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Archive for the ‘management’ Category

User Feedback Model from Starbucks

java is good

Michael from Tame the Web posted his thoughts on the new Starbucks user driven idea site.  Basically users can share their ideas for more effective services and products, vote on other people’s ideas, and see the results made by the company.  This is done in one site, and seems to have a general turn around time of 1 week or less.

For those of us who have seen good ideas in libraries get swamped under the mountains of bureaucratic posturing, all to often found in libraries, wouldn’t it be nice to utilize a system such as this to gather external, expedient information?  The ability for the user to be a part of their own environment gathers their trust in the library and can then lead to a stronger connection for future needs. Though there is a growing concern for students having too much sway in their educational practices, I think implementing something like this could transform many stagnant areas of library services. (But not all, as I would hate to leave things such as collection development and circulation policies hinging primarily on student feedback alone.)

I may be putting this on my plate soon, as this is a form of assessment and planning.  We shall see.

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Lessons for libraries from Blizzard

 

Reading this fun article about the 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft, I was impelled to draw parallels between libraries and game designers.

Designing ambitious and popular games isn’t too far removed from outlining and implementing efficient library services. Many of the concepts that have made the World of Warcraft so successful, may well be useful to librarians looking for ways to shake up their possibly “dusty” services. Though detailed by Blizzard executives in the original article, here are the 11 points:

  1. Rely on Critics
  2. Use Your Own Product (Meaning try what you give to users for yourself)
  3. Make Continual Improvements
  4. Go Back to the Drawing Board
  5. Design for Different Kinds of Customers
  6. The Importance of Frequent Failures
  7. Move Quickly, In Pieces
  8. Statistics Bolster Experience
  9. Demand Excellence or You’ll Get Mediocrity
  10. Create a New Type of Product (Or to me, don’t be afraid to do so.)
  11. Offer Employees Something Extra

I know I may be a bit biased due to my fascination with Warcraft, but watching the game evolve around the players seems on par with the more modern “user centered” library mantras.


References
“Inside Innovation with Colin Stewart » Blog Archive » 11 Innovation Lessons from Creators of World of Warcraft – OCRegister.Com.” http://innovation.freedomblogging.com/2008/04/04/11-innovation-lessons-from-creators-of-world-of-warcraft/ (accessed 4/7/2008, 2008).


Assessing From Now On

scale

The down time I experienced over the past few weeks was due to a career shift.  As of April 1st, I am now the new Assessment Librarian for the University of Pittsburgh.  What that means is that I have been charged with finding solutions needed to better assess the services provided by the library.

Hopefully the direction of this blog won’t shift too much from the original focus, but I would wager that more posts involving assessment may begin to pop-up.

If you or your library have any information you feel a new assessment librarian would be crazy to be without, feel free to send me a link or comment on this post.

~John

Ranting on Berry’s Rants

flagpole

To get the full effect you may want to glance at this article first.

To be honest, I was hoping to see a punch line at the end of this article, so that the rather outlandish points delivered by the author could be accounted to blatant humor. Unfortunately it didn’t come and what lay before me was a piece of paranoid rhetoric that warned of the impending “end of days” for the professional librarian. True these are opinions but the knee-jerk reactions to the actions of new library leaders struggling to find a new voice for their libraries is shocking and without reason. Why wouldn’t we need to rethink our practices if the audience has changed its own vision for the library? In some libraries they constantly fight a battle to draw back their population from the migration to the “bookstore” or seclusion of the at home online experience. Even reference services are seeing a downturn in numbers, which could be a factor in their management’s decision to try something new and unexpected. What follows are my free flowing retorts to the article entitled “Blatant Berry: The Vanishing Librarians” published on LibraryJournal.com, 02/15/2008.

Click here to read the entire post.

Managing to Stay Energized

batteries

After reading several recent blog posts on employee retention and management issues, I began to look at just what my feelings were towards the current state of library management trends.

This topic started with a post on Library Garden entitled Do we encourage our employees to leave? In this posting the author weighs the factors in the sometimes short turnover in staff and the self-promotional nature of librarianship. One wonderfully put statement was:

If your system sees people leave and then watches them flourish in another position, you shouldn’t brag that “they started off in this system.” It should raise questions as to why your system couldn’t seem to hold on to him/her.

Click here to read the entire post