you don’t always have the right pronunciation in your head….) 

Web 1.0 was the first iteration of the Internet.  Basically, only those who “know the code” (HTML) can contribute.  Everyone else just reads.  Mostly static pages (not many updates/changes.)

Web 2.0 is not a whole new Internet, it’s just a trend toward more interactive web sites.  Anyone can contribute, it’s easy, no special code needed.  We can all write often, have conversations, etc.

Free web sites to try:

  • HitMeLater = resends an email at a later date so you can remember (it won’t get buried in your inbox)
  • MemJog = will send text message to your phone to remind you.  send on any date you choose.  set up recurring reminders.
  • WakerUpper = a wake-up call to your phone.  you go to the website, type in a message (150 characters) and it translates it to voice, calls you at the date & time you specify.
  • DemoGirl = a blog that tours new web tools, with screen casts.
  • MonkeySee = experts in various topics post short how-to videos.
  • Delicious = store your bookmarks online.  you can use multiple “tags” for each bookmark instead of hiding them in a single folder like browser favorites (I’ve been using this for over a year, I love it!  see my bookmarks here)
  • Flickr = store your photos online.  other users can add comments.  good place to search for images, too.  (Another one I’ve been using, it’s great.  see my photos here)
  • Zamzar = file conversion.  lots of options for word processing files, image files, audio files, etc.  (Another one I’ve been using, and recommending to my patrons.)
  • Picnik = image editing in your browser (nothing to download.)  works inside Flickr, too.  most of the useful functions are free, you can pay to get some extra functions.  Princeton Public Library offers classes in online photo editing.
  • FlickrCC = search Creative Commons images on Flickr.  yes, flickr has it’s own search feature, but this one is better.  great way to find free images to use in presentations.
  • Doodle = to try to find a meeting time that works for everyone.  you go to the web site and input some dates and times, then use your private email system to send the URL to the invitees (so the Doodle folks do not see everyone’s email addresses.)  each invitee then marks each time yes or no, and the results are tallied and sent to you. 
  • Jott = call a toll free number, tell it something, it gets transcribed and sent to you or someone else via text message or email (the email version includes a button to click to hear your voice.)  good for reminders, to-do-lists — can even dictate postings to your WordPress blog!
  • TaDa List = to-do-lists, can share via RSS, save for later.
  • Send U It and You Send It = to send large files to one or more people without jamming up your email inboxes (you simply send a private URL that they click on to retrieve the file.)  On SendUIt, you can set an expiration time (30 minutes to 1 week.)
  • SlideShare = basically it’s YouTube for PowerPoint.  Great place for professional development (see the presentations of experts, whether or not you can attend the conference)  I checked this out a few months ago, it’s pretty cool.  And now it can record your voice as you present you slides!  See Janie Hermann’s presentations here.
  • FileHippo = safe place to download software (shareware / freeware.)

How to find out about all the cool new Web 2.0 stuff:

August 1, 2008

fun with words & fonts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 9:47 pm

I stumbled across a fun new toy, Wordle, while I was browsing around at “The Goblin in the Library.”

Wordle will make a sort of a “tag cloud” for any text you input.  The size of the word indicates how many times it appears in the text.  You can copy & paste text from anywhere, or enter your blog’s RSS feed URL, or enter your delicous username.

Here’s some Wordle pictures of my delicious tags.  Kinda shows you what I’ve been surfing around for and saving in the last couple of years.  Each image uses the same words, just different fonts & layout.

July 25, 2008

A Week in the Life of a Library

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 3:40 am

Now that I have completed one week of blogging about my work, I have finally added my name to the list on the “Library Day in the Life wiki.” Maybe next month I’ll have time to read what everyone else has written. Now it’s time to get back to the homework. 😦

July 24, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Library Technican: Tuesday

I’m writing this on Thursday, so I might forget a few things I did…

New emails to deal with:

  • new software “images” for scanner section & multimedia section are ready to test
  • problem with JAWS screen reader software in the new “image” for the InfoCommons area might be solved. Latest version of the “image” is available on 3 sections of patron computers.
  • am I going to Nevada Library Association (NLA) conference next month? let’s have lunch (from a friend in the UNT SLIS Nevada Cohort)
  • online version of a new encyclopedia in our collection which I used recently (Magill’s Medical Guide) will be activated soon
  • can I cover Computer Help Desk Friday 11-1?
  • can I cover Research & Information Desk Friday 3-4?

Major activity for this day was planning for the new Multimedia Design Studio space. My supervisor (Carmen) met with Alexis and I to discuss it. We came up with a lot of points that need to be covered before we move in, such as who will live over there, what hours will it be open, will it be staffed all the hours it’s open, etc.

I took a bunch of measurements and created a floor plan, to the scale of 1 pica = 1 inch. And I played around with lots of different possible layouts of the furniture & computers (I will try to attach some later.)

Kinda fun really. Except for the fact that I got so involved in it that I stayed til 10:15 pm! Boy was I hungry when I got home! I had only planned to work til 7, so I didn’t have any dinner with me, and my stash of snacks in my desk is sadly depleted…

July 22, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Library Technician: Monday

Our new mobile white boards arrived! And they’re huge! 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall (and that’s just the board — the frame makes the whole apparatus even larger.) Our department head Tom Ipri ordered 3 of them, as part of an ongoing project to provide more flexible spaces for groups to study together.

We only have 18 actual Group Study Rooms in our library, and students are always asking for more spaces to get together. Each Group Study Room has a whiteboard (actually we just replaced them earlier this summer, most rooms have 2 shiny new whiteboards instead of one old icky whiteboard.) See my flickr set “Group Study Room” for pics.

So my task was to make a sign to go on each mobile whiteboard. They are double-sided and can be flipped over to use the backside. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out a good way to word the instructions (it’s not completely obvious how to operate the locking mechanism.) And we are a little worried about people flipping the board over without looking to see if there’s a wall, table, or person in the way. So I decided to just write “This board flips over. Please don’t!” Of course that won’t be on the final sign, but it made us laugh for a moment.

I served 1 hour on the Computer Help Desk. I can’t remember what questions I answered (I’m writing this a day later), but I know there weren’t many.

In the afternoon I went into our new Multimedia Design Studio space and took some measurements. We have to figure out how to configure the tables and/or cubicles so we can get all our equipment in there comfortable and attractively (and hopefully still have room for new equipment, if some extra $$$ falls into our lap sometime)    🙂

It’s a very odd-shaped space, and my measuring tape is not very long, so it took a while. Then I drew a floorplan in Microsoft Publisher. I’ll try to attach it here later.

July 19, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Library Technician: Saturday

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: , , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 2:28 pm

This is my assigned Saturday for the month. Usually it’s a good day to hide in my cubicle, away from distractions, and get lots of work done. Today hasn’t worked out that well (lots of interruptions.) I wanted to get lots done on the Excel 2007 training, clean up some emails & paperwork, maybe start looking for a new camcorder to replace our broken one, and grab a few books for my homework. But pesky patrons keep needing assistance!

I say that completely tongue-in-cheek — of course I love to help patrons, that’s why I’m in this business. I had the opportunity to do a job with a lot less public contact, and I knew that wouldn’t work for me — I’m a fairly sociable person who likes to be out on the front lines.

If you can remember the theme song from the old TV show Green Acres (listen here), try singing this: “User Services is the place for me, helpin’ patrons is the life for me. Students linin’ up so far and wide… Keep Tech Services just give me that public side!”

When the Media Desk student took his break, he put up the bell and it rang several times:

Media Resources Desk

Media Resources Desk

  • 1 patron wanted to borrow headphones for use with the computer
  • 1 patron wanted to borrow a laptop computer (but he had fines on his account, so I said no)
  • 1 patron wanted something that I don’t remember now
  • 1 patron needed help with WebCampus/Blackboard in the Disability Resource Room (DRR.) Boy, that ZoomText makes everything HUGE!

Then the student worker came back to the Media Desk, and I retreated back to my cubicle. I got really “into the zone,” then I was called back to the DRR. Rinse & repeat. Once working steadily away again, the Computer Help Desk student went on his break (putting up the sign to “go to Media Desk with questions.” Pretty soon the Media Desk student asked me to come out for a question about RefWorks (which I referred to the Ref Desk, as I really really needed to finish eating my cold hamburger left over from breakfast. I have some minor blood sugar issues… I get cranky when I don’t eat. Plus I had some unknown Whopper juice running down my hand, and not a sink in sight.)

So far, it’s been a typical day in cube-ville: Workus Interruptus. We’ll see how the next 4 hours go. 🙂

See more pictures of Lied Library in my flickr collection.

A Day in the Life of a Library Technician: Friday

Filed under: Librarianship (general) — Tags: , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 1:57 pm

Friday was a day off for me, since I have to work Saturday. Most of the staff in my department are in the Saturday rotation, so we each work about 9-10 Saturdays a year. Which means a day off sometime during the week, usually Friday, to run around and do errands.

I spent my day off doing homework for “library school.” (I feel so silly calling it that, but it’s concise, and everyone knows what you mean.)

While I was gone, something very excting happened: we got approval to move the Multimedia Design Studio into that new space! YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!

old DDS office

old DDS office

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at