Do you read Harvey Mackay’s weekly column “On Business“? It’s always full of great advice on running your business better. There’s nothing cut-throat, devious or flashy in his advice and that’s why I like it. His advice is based on his own success in business and is centered on meeting customer needs. Find out what the customer wants, give them more than they asked for and they’ll come back for more. (Well, that’s my capsule summary!) His advice translates so well to library service.
This weekâ€™s column (Jan 13, 2008) ended with this advice about technology:
The Internet is like the computer was before it. Both are tools. They can revolutionize how you administer and publicize your business, regardless of the size of your bottom line. But there is no substitute for the product itself. Stay abreast of the trends, but stick to the business of keeping your core products and services competitive.
Such a good reminder for techy geeky me! Even though I love technology and all the latest shiny new tools and toys, when I recommend a tool to a library it needs to help them meet a need, solve a problem, work smarter, create a new service or enhance an existing service.
When Iâ€™m teaching classes I can often hear the stress of people feeling overwhelmed by new technology. I try to emphasize:
- You donâ€™t need to implement all the latest, coolest stuff.
- Just by exposing yourself to new ideas and tools youâ€™ll be adding new strategies to your problem solving â€˜tool kitâ€™.
- Keep up with tech trends, but donâ€™t let it take over.
- Always keep your patrons needs and service goals in mind.
- Keep learning, keep an open mind and have some fun.
Simple stuff really, still I love it when I hear sighs of relief! I don’t want people leaving overwhelmed and feeling like they have to implement everything. If they try that, they’ll fail and likely do nothing!
These issues came up in several discussions and planning sessions this week. Dee Portzer (Questar III BOCES), Mary Ratzer and I are working on a weekend workshop retreat for school librarians focused on developing â€˜inquiry based learningâ€™ projects and possible uses of technology to support the projects. The technology emphasis really is on â€˜supportâ€™. We donâ€™t want people blogging just to blog or wiki-ing just to wiki. Gotta say, Iâ€™m psyched! I know Iâ€™ll be learning as much (if not more!) than everyone else.