Global Council at a crossroads

Peter Sidorko

Global Council Select1I recently attended the OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council Meeting in Hong Kong where the theme was “Libraries at the Crossroads.” It was a great topic, one that is relevant to us all. As librarians, we continuously face crossroads—changing patron preferences, evolving institutions, new technologies. We had excellent discussions about how we can best move forward, together. It’s the same theme we’ll explore at the upcoming Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Council Meeting in Germany in February. I’m greatly looking forward to continuing the discussion.

This “crossroads” analogy also has framed recent Global Council discussions and decisions. At our meeting this past November, Delegates agreed to sharpen our focus on member activities, such as OCLC regional meetings and product, user and working groups that advance the interests of our member institutions.

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Top posts of 2016: Big data, convenience, ILL trends, linked data and…shyness?

Andy Havens

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Shyness? Yes, shyness. Along with big data, the convenience imperative, interlibrary loan trends and linked data, shyness was one of the topics on our blog that got the most traffic last year.

The OCLC Next blog launched in February of 2016. Since then, readers have stopped by nearly 60,000 times to check out 54 posts. From those, we’ve chosen five of the most popular to share with you again.

From everyone who’s worked on OCLC Next during its first year…thank you for reading and sharing our work and making the blog so successful! We hope you’ll continue reading. Have a happy holiday season and joyful New Year!

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From crossroads to breakthroughs

Hsueh-hua Chen

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Connecting users to knowledge and helping them achieve their learning goals is a major reason why we become librarians. And being part of a community that helps us do that is inspiring and energizing. Recently, at the National Taiwan University, I was part of a significant breakthrough of historical documents, which was made possible by library cooperation.

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Getting a million dollar digital collection grant in six easy steps

million-dollar-grant

Many of the libraries I’ve worked with on local digitization efforts start with great ideas about a big collection they could develop…if only they had enough money. Maybe there’s a local trove of unique documents that are historically important. Or thousands of photos recovered from a private collection after a disaster. No matter the source, imaginations run high and big, lofty goals are set. A hopeful dollar figure is calculated and the quest for a grant begins…only to end in disappointment.

Why? The goal is good, the materials are fantastic, the benefit to the community is apparent. In my experience, the search for the “Million Dollar Grant” often fails because it doesn’t follow these six important steps:

  • Step 1: Secure a $1,000 grant.
  • Step 2: Secure a $5,000 grant.
  • Step 3: Secure a $10,000 grant…

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Ranganathan on shyness: Get over it!

Saskia Leferink

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Advice from the father of library science

In 1931, S.R. Ranganathan, a mathematician and librarian who is widely regarded as a founder of modern library science, published his seminal work, The Five Laws of Library Science. His five principles about managing the library get most of the publicity, but tucked away on page 65 is a gem of a quote sometimes overlooked but extremely important in our fast-changing world.

“If you want to be a reference librarian, you must learn to overcome not only your shyness but also the shyness of others.”

Ranganathan used this quote to describe behavioral change librarians needed to make in his day, when they were transitioning to serving readers from preserving books. No longer were readers considered a nuisance—they became the focus of the library. Librarians had to lose their shyness and come out from behind the desk to serve users, as well as overcome any reader shyness.

As we in the library community wrestle with change management, Ranganathan’s words ring as clearly today as they did 85 years ago. You can’t be shy when tackling change. Change requires a boldness that leaves reticence behind in order to embrace something new.

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The power of library content to connect us…personally

Bonnie Allen

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As librarians, we digitize, collect, archive and promote content collections for many different reasons. Our digital collection management efforts often revolve around the idea of preserving materials for historic and scholarly purposes. That’s obviously important, and librarians have always played a major role in such programs. But sometimes we discover far more personal connections to these materials.

While I was working on the Montana Memory Project from 2009–2012, it made perfect sense that some of the students we sent to the National Archives would be Native Americans, as the materials they were digitizing were from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Local history being preserved by local students for the use of historians is often a part of these programs. What we were not expecting, however, was that some of our students would find materials that involved their own direct ancestors.

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A cooperative approach to naming: help name our new ILL service

Katie Birch

hello my name is

Names are important. And naming things can be a lot of fun. Names conjure up feelings and emotions and even expectations. Here at OCLC we’re excited about a new ILL product that we’re developing with the help of the OCLC resource sharing community. And we want a name that captures the energy and teamwork that you, our members, bring to the cooperative.

As a unique membership cooperative, OCLC relies on your input for all kinds of things. Members provide feedback on product development, plans, road maps and features—as is the case for this new service. We also solicit ideas for events and programs. Our research depends on feedback from many libraries all over the world. And so we thought, let’s ask the community: what do YOU think we should name the product?

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“We are stronger when we can solve problems collaboratively.”

Helene Blowers

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As Community Program Manager for the OCLC Community Center, I have many conversations with our members that fall under a few simple categories. Most often we talk about insights and ideas that they have to increase collaboration around OCLC technology and services. But occasionally our conversations turn to talking about their organizations’ goals or their own personal goals for professional growth. Regardless of the conversation, I’ve learned that one of the most important things I can do is get out of the way and let other members lead the discussion, providing their own perspective and insight.

That final step is an important one. We’re always on the lookout for ways to create a culture of support and collaboration, which is why I’m so excited about the growth of the OCLC Online Community Center over the past year. A growth that’s measured entirely in member-to-member engagement.

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A library collection of mysteries, murder and mayhem

Mary Sauer-Games

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This Halloween, let’s take a peek into the Douglas County Historic Research Center (DCHRC) and try to uncover the mysterious connection between these seemingly unrelated yet terrifying clues:

  • A high-profile murder and kidnapping attempt in 1960
  • The burning down of a county courthouse in 1978 during a jail break
  • The near disappearance of local sheriff’s records in 2000
  • A list of every grave marker in town
  • Attics with mysterious, forgotten books

The common thread?

[Cue spooky music] Digital content management!!!

[Cue maniacal laughter]

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Are you too comfortable in your culture?

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Culture matters

A lot has been written about organizational culture, but there is little consensus on what it actually is and how to change it. Two things we know for sure: organizational culture exists and it plays a crucial role in shaping behavior.

Why should we think about culture? Because your culture is how your organization does things. And how you do things is critical to your performance and success.

According to the Katzenbach Center, 96% of employees say some change to their organizational culture is needed, and 51% think their culture requires a major overhaul. So even if you’re comfortable, you probably should be thinking about how your organization’s culture impacts both goals and the quality-of-life for your employees.

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