Library Day in the Life 8 Day 3 #libday8

So, as promised in yesterday’s post today was busier and more ‘library’ than ‘manager’. However in the same style as the rest of my #libday8 posts I am not going to repeat all the tasks I have done verbatim, these can be seen at my Twitter. If you’re not already, follow me. If you are feeling fancy – you could RSS it. You’d be so cool.

Anyway, today. Library-based. Or more accurately Library-skill set based. It covered a lot (but not all) of the skills I would say are important, if not vital to any library/information professional, but especially so in the health sector:

  • Information Retrieval/Management – A core skill. I class myself as an information professional. I work with manage information. Today this was an information consultancy and updating the current awareness blog.
  • Teamwork – working with members of the public health team, with public library colleagues, with library folk throughout the region. Today I shared the library marketing plan/strategy with a health library in another region. You can also fit ‘Partnership Working’ underneath here.
  • Creativity – and underappreciated skill. Not so in health promotion! Give me a handful of leaflets, a set of posters and some Velcro-dots and I shall give you intrigue, adventure and a fancy display promoting Health Trainer events!
  • Flexibility – Not so physically, more so mentally. Fit a tight deadline in – no problem. “Can I just have 10 minutes of your time for an impromptu chat” – no problem.
  • Negotiation/Facilitation – It’s not all give. It’s not all take. Being a library professional is often like being Vito Corleone – you can almost run your service on ‘favours’ owed. Not only do I spend time ensuring that people are put together with the knowledge/information they need, but often it may be another person. Ensuring good relationships to facilitate this is key. Today someone enquired about why Bolton is a leader in positive outcomes for Summary Care Record use. We only have administrative dealings with SCR, but I knew who may know, and have a good enough relationship with them so they may be willing to share their knowledge freely through my facilitation. A corner-stone of intra-organisational knowledge sharing that is.
  • Discipline – with ever changing deadlines and pressures on your time, it is important to be disciplined and ensure you still do what needs to be done. This can also be the discipline to not take cuts that may seem short now, but in the long run will make more work for you.
  • Confidence – When dealing with people either face to face or remotely it’s important to give the impression that you are the person they should be speaking to, even if you are only going to signpost them elsewhere. Have confidence in the reference interview, in customer service. Confidence is key. Just don’t be a patronising arsehole.

For those who you have followed my tweet’s you will notice there was nothing about direct face-to-face interaction with users. That’s because there wasn’t any. It’s a fallacy to suggest (though I am not sure who has suggested this – possibly the stereotype of ‘a library’??) that libraries are all about ‘getting people through the doors’ or ‘circulation figures’. Sure, they are nice. And were probably the most important thing in the 1970’s. We as a service (as I am sure most services do) offer a variety of ways for people to use us – and go out a get people. It’s about value (both cost and customer perception), about enabling, about impact and in our case ensuring that our users have tools, resources and evidence they need to do their job. We help people, help people (in some cases help people).

Well – this differed from what I originally intended! Tomorrow – meeting with Gil my Chartership mentor in the PM. In the morning – who knows!

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