The NMRT Online Program Committee is surveying to solicit information from NMRT/ALA members on future potential online programming, webinar promotion, and gain perspective on how users interact with webinar materials. We hope that with the constructive feedback and responses NMRT/ALA members provide, it will help guide future committee iterations develop programs that meet the informational needs of our members.
We strongly implore your participation, as it will be invaluable in helping to shape the direction and material produced by the Online Program Committee.
On behalf of the Online Program Committee, we thank you for your consideration and look forward to your responses.
NMRT Online Program Planning Survey
NMRT Online Program Committee
The topic for May’s Online Discussion focused around Services to Special Populations. It is important to think not only of the customers we see every day but those we may not see due to barriers, which may be unknown to us, that prevent customers from benefiting from our services.
A few such populations brought up in the course of the discussion were international students in university and college settings, migrant workers, and people returning from incarceration, though there are many other populations that could be identified depending on your service area.
As far as special programming, outreach, or other activities to support these identified populations and connect them with library services, it was noted that at the college or university as a whole there may be extra support offered for international students, even if it is not offered directly through the library. Well stocked collections in languages other than English was one other point, though something else to keep in mind is the literacy level of individuals in their primary language. Another suggested program was transforming a meeting room into a play area for the children of area migrant workers. It was noted that the program numbers began dwindling and the program no longer exists. One potential reason for this is possible deportation of migrant workers. It is also possible that there is a fear of certain spaces, such as the library, where it is perceived immigration status may be questioned and reported.
No new ideas or innovations to reach special populations were discussed but many libraries are executing creative programs and initiatives to reach greater audiences so maybe we’ll get some ideas in the comments!
New Members Round Table (NMRT) is looking for volunteers for committee chairs and members for the 2019-2020 year. Committees are the lifeline of NMRT. The list of these committees reflect the work of some of these committees and their dedicated members.
New Members Round Table 2019-2020 committee volunteer applications are now open! Fill out the committee volunteer form.
While applications will be accepted through July 1, 2019, please apply by May 30, 2019, for best consideration. Please contact Nicole LaMoreaux, NMRT Vice-President with any questions about committee appointments.
The NMRT Resume Review Service Committee is recruiting volunteer resume reviewers and booth greeters as well as taking resume review appointments for the 2019 ALA Annual Conference!
Reviewers should have at least five years of experience working in libraries (participating in search committees is a plus). This is a free in-person service that will be located in the ALA Job Placement Center on Saturday, June 22nd & Sunday, June 23rd from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM both days.
Visit our informational website for more details, to access volunteer forms, or to sign up for an appointment: https://sites.google.com/view/2019-ala-annual-nmrtresumerev/home
If you have any questions, please contact NMRT Resume Review Service Committee Chair Jillian Hayes at email@example.com or Assistant Chair Rachael Clukey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
April 2019 NMRT Online Discussion: Navigating Bureaucracies In Your Institutions
The topic for our April discussion centered on navigating bureaucracies in our institutions. At some point in our personal and professional lives, we have all encountered some type of bureaucratic process. Whether it is the Department of Motor Vehicles or dealing with a school administration. Bureaucracies help to develop and enforce rules and guidelines. They allow us to perform our jobs effectively and to function as a society. Unfortunately, the bureaucratic process tends to have a negative connotation because of its perceived rigidity and ineffectiveness to get things done quickly. Fortunately, not all bureaucracies are bad and the process can be effective. During our discussion, members shared their experiences with the bureaucratic process at their institutions.
The majority of the members spoke positive about the amount of flexibility and autonomy they have within their institutions to make decisions. This was true for members working in both public and academic libraries. Members believe that having flexibility makes their job easier as they are able to adapt to each individual situation rather than prescribe one single solution to all situations. Having this autonomy to makes changes while still working within the framework of the institution allows for the best outcome in service to the patron while removing barriers to access. Some of the flexibility discussed by members was due to new changes in management at their institutions; others were due to the fact that some of the members worked in small rural libraries or branch libraries. In fact, it seems that the majority of the members who discussed having autonomy worked in branch libraries outside of the main library administration.
In order to successfully navigate through the bureaucracy, members discussed the need to have clarity on their role within the institution. Knowing the chain of command makes it easy to direct questions to the proper staff member. You would not expect to have a library technician know the fine details of the library budget or have the Library Director be responsible for processing daily fines. Look at your own institution. Would you know where to direct a question? If the answer is no, then it is time to have a discussion within your institution and develop a clear chain of command. Additionally, having a clear understanding of Human Resources policies and guidelines is very important. This will allow you to hire new staff, properly coach and counsel existing staff, and ensure that no policies are being violated.
Not having a clear chain of command or having clear policies and procedures are large obstacles to successfully navigating the bureaucracy at your institution. How can you be trusted to effectively fulfill your duties if you do not know what to do? Furthermore, inconsistency and vagueness is frustrating for both the library staff and to our patrons. During our discussion, many members found that most of the rigidity and bureaucratic obstacles came from the larger bureaucratic institution responsible for the library. Specifically, most members pointed to local governments in charge of public library funding.
Ultimately, this discussion only scratched the surface. Going forward, it is very important that we learn how to navigate the bureaucracies in our institutions in order to maximize our effectiveness.
Submitted by Alfonso Huerta