Category Archives: Education

Annual Evaluations

Annual evaluations of staff members are a necessary part of any well-run library. Not only do these reviews allow staff to reflect upon their previous year, but it also opens the door to establish future goals to work towards. Having a scheduled visit between employees and their supervisor lets them discuss their role openly and honestly in a more structured way than they may be able to in a different context.

It is important to note, however, that there should be no surprises during this review time. Any behavioral or work-related issues should be addressed immediately by a supervisor or, in the case of the director, the library board, as soon as they are discovered. These concerns can be addressed during the review as part of a reflection, but the employee should not be blind-sided by these issues.

Evaluations can be conducted many different ways. Some libraries are required to follow their city or county’s review process using their forms, and others have the freedom to adopt their own with board approval. All staff evaluations should be conducted by the staff member’s supervisor, and the director’s review is conducted by the board.

The evaluation process, ideally, has 3–4 steps:

  1. Self-evaluation

In the self-evaluation, staff members are asked to reflect on their previous year. This may be using a numbering system, a meets/exceeds expectations system, or free-answer system. Oftentimes, evaluations relate directly to the employee’s job description, but evaluations can be more general as well.

The self-evaluation will also typically ask the employee to create goals for the future and address their previous goals. To be the most beneficial, goals should be measureable and attainable. This means that instead of saying, “increase user engagement,” the goal would be, “increase user engagement by 12%” or, “increase user engagement by promoting databases twice a week.” From this example, then, the employee would keep track of user engagement throughout the year and then discuss the progress during their next evaluation. A common guideline is to make the goals SMART; Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.

The director’s self-evaluation can also include a broader look at the library such as library highlights, issues of concern, and how the library compares to other libraries of a similar size.

 

  1. Supervisor (or board) evaluation:

The employee’s supervisor should fill out a similar form to the self-evaluation for each of their employees. For the library director, the board should do this portion. For example, if the employee’s self-evaluation asked, “Do you plan ahead with enough time to be able to effectively handle several projects and/or tasks at one time?”, the supervisor’s evaluation of the employee should read, “Does the employee plan ahead with enough time to be able to effectively handle several projects and/or tasks at one time.”

Supervisors should review the goals that the staff members identified to make sure they are SMART and be prepared to discuss them.

 

  1. Staff-evaluation (directors/managers only)

For a staff evaluation, staff members review their manager or director using a similar evaluation form to the self-evaluation. These reviews are submitted to the library board anonymously to provide feedback on the director. Since the library board is not often around during the day-to-day work at the library, staff are seen as a good measure of how a director is doing. Common questions that can be answered by staff better than a board member are questions about communication, timeliness, work-flows, and problem solving.

This type of evaluation is completely optional, and, if the board chooses to go this route, they need to remember the following:

  • Staff-reviews of the director should be read and understood as a whole rather than on an individual basis. This means that if one review indicates a poor communication style and the other seven indicate an excellent communication style, it is likely that one person had a bad experience and is using the evaluation process as a chance to air this grievance.

 

  • Staff should submit their evaluation of the director before their personal evaluation is reviewed. This way, they are unable to retaliate or bolster the director’s evaluation based on the feedback they receive during their review process.

 

  • The director’s evaluation should occur after they evaluate their staff members. This way, staff can be sure that the director isn’t retaliating against or favoring certain employees based on the results of the director’s evaluation.

 

  1. Evaluation review

The final step to the evaluation process is for the employee and the director (or the director and the board) to meet and discuss the evaluations. Typically the manager will go through each element and discuss what they rated compared to the employee. This is a time for both parties to discuss job satisfaction, goals, concerns, answer questions, compensation, and more.

The director’s evaluation review by the library board must follow open meeting laws which means it cannot be closed to executive session as per NDCC 44-04-17.1. For more information on Open Meetings in ND, see https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/sites/ag/files/documents/Open-Meetings-Guide.pdf

Annual reviews should be signed by both the supervisor and the employee to confirm that they reviewed the document. The signature does not say that the employee agrees with their review, but that it was discussed. A copy of the review should be saved in the employee’s file.

Below are some examples of different library’s evaluations:

Self-Evaluations:

Self Evaluation

Self Evaluation2

Self Evaluation3

Self Evaluation4

 

Supervisor Evaluation:

Supervisor Evaluation

 

Evaluation of Director by Staff:

Director Evaluation—Staff

Director Evaluation—Staff2

Director Evaluation—Staff3

 

Evaluation of Director by Board Members:

Director Evaluation—Board

Director Evaluation—Board2

Director Evaluation—Board3

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Book Drop Alternative

The North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries includes requirements for libraries having a secure, after-hours book return.

Book-returns can be expensive to purchase or replace. A Demco product, for example, can run $800–$4,000. We recognize that this price range isn’t possible for some libraries, so we have found a solution. Consider using an architectural mailbox like this one:

Book Return

The Elephantrunk Parcel Drop Box ranges in price from $220–$320 and comes in four different colors. It can easily be bolted into the cement outside of your library and treated like a regular book drop (at a fraction of the cost). This drop box satisfies the standard to have an after-hours book return at your library and allows your patrons to safely return their materials at their convenience.

Continuing Education & NDLCC Standards

The North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries includes requirements for attending continuing education opportunities each year. Continuing Education is defined as an in-person or online training or workshop that furthers knowledge related to libraries, management, or job-related duties. Examples include workshops, webinars, conferences, etc.

The North Dakota State Library (NDSL) offers many training opportunities throughout the year. Keep an eye on NDSL’s monthly publication Flickertale for more information on upcoming continuing education opportunities.

Trainings from other library-related organizations would also count toward this standard.

Explore the list below to broaden your continuing education horizons.

Webinars

  • Webinars (North Dakota State Library) – webinars hosted and/or presented by NDSL
  • WSL Training Calendar (Wyoming State Library) – the definitive place to find library-related webinars from across the county

Conferences

Workshops

  • Summer Summit (North Dakota State Library) – an annual library management symposium that invites library directors, board members, and staff are encouraged to attend
  • Research Methods (North Dakota State Library) – the course explores different types of research methods, library subscription databases, and internet search engines
  • Summer Reading Workshops (North Dakota State Library) – workshops hosted by NDSL staff on the upcoming Summer Reading Program

Girls Who Code

The North Dakota State Library is excited to announce its partnership with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code brings computer science opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school girls in your community—no coding experience is necessary to facilitate a weekly club.

After signing up, facilitators will receive access to the club curriculum completely free and can learn to code right alongside the students.

3–5th grade club: This club is run similar to a book club and does not need computer access. Books are provided for free. Check out the sample curriculum here.

6–12th grade club: This club does require computer access for each participant. To view the learning platform and sample curriculum, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit the online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
  2. Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” This does not obligate you to host a club.
  3. Click on the different icons to learn more about the clubs.

To learn more about the Girls Who Code organization, you can check out these links: Overview; Club Summary

To apply to host a club, click here. Remember to indicate North Dakota State Library as your partner affiliation.

For more information, please contact Abby Ebach at aebach@nd.gov or 701-328-4680.

Teamwork Training

Working with a team can sometimes be difficult. However, it’s one of the most important things we do as librarians. Working together with staff, the public, and local government is an integral part to success for your organization. Below are trainings and webinars to help you and your staff to train to work better as a team.

Universal Class is an online database provided through the state library. Any North Dakota resident can create an account using a library card from their local public library to take the training classes for free. They can be taken for PD credit with tests and a completion certificate or informally without the tests and certificate. Once you make an account, you’ll be able to see the length of each course in hours and sessions as well as a syllabus. Here are a few courses that are relevant to training and working well as a team that can help boost a staff member’s willingness to work with others on their team:

If you have any questions about Universal Class, you can contact the state library at 701-328-4622.

 

Webjunction webinars:

“Our personalities affect how we view and relate to the world. Each of us have different learning and communication styles, fears, insecurities, and defense mechanisms. This presentation will provide you with the tools to recognize your own and others’ differences and become more aware of how they affect your relationships with customers and co-workers.”

“We are all so busy! Who has time to deal with conflict? When conflict occurs, and we are confronted with a colleague, library patron, supervisor, or board member who is frustrated and upset, it can be tempting to identify a quick fix. However, when we do take the time to practice clear communication to uncover what people really need, we can get to better outcomes. Healthy communication involves actions that show you are really listening, communication with people who are angry or upset in a way that their needs can be addressed and resolved, and knowing your own emotions and needs and effective ways to express them. Practicing healthy communication skills will boost your self-confidence and contribute to a happier workplace.”

“Don’t let the pressure of working at the library bring you or your staff down. People want a work environment that is challenging, encourages trial and error, and makes them feel that they matter. It’s time to make the workplace exciting again, all throughout the library’s culture. Here are some things to do to make work fun again.”

Free and Legal Stock Images

Finding the perfect picture to put on your website, brochure, or Facebook event can be tricky, and it gets even more difficult if you’re making sure your photos are legal to use. That’s right, legally, you can’t use any picture you find on Google Images. Using these photos opens your library up to possible lawsuits for copyright infringement. Instead, look for photos that fall into Public Domain or have a Creative Commons license.

Public Domain: The person who created this work has waived their rights to the photo. This means that you can copy, change, distribute, and perform the work for commercial purposes without asking permission.

Creative Commons Licenses: These licenses allow creators to waive and reserve certain rights in regards to their work. This may include if the image can be used for commercial purposes, if it needs creator attribution, and so on.

A guide for helpful information regarding stock photos can be found here.

The following websites are full of free and ready-to-use photos (as long as you follow the licensing restrictions) to make your library marketing a little more beautiful:

Website:

Free No User Account No Attribution
Unsplash X X

X

Pexels

X X X
Pixabay X X

X

Gratisography

X X X
Burst X Low Resolution: No account

High Resolution: Account

X

Creative Commons

X X X

Negative Space

X X

X

Free Images X Account Needed

Various Usage Rights

Freepik (Graphics)

Most are free X Attribution to Freepik
Freerange X Account Needed

X

Vecteezy (Graphics) Most are free X

Attribution to Vecteezy

This post was written with sources from Angela Hursh’s blog “Super Library Marketing.

Active Shooter Resources

Shootings are an unfortunate and frightening reality in today’s world. Statistically speaking, it is unlikely you will experience an active shooter situation, but that does not negate their seriousness. Planning and being informed can save lives.

There are a few simple things you can do at the office or at home to better prepare yourself.

  • Be informed – stay current on procedures and other relevant information
  • Be prepared – create a plan & participate in trainings
  • Be alert – pay attention to your surroundings, trust your instincts, & if you see something, say something (report suspicious activity to the local authorities)
  • Run. Hide. Fight.
Active_Shooter

Run. Hide. Fight. (Active Shooter: How to Respond Poster – Homeland Security)

There is a plethora of active shooter information and resources available online. Below is a listing of some of the best of the best.

More Information:

Handouts:

Videos:


Books on Library Security:

 

Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit

The “Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit” has been released. Members of AASL (American Association of School Librarians), ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) worked together for three years to create a document that benefits both school librarians and public librarians by encouraging them working together collaboratively.

This toolkit provides 5 chapters full of research, information, and examples for librarians to look towards when beginning collaboration initiatives between school and public libraries. There are also scrips and tips for both school and public librarians on how to overcome their different institutional hurdles.

Working together makes libraries and communities stronger. Look through the toolkit here.

ALSC put together a brief explanation of the toolkit here and has a list of successful past partnerships between school and public libraries that can be found here.

Telescope Kit Resources

One of the many STEM kits the North Dakota State Library has available through KitKeeper are 3 telescope kits. Each kit includes: 1 Orion StarBlast telescope, 1 Orion EZ Finder II red-dot sight, 1 copy of Night Watch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson,  5 eyepieces (6mm, 6mm, 12.5mm, 17mm, & 20mm), 1 2x Barlow lens, and 4 filters (moon, red, blue, & yellow).

The kit also includes a guide, which has a list of a few potential activities libraries can plan to go along with this kit. The sky is the limit (pun intended) on activities relating to telescopes, astronomy, and the universe, and this list functions as a starting point for ideas. All of the ideas listed on the guide have resources available online, which can be accessed at the links below along with some resources for the telescope itself.

Telescope:

Stars:

The Moon:

Solar System Scale:

Planets:

Word Search:

Book Odors and How to Handle Them

What’s the best way to remove the smell of smoke, perfume, or other unfortunate scents from your library materials? It’s a common problem in every type of library. In order to salvage your books, you’ll need a bin with a tight seal; stand the books upright in the bin to let the pages fan out and ventilate. Feel free to try different methods for different smells, but make sure to never spray or rub any of the deodorizers directly on the materials—there should always be a layer of separation. If you are deodorizing materials of archival value, only use the last method listed.

  1. Put coffee into knee-high hose and tie the hose in a knot. This keeps the coffee from getting too messy, but it removes the odor as well. Cover the bin and leave for several days. The coffee will need to be replaced every 6 months.

 

  1. Two similar options are to leave a box of baking soda open in the bin or to leave dryer sheets open and in the bin. Again, these will need to sit for several days and be replaced as needed.

 

  1. One of the most highly recommended options for deodorizing materials is to use non-perfumed, non-clumping cat litter (use the cheapest one you can find). Pour an inch or two layer on the bottom of the bin and cover it in paper towels; set the books upright on the paper towels and cover with the lid. Check the materials once a week, and if the smell is not gone after a month, replace the cat litter. This is the only method listed that is approved by the National Archives for use on archival materials.