Follow Up to Last Year’s Resolutions

A year ago, I wrote a post listing some New Year’s Resolutions for libraries and librarians. Reflecting on the past year, 2008, let me give some updates…

1. Continuous learning and sharing of knowledge. Somewhat successful. I like to think that this year I’ve strived to learn more and share with others, although learning one new thing a day turned out to be a little too ambitious. As the learning environments scanner I have learned a lot about ways libraries (particularly our library) can improve our spaces to encourage learning and discovery, and I’ve shared this. What’s now actually done with this knowledge is still up in the air, though…

Webcasts are a good way to connect librarians & their ideas with each other, and I’ve participated in a great number of these this year, inviting the rest of the library to join me. These have been pretty successful and started up some good conversations. With some encouragement from my team leader, I’m also now creating summaries of them and sending them out through e-mail for those who miss them.

Conferences are a great way to share knowledge. Interestingly, this is my first year as a “real” librarian but my first year since entering the field that I haven’t gone to ALA Annual. I was in New Orleans and in D.C., but didn’t make it to Anaheim. That said, I am for the first time submitting ideas for presentations and poster sessions – so hopefully this will progress and I can play a more active role in conferences in the future.

2. Marketing, library-style. The library’s still working on this, but making good progress. This year we hired our very first Director of Marketing. She was in library school (and the library student organization) with me and will be fantastic at this job. Starting in the new year I get to participate in the library-wide Strategic Marketing Group, which will bring a marketing plan forefront and hopefully increase our popularity among our users as well as our visibility on campus.

3. Emerging technologies. This is still a big one, and boy have I learned a lot over the past year in this area. I’ve learned content authoring and screen capturing software such as Camtasia, Captivate, Articulate, and SoftChalk. Having to create an online class really helped with this, and over the next year online courses are a big priority for the library so more of us will be learning and utilizing these technologies to reach more students.

4. Usability. Well, not surprisingly, our users still don’t think we’re doing very well in this area. The good news is we have a website redesign team currently working diligently to improve its usability. We’re also getting WorldCat Local, which could make big improvements to our catalog interface. So stay tuned.

I don’t think any of these resolutions should go away in 2009, but be reconsidered and perhaps reinvigorated. What are the challenges in accomplishing these? Is this where we should focus our attention, especially given the dreaded budget cuts? Time may tell…

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