Thing 15 : Attending - Presenting - Organizing
I'm good at attending! :-) I've been attending meetings, workshops, etc. for many years now. Sometimes the offerings get repetitive when you've been at it for so long, but I know to go to the event anyway because even if the presentation is a repeat of something I've heard before I will learn from other attendees. No matter what kind of meeting or educational opportunity I attend I ALWAYS learn something from others who are also attending. So, my advice is even if you think the event is just a repeat of something you've already learned, go anyway if you can because there is always something to be learned.
Presenting (or, YIKES public speaking). I'm much better at attending, but I have had to get up in front of people and speak---County Supervisors, Village Board, county librarians, computer classes at the library. All I can say is do your preparation so you know what you're talking about and try to relax enough to actually be able to get the words out. And, if someone asks a question you don't know the answer to right off hand don't be afraid to say you don't know.....but tell them you will find out and let them know and then DO IT.
I must say I enjoyed Ned Potter's slides on how NOT to do a presentation. How often have you seen all those things done? Or been guilty of doing them yourself?
Organizing events is always stressful. I don't care if it's a Story Hour for four year olds or weekly computer classes or an author visit. But, it's part of a librarian's job and eventually we get over the feelings of panic. And, there will always be the event no one comes to. To me that is the worst...I'm embarrassed, the presenter is embarrassed, and I just never want to plan anything ever again. Yet I must and so do you, it's all part of the job.
Last, but not least, I learned how to embed fonts into Power Point presentations. I'd never even thought of needing to do that before. It's the little things isn't it??
Thing 16: Advocacy
Advocacy....a word we hear a lot. And one that no doubt means different things in different communities. In my small community/library it amounts to doing everything we can to get our patrons what they are looking for, a semi-regular Library News column in the local newspaper, reports to the Village Board and County Supervisors, as well as short talks to both at budget time (they really don't like long-winded speeches). Sometimes I lay in bed making lists in my head of all the things we do for our patrons, all the things we offer them, and especially justifications for our computers and Internet access in a place where way to many people in charge still think of the Internet as only games and and kids getting into pornography. And also the belief that everyone has Internet at home. I imagine that if we were faced with closure or major budget cuts it would be different and we would pull out all the stops. Hey, I write my best Library News columns when the library is faced with some sort of challenge.
I really think the best advocacy for the library, or our library at least, is by building good will among library users by doing all we can to help them in whatever way we can on a one-to-one basis. If they make positive statements about the library to others even the non-users will see that the library is important to somebody. And we all know that if someone ISN'T pleased with the service they received they will tell even more people than they do when they ARE pleased.