Mooresville Public Library

Mooresville Public Library
MPL Courtyard

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Celebrating National Library Week (April 10-16, 2011) With Our New Program Trailer

Continuing our anticipated celebration of National Library Week (April 10-16, 2011), we present our program trailer that forecasts a foreboding future if folks forget (what great alliteration!) how important libraries are to their everyday lives.  Although library services appear to be "free," they must be funded, and in the case of public libraries or academic libraries at public institutions, we taxpayers must pony up the cash.  That's not a popular theme these days, but it is important to remember what happens to governmental services when the money stops.  It is a mistake to take these things for granted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

National Library Week is April 10-16, 2011

National Library Week is April 10-16, 2011.  You should celebrate by reading, and then, to relax, read some more.  You could also read while you're waiting for the week to arrive.
The slogan for this year is "visit your library today and create your own story."  Quoting further from the official American Library Association (ALA) poster:

  • Today’s libraries can help you discover a new and exciting world. Take advantage of the free access to books and computers, homework help, assistance with resumes and job searches, accurate financial information, adult education courses, support for new Americans, CDs, DVDs and much more. Don’t forget, your librarian is information smart and can help you find the right answer @ your library.

Visit the American Library Association (ALA) web site to read more about National Library Week.  April is School Library Month, too, so students, visit your school library, as well as your public library.

You may download the official ALA National Library Week poster from here.  Author John Grisham is honorary chair.  Our Library has a couple of unofficial posters, featuring our feline roving reporter, Cauli Le Chat, and her "cub" reporter, Harley Quinn (along with the "Lady With the Red Hair").  Click on the images below to enlarge them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

S631 Project Video: Importing, Batch Loading, & Global Updating MARC Records in Integrated Library Systems

If you have stumbled upon this blog, you might want to move right along to another article among those listed in the Blog Archive (below, right-hand side of the screen). The sole purpose of this blog is to embed a video that I will be playing during a Powerpoint presentation for S631 Advanced Cataloging on March 25, 2011. Through experience I have discovered that you can never have too many contingency plans for "what if" scenarios involving dysfunctional technologies. Having the video accessible through this blog is just one additional safeguard.

Wish me luck in my presentation! It's worth a quarter of my semester grade.

Bill Buckley
MPL Indiana Room Historian & Reference Coordinator, Adult Services

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Workplace Communication: Say What?

Many moons ago, I was a human resources trainer at a hospital in our capital city. Recently, I was discarding some old training materials from those bygone days when I came across a forgotten photograph. It has a peculiar history.

Following a staff workshop I conducted on workplace communication, a departmental manager complained that she had learned nothing practical. "All you H.R. eggheads present your textbook ideas without any appreciation what it's really like in the trenches," she postulated. "It all sounds really fine, but try to make it work in the real world, and it falls flat." Did she have any examples? "Enough for a dozen workshops," she declared. She offered a sampling: her departmental bulletin board. (This was in the relatively early days of the world wide web, and many employees did not have email. There were no instant messaging or online notice boards available.) The manager complained that her staff never looked at the items stapled to the bulletin board, although they all knew that this was the primary means of departmental communication.

"How do they know to look there?" I asked.

"We had a departmental meeting announcing it, and I personally told those absent. But nobody pays any attention to what I post on the bulletin board. I could put up a nude photo of myself, and no one would notice." I couldn't help advising against this, imagining the consequential sexual harassment claims. She scoffed. "I bet you five dollars nobody would say a word." I could always use a Mr. Lincoln, so the bet was made.

About a week later, I dropped by the manager's department. Amongst the memos and notices stapled to the bulletin board was a clearly visible, full-frontal nude Polaroid color photo of the manager. I was taken aback; I hadn't really expected her to post it, but there, for all of our working world to see, was this manager in the raw. (Good likeness, it seemed.)

I left the photo thumb-tacked to the bulletin board, thinking that, any day now, there would be a stampede to human resources to file sexual harassment claims.

There wasn't. Nobody said a word about the photo, as far as I could discover. (Our H.R. officer overseeing such complaints subsequently confirmed that no photo-related harassment claims had been made that month.) At month's end, I returned to the department, removed the photo from the bulletin board, and visited the manager.

"You owe me five bucks," she demanded.

"All this proves," I deduced, "Is that none of your staff formally complained about your nude picture. They may have seen it and said nothing."

"Do you honestly think that these people," she indicated her staff by a sweeping wave of her arm, "Would have seen this photo and not talk about it themselves? It would have been all over the hospital grapevine." She was correct about the hospital's gossip grapevine. A juicy tidbit like this would have circulated far and wide, had anybody noticed.

She smiled. "Pay me the five dollars. You can keep the photo as a memento--something interesting to include in your workshops."

The manager had demonstrated a curious dilemma in office communication. How do you assure that employees will actually read (or listen to) important information disseminated to them? I suggested to the manager that she distribute handouts of significant notices to each employee, having them sign-off their receipt. "Upper management wants us to reduce photocopy costs," she countered.

"Try making important announcements at departmental meetings and directing staff to the bulletin board for details," I said.

"No good. Some of my staff only work nights and weekends and can't attend departmental meetings when I'm here [during the weekdays]. I'm not coming in at all hours just to tell them stuff they should be able to read off the bulletin board."

"Why not have each employee sign a statement acknowledging that the bulletin board would be the sole vehicle for departmental communication, and that it was his/her responsibility to remain apprised of postings?" I offered.

"That doesn't work, either." She named another department head who had announced a procedure change at a departmental meeting and then subsequently discharged an employee for failing to follow the new process. "She [the other department head] had her staff sign-in at the meeting, so she could prove attendance. The employee [who was present and signed-in at the meeting] said she didn't hear anything about a new procedure. Upper management paid off her and her lawyer's lawsuit." (This was not entirely accurate. There was no lawsuit; rather, it was an administrative hearing for unemployment compensation, in which the hospital argued the employee had been discharged for just cause, thereby precluding a benefits award. The hearing officer sided with the hospital, citing the signed attendance sheet, as well as testimony of other employees in attendance, as evidence of the employee's prior knowledge of the procedural change.)

It occurred to me that one of the difficulties preventing effective workplace communication is this anticipated breakdown. How can any communication effort work if there is a preconceived belief that it will fail? Negative expectations assure negative outcomes.

ISBN-10: 0982672543
ISBN-13: 9780982672549

In Misunderstood!: The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work--What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Shut Up (Casey Communications, 2010), author Allie Casey advises that the right approach, as well as the right words, is essential to effective workplace communication. The critical mindset is to extend "the invitation for communication," as Casey phrases the approach. Self-examination helps workers and managers understand what they may (or may not) be doing to foster dialogue or exchanges of ideas. With this awareness in place, one may proceed to "power communicating" by clarifying one's messages and matching them with the most effective delivery mechanisms. There are definitely some excellent concepts presented in this book, and it is well worthwhile for anyone working in a business or professional environment to peruse.

By the way, I never mentioned the photo in any workshops. Why become a lightning rod for trouble? I hate to discard a good picture, though.

William R. Buckley, J.D.
MPL Reference Coordinator, Adult Services
& Indiana Room Historian

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Watercolor Magic (With Grace Cole) @ MPL

All art begins in the heart. What your heart creates, your hands can shape. It is simply a matter of technique, and with sufficient practice and training, those skills may be developed.

Reserve a place in artist Grace Cole's watercolor magic classes, which are held at our library. The next class will be Tuesdays, March 22 & 29, 2011, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., in the Library Community Room. You must register for the class, either by calling (317) 831-7323 (ask for Meghan) or by visiting our online calendar and clicking on the event to which you wish to register. The cost is $3.00 at the door. Attendees are asked to wear a work shirt and to bring a washrag and a cup for water. Other supplies will be furnished.

The library has a program trailer describing the wonders of watercolor art. The paintings appear as if by magic! Well, time-lapse photography helps.

If you have ever wanted to learn to paint but haven't touched watercolors since kindergarten, now's your chance to learn from a pro. You'll have lots of fun and will create some fine artwork.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MPL Book Trailer #96: Signal, by Cynthia DeFelice

For our one hundredth book trailer, we present Signal, by Cynthia DeFelice (Square Fish, 2011) (ISBN 0312617763 and 978-0312617769). The intended audience for this fictional work is young adults.

This book trailer (#96) brings the total on our YouTube Channel to 100, including four others that are numbered differently.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Holy Experiment Day (March 4)

March 4, which was yesterday now (my laptop is on EST), although my blog clock is PST, --umm-- now I've forgotten what I started to say. Oh, yes. March 4 is (was) Holy Experiment Day. (Really.) Several web sites discussing this day's observance suggested invoking prayer and experimenting with various pleas to test results. Perhaps a more expansive interpretation is available. The objective might be to seek what you consider holy in your life or the lives of those around you. Maybe that's the same thing as prayer; I'm no ecclesiastical scholar. However you wish to experiment, should you wish to do so, I hope your results are encouraging.

As my contribution, I'd like to mention a couple of wonderful songs--one gospel, one folk spiritual--performed by two folk rock legends, The Byrds and Cat Stevens. The Byrds present their electric version of Bob Dylan's Lay Down Your Weary Tune, and Cat Stevens delivers a powerful rendition of Morning Has Broken.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here Come the Chicks! (to MPL Youth Services)

Beginning March 15, 2011, MPL Youth Services will be showcasing a chicken egg incubator, and visitors may watch the eggs as the chicks inside mature and, around the first of April, hatch out. It is a natural wonder to behold. Who can resist a fluffy little feathered friend? Our program trailer below gives a hint of coming attractions.

The incubator will be on public display behind the Youth Services information desk. You can follow the eggs/chicks' progress by visiting the library's latest blog, Hatching Chicks at MPL, written by Suzanne Walker, M.L.S., Youth Services Librarian at MPL. The URL is:

The project, now in its second consecutive year, is looking for special families to foster pairs of baby chicks over Easter and then return them to the library. Please follow the chick blog for more details.

For a humorous blog from the feline viewpoint, we offer the musings of our own roving reporter, Cauli Le Chat (click here and here).

Bill Buckley
MPL Reference Coordinator, Adult Services
& Indiana Room Historian