The Bulleted Library Technician

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 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.

June 17, 2008

History of the World Wide Web

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Michelle Hawkins-Thiel @ 2:02 pm
I just stumbled across this intriguing bit of history.   I remember studying Vannevar Bush and his fabulous Memex, but I don’t recall this guy:  Paul Otlet, who originated the concept for the Web, in Belgium in 1934.




May 12, 2008

Hello world!

I am starting a new blog just for my career exploration journey. I recently completed 9 credits of core courses toward my MLS (Masters degree in Library and Information Science) from UNT (University of North Texas.)

Soon I will need to focus on a specific “major” or track to study for the remainder of the program (27 credits.)  My two preferred paths are:

  • Health Informatics — leading to a position as a science / technical / medical (STM) reference librarian in a university, medical school, large public library, or biotech firm
  • Youth Librarianship — leading to a position as a children’s librarian in a public library

Blog at