Workshops

I have designed a variety of workshops on topics essential to library leadership, which can be delivered in person or online. I am happy to discuss individual training needs for your organization or group and to customize design the topics or coaching your organization needs to provide excellent service.  Contact me at kimberly[dot]sweetman[at]mac[dot]com to set up a complimentary needs assessment.

Planning:

Revitalizing Library Spaces:  What do today’s library users want?  How do you plan spaces that will work well in the long term?  This workshop teaches strategies for library space planning.  Participants will learn how to think critically about library space options, how to identify the needs of library users and how to best meet user needs when designing library spaces.  The class will cover preparing for both low cost incremental changes and high-end renovations.  (Half Day)

Managing Change:  Change can be difficult to deal with in any workplace, but the fast pace of change in libraries is particularly difficult.  Designed for library supervisors who will need to lead staff (at any level) through change, this workshop teaches the potential impact of the stress of change, how to properly prepare others and ones self for change, the most common responses to change and how to deal with them and effective responses to change and how to instill them in others.  (Full Day)

Project Planning:  In today’s library environment we are continually asked to do more with less.  Service demands are increasing while staffing and funding remain consistent at best.  Effective project planning and project management are essential to the efficiency that is necessary in today’s streamlined workplace.  This one-day workshop teaches participants how to create a project plan, manage a project, effectively communicate about the project, evaluate the success of the project and close a project.  (Full Day)

Practical Risk Management for Library Projects:  Increasingly, library work is project based, but are we prepared to respond to problems when they occur?  Drawing on project management fundamentals, this course teaches the basics of risk assessment.  By learning how to conduct a thorough risk analysis, participants will learn how to identify the 20% of risks that cause 80% of the problems in projects, how to respond to ensure an optimal outcome  (Half Day)

Library Service Assessment:  Cities, towns, colleges and universities increasingly require data and assessment to justify and evaluate programmatic changes related to service. Learn how to measure what counts!  This full day workshop covers the difference between, and strengths of, qualitative and quantitative data; various ways to gather data; how to run focus groups; how to plan effective surveys and how market research can help you to run your library.  (Full Day)

Customer Service:

Customer Service in the Digital Age:  The digital age can be both alienating and for customers and provide us with important tools for improving customer service. How can we leverage the digital tools available while still providing personal service? Participants will be introduced to a wide variety of tools that can improve customer service, how to identify the digital services that users want and how to maintain a personal level of service in today’s automated library.  (Full Day)

Building a Service Culture:  It’s easy to talk a good game about customer service, but how do we as managers actually take active steps towards enabling the library staff to provide good customer service?  The answer lies in creating a service culture.  Drawing from the literature of organizational psychology, this workshop introduces supervisors, managers and team leaders to the concepts of organizational culture and climate and teaches participants how to examine these within their own organization.  By changing the organizational climate (the message sent to employees) to a clear, consistent message, managers can re-align the organizational culture (the shared meaning employees use to make sense of their workplace) to one of consistently high service. (Full Day)

Communicate Your Way to Better Patron Service:  Communication is at the heart of every patron interaction.  This workshop teaches participants about some common (and avoidable) communication mistakes that create service problems.  By learning how to approach customer interactions, library staff at all levels will learn how to make the service interaction rewarding for both library users and themselves.  Participants will learn how to ask the right questions to help their users, how to recognize and reduce stressors that can interfere with good service, as well as strategies for dealing with difficult situations. (Full Day)

Reference Interview? Question Interview!:  Reference librarians have been using the reference interview to clarify users’ information needs for decades, if not centuries.  During this workshop participants will learn how to use reference interview techniques to get at the heart of any question a patron is asking.  They will learn strategies to overcome obstacles to communicating effectively with library users and identify specific Question Interview techniques where they need to grow.  (Note:  Material in this half-day workshop is covered in the full day “Communicate Your Way to Better Patron Service”)

Leadership:

Emotional Intelligence:  What does it mean to be emotionally intelligent and how does the concept relate to success in leadership?  Emotional intelligence—including self-awareness, self-discipline and empathy—are far greater predictors of success at work than traditional intelligence.  Participants will learn what emotional intelligence is and how to develop EI traits in themselves and others.  Participants will also learn how those traits relate to success on the job, particularly for those who are or aspire to be leaders in the library field.   (Full Day)

The 21st Century Workplace: The library workplace has changed dramatically from what it was 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. Our tools have evolved, library user expectations have increased, and the fundamental nature of performance expectations in the 21st century workplace have changed. How can librarians take charge of their work in a contemporary climate? This workshop, aimed at non-managers, introduces the concept of the learning organization and plants the message of employee ownership. Participants will explore their own approaches to communication, change, and workplace relationships, learning practical strategies for shifting toward a more autonomous mindset along the way. (Full Day)

Making the Leap to Library Leadership:  Leadership occurs at all levels of an organization and is not limited to those in managerial roles.  Committee chairs, working group leaders and well trusted colleagues all hold important leadership roles in an organization.  This workshop is designed both for people who have been called upon to serve a leadership role and those who wish to take on more leadership responsibility.  The session will outline essential skills for twenty-first century library leaders and help participants to gain a deeper understanding of their own role, as well as that of their department and library, within the larger picture of their umbrella organization. Topics such as emotional intelligence, professional comportment, understanding organizational culture, change management and intellectual agility will be covered in a practical, non-theoretical way.  Many leadership programs exist that have competitive entry or a lengthy time commitment (sometimes both).  This workshop is designed to be a small taste of what is offered at such institutes so that participants can begin to chart a course for personal leadership development. (Half Day)

Communication:

Coaching Skills for Managers:  Coaching is a critical tool for improving job performance in both quality and productivity.  Mentoring can be a vital resource for professional advice and problem solving.  By focusing on these important supervisory concepts, this program will help participants to take a more active and successful role in staff development.  Participants will learn the benefits of using coaching skills, learn strategies for effective coaching and mentoring of both groups and individuals, discover how to maintain momentum and avoid getting “stuck” or challenged in meeting responsibilities, and develop coaching skills to improve workplace performance.  (Full Day)

Group Dynamics:  Whether you are leading a team or a team member, and understanding of how group members work together can help your team to improve their collaboration and productivity.  Participants will learn about the characteristics of effective teams, common barriers to team efficacy, the benefits of working in teams and ways to build team productivity.  Through a variety of lessons and activities, students will develop their skills for leading and working in groups. (Full Day)

Top Notch Communication Skills for Success:  Communication is an essential job function for all of us.  Effective communication skills can help to make your job a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.  Superior communication skills can even lead to promotion on the job.  Participants will learn the value of “situation communication” and strategies for communicating with a variety of people of different genders, generations and ranks; how to give and receive feedback; how to handle emotions under pressure; how to communicate with techies to get the support you need; what your non-verbal communication may be saying that isn’t helping to get what you want and how to run effective meetings.  (Full Day)

Management:

Fundamentals of Library Management:  This course provides a practical approach to becoming a successful library manager, including strategies for planning, organizing, staffing and evaluating library departments and programs.  Through a series of discussions and exercises, students will gain real-world tools for improving their management skills and develop confidence in their ability to supervise and manage.  (Full Day)

Managing Student Assistants:  This workshop teaches participants how to get the best performance from their student workers.  Attendees will learn how to improve the quality of student assistants I their department.  Through a variety of exercises and discussions we will cover writing job descriptions, “selling” your job to prospective student assistants, financial aid basics, interviewing techniques, the importance of training, coaching & counseling and staff retention strategies.  While this course is primarily designed for academic libraries that employ work-study and regular students, I have also adapted it for Brooklyn Public Library’s professional intern program.  (Full Day)

Interviewing and Hiring:  Making good hiring decisions is one of the most important responsibilities of managers. Librarians are frequently called upon to serve on search committees.  This workshop will show participants how to identify core job competencies and screen candidates to be sure they can successfully fulfill the job requirements. Students will develop confidence in their ability to make the best possible hires by learning how to identify essential job competencies, writing appropriate interview questions, strategies for checking references, and the importance of the law when it comes to hiring. (Half-Day)

Career Development:

Resume Improvement Workshop:  A potential employer may spend as little as 5 minutes reviewing each resume.  This workshop will help to ensure that you clearly convey your knowledge, skills and abilities in that short time.  By receiving specific feedback from a seasoned library administrator participants will learn what to include (and what not to include) in a resume and cover letter, how to more effectively present themselves on paper and have an opportunity to get their questions answered on the application process used in most academic libraries.  Participants are required to submit a resume to the instructor 2 weeks prior to the workshop and must feel comfortable with feedback shared kindly, professionally and publicly.  (Half Day)

Creating Your Work Portfolio:  The most successful careers have a planned trajectory, but how do we determine that trajectory?  How do we represent who we are on a resume or in a tenure or promotion portfolio?  Participants in this workshop will learn how to critically evaluate their knowledge, skills and abilities, determine gaps between what they currently know and what they must know to get where they want to be, develop a satisfying career trajectory, and clearly represent their accomplishments on paper and verbally. (Full Day)

Achieving a Beneficial Work-Life Balance:  Having a good work-life balance is essential to performing effectively on the job.   Participants will learn strategies for keeping organized, how reducing clutter, leaving work on time, beating procrastination and getting things done on time and the value of living a balanced life.  (Half Day)

Productivity:

Time Management:  Library staff at all levels are given increasing responsibilities and have ever-growing demands on their time.  This workshop presents participants with several strategies for dealing with a high level of inputs, proven ways to defeat procrastination, mechanisms for managing priorities, strategies for effective delegation and the power of defining the first action. (Full Day)

Helping Employees to Get Things Done:  This workshop, specifically designed for library managers, covers ways in which managers can structure work to assist their reports to have better time management and project management skills, and therefore higher productivity.  The workshop covers improving the clarity of delegation through such tools as the project charter, strategies to help reports conquer their procrastination, and coaching techniques to improve job performance.  (Full Day)

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Recent Posts

Notes From My Job Search

So, the blog has been neglected for a couple of months. Why? I very suddenly found myself in the midst of a job search. Three months ago my spouse’s company had a pretty significant round of lay-offs, and he was suddenly without a job. I felt discombobulated and sad at first. We had moved abroad for his job 5 years ago and here we were, feeling as though we were left with nothing.

But that wasn’t exactly true. We have substantial savings and a good settlement.  I realized after a couple of days that this could be my opportunity to go back to full time work in a profession that I love. For the past year I had been missing working in libraries. Consulting had been a great project while we were over here (and my lack of language skills prevented me from working in a research library) but I missed the day to day challenges of managing a library. Suddenly I had the flexibility I needed to find a great job.  So I went on the job market.  Here are a few things I learned.

Conducting a Job Search Under Duress is Awful

The very first application packet I put together was moments after hearing that my spouse lost his job. I felt desperate and scared. My hands were shaking as I typed what might be the world’s worst cover letter. It was a horrible feeling, thinking I was desperate for a job and producing work that didn’t represent me as a result. Thanks to savings and a decent severance package, I’m not desperate. But if I were I think it would be essential to completely put that out of my mind. It’s really hard to do your best work with that kind of stress hanging over your head.

Practice Makes a Perfect Job Search

The first phone interview I had was equally awful. It was awful not because I felt pressure, but because I was out of practice. I hadn’t interviewed since 2008 and I had forgotten what was expected. I forgot that the phone interview is a short, initial pre-screening with a a goal of simply showing a potential employer that you can listen and accurately answer questions. Instead I tried to cram long, detailed answers into the wrong format. Lesson learned. Once I made the goal of each phone interview to show that I could listen well and succinctly answer the questions that were asked they were a lot more successful.

My Job Search Had a Lot of Support 

A LOT of support. From my spouse dutifully taking on full time child care while I travelled back to the US for 21 out of 40 days to my parents taking in my cats (and perhaps my child) for the entire summer to friends passing on job listings, inviting me to stay with them and loaning me forgotten phone chargers, the outpouring of support has been very moving. I am particularly grateful to have friends who are also on the job market that I can commiserate with.

A Job Search Is A Great Learning Experience

As I mentioned above, I learned a lot about putting the stress of the process aside. I learned a lot about the goals and purposes of each stage of the interview. I learned a lot about organizations. I learned a lot through the topics I had to present on. One of the places I applied is a fairly non-traditional higher ed institution. I figured out pretty early on that I wasn’t that interested in the job, but I was really intrigued by the organization. I stayed with the process through two phone screenings just to learn about the organization. As someone who has been out of libraries for five years it was helpful to keep an open mind through the process to help me ramp up to library work.

I Don’t Want To Be a Library Director

Close to half of the jobs I applied for were library director positions. I thought I wanted that, but it turns out I don’t. As a library director I’d be reporting to a provost. At this stage in my career I still have a lot to learn from a librarian.

My Job Search Was a lot easier in the US than in Europe

I admit my European job searching was pretty half baked. I applied for only two jobs in the past year. Part of the issue was that the jobs I could find that didn’t require a second language were not great fits for my experience, but I think there is something else, too. Perhaps I didn’t know how to make my CV appealing to the European market. Maybe the competition is stiffer because library jobs are more scarce. In the US for the most part my resume brought phone interviews and my phone interviews led to campus visits. No one seemed overly concerned that I had been out of libraries for five years and no one dismissed me because I was a candidate in another country. In Europe, no one expressed any interest.

Job Search Connections ARE Important

The popular press talks a lot about the importance of having an “in” where you apply. I really thought that libraries were immune to this. I have received three offers so farand and wasn’t a “known” candidate at any of those organizations. Turns out, someone I had collaborated with more than 10 years ago was collaborating with the hiring officer at my favorite potential job. When I thought about networking previous to this search I always thought about it as the standard, “applying somewhere where you know someone.” The truth is librarianship, like many industries, is a small world. Word gets around and your reputation can proceed you, so make sure it’s a good one.

Have you been on the job market lately? What did you learn? I’d love to hear your experiences. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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