February 29, 2004

Final PLA Congrunt

Like a few hundred other folks, I attended Thursday's program on "dead wood in libraries." It was the only program I was able to go to--had I not been felled with a cold, I would have done a couple more on Friday, but such is life. At any rate, this was a great program. I'm so glad I work with live wires, not dead wood!


Characteristics of dead wood:

identity through their job

people who talk about The Good Old Days

I-deserve-this-job syndrome--entitlement

deserve to slack off

ease into day gently

got meaning from routines [My objection to this one: routine is very nice. Particularly in jobs with a lot of change, including self-induced change, it can be good to know that "the sun also rises."]

Strategies for dealing with dead wood

1. facing the problem directly

2. let dead wood stay on staff until retire/die

3. getting people to change--NOT a recommended strategy! Can take more time and energy than is worth the investment

Why people don't perform to standards

1. they don't realize there are standards
2. the reward is for not doing what they should do
3. no negative consequence
4. they think they are doing just fine
5. they think their way, not yours, is best
6. they have obstalces that limit their performance
7. they don't want to

All staff should have annual performance appraisals

Clearly state the performance standards

Explore solutions with the employee

Develop an improvement plan with actions and target dates

Downsizing and reorganization can be opportunities to resolve staffing problems

For union jobs, be very careful with what jobs are on the chopping block

Consider using coaching or counseling to help staff transition out of the job

Third-party intervention: broker a "peace agreement" so that both you and your dead wood walked out of the meeting with dignity intact. She did not see this done in libraries but saw it a lot in commercial settings. 20% of the time, employees agreed on the spot to leave; over time, more decided to leave

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February 27, 2004

Final PLA Congrunt

I came down with such a powerful cold that I left early on Friday, but on Thursday, from early morning until mid-evening, Thursday was a glamorous whirlwind of programs, vendor meetings, and parties. The Webjunction party was where every it-person in librarianship seemed to be. So nice to see everyone! Wish I had pix from the PUBLIB party, but my camera is very shy.

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February 25, 2004

PLA 2004 Congrunt 2-25-04

Congrunts are a takeoff on refgrunts, which in turn are brief near-real-time brain dumps of what you experienced on the reference desk that day.

Raced to convention center, split cab with Highsmith vendor. We discussed RFID for a while and then debated whether or not ALA had met at Seattle sometime in the 1990s (I say no--I'll check the handbook later).

Comments to me while headed to opening general session:

Love LII!
Love the crochet sites in LII!
Love the newsletter for LII!
Love the LII introduction every week!

Sat next to Michael Stephens. We looked for open wi-fi networks, but alas, found none.

First, Bill Gates Senior spoke for a bit. Best library-related one-liner about his son: "he's only 48 years old, and he's already reading at the 52-year level!"

Anna Quindlan spoke next. Most of what she had to say was about writing and reading--delicious, delicious stuff. Tidbits:

Though she grew up in a beautiful suburb, "I lived within the cover of books, and they were more real to me than anything else in my life"

talked about books teaching the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong

"my voice is who I am"

"reading is the ultimate democratic act of the ultimate democratic nation on earth"

"the greatest threat to the book is not the computer; it is the censor."

Off to the PUBLIB party!

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