Thursday, September 10, 2009

New ALALearning Post: Finding Your Voices

I have a new post up at the ALALearning blog (the official blog of the LearnRT: The Learning Round Table of ALA. Formerly CLENE. Say that three times fast!)

Check it out: Finding Your Voice(s)

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Monday, August 24, 2009

New name, new blog. CLENE is now LearnRT

Happily sharing this press release from Lori Reed, Board Member and Communications & Marketing Chair of the Learning Round Table of ALA

ALA Learning Round Table Chooses New Name, Retains Mission

by Lori Reed

The name may be changing, but the mission of the “Learning Round Table of ALA” remains the same. The American Library Association’s round table dedicated to quality continuing education for library workers has changed its name from CLENERT to LearnRT.

Under its new name:

  • LearnRT will continue to promote quality continuing education for all library personnel, helping you network with other continuing education providers for the exchange of ideas, concerns and solutions.
  • LearnRT will serve as your source for continuing education assistance, publications, materials, training and activities.
  • LearnRT is your advocate for quality library continuing education at both the local and national levels.


In addition to the name change the Round Table is sponsoring a new blog/website, “ALA Learning” (, which will feature training and learning news, information, best practices and thoughtful discussion from leading trainers and staff development practitioners in the library field.

Contributing authors include:


Membership in LearnRT is only $20, in addition to ALA membership dues. Among the many membership benefits, LearnRT members enjoy, through a unique agreement with the American Management Association, the following valuable AMA benefits:

  • Preferred pricing on all AMA seminars-least a 10-percent discount.
  • Unlimited access to AMA’s Members-only Web site – an ever-growing library of both timely and timeless information on practical issues of management.
  • Access to case studies, how-to articles, trend pieces, best practices, profiles of leading executives and companies, best-selling book excerpts, author interviews and recent research results.
  • Interactive self-assessments that reflect the abilities and knowledge of today’s high-value managers.
  • Exclusive discounts and special offers on AMA products and services.
  • Thirty-percent discounts on “Last-Minute Seats” at numerous selected AMA seminars announced each month.

To become a member of ALA’s Learning Round Table complete the ALA membership application:

(Please note that we may be listed as either CLENERT or LearnRT in various places until the name change has fully circulated throughout ALA.)


For more information about LearnRT contact Pat Carterette, president of LearnRT, at (404) 235-7124 or by e-mail at pcarterette[at]

For more information about contact Lori Reed, managing editor, at (704) 350-5421 or by email at webmaster[at]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Make ALA Connect Work For You: An appeal for Notifications ON!

UPDATE 7/28/09, 3:00 PM: Check out Jenny Levine's post on changes coming to ALA Connect--esp. regarding improvements in notifications!

I'm excited, hopeful, and joyously optimistic about ALA Connect, ALA's hybrid social network, bulletin board, listserv, calendar, project management tool.

Like all networks ALA Connect is only as useful and powerful as the number people that use it; and in fact it is getting exponentially more useful and powerful with each new user.

The more I use the ALA Connect, the more I realize that selectively turning on Email Notifications is key (for me) to integrating Connect into my professional life. This ensures that updates (the ones I want anyway) are pushed out to me, which is important as I only tend to pay attention to whatever wanders into my field of vision...

I'm appealing to you, dear reader; help ALA Connect thrive and grow by logging in and turning on your notifications too--and help spread the word by posting this attractively designed and competitively-priced banner ad (in both border and non-border stylings you'll notice) on your blog, homepage, or social network of choice. Extra points for tattooing directly upon your body. No pictures please, I'll take your word for it.

Another feature I've found useful for keeping up in Connect is the ability to view my unread messages through the "My Unread" page and feed. Links to your "My Unread" content can be found on the lower right of the ALA Connect page under "Community Notifications". (These links will work for you if you're logged in to ALA Connect--otherwise you're seeing "access denied" messages.)

To learn more about ALA Connect, check out the these great video tutorials created by Emerging Leaders Group I (aka Melissa Dessent, Ahniwa Ferrari, Jaime Hammond, Jennifer Jarson, Jason Kucsma). The videos are in the process of being uploaded to ALA Connect proper.

Thanks everyone, see you on ALA Connect!

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Research confirms Library Garden Reporting: Goofing off at work makes you a better employee

A new study by a bunch of Australians with too much time on their hands confirms what Library Garden has previously reported: Not working makes you a better worker.

That's right folks! Employees who surf the net, check Facebook, send some tweets, or regularly check on the latest Brangelina update (are they pregnant? are they adopting again? does Jennifer Aniston always have to be mentioned in these articles?) are actually MORE PRODUCTIVE. Don't believe me? Here's what Wired reported:
The University of Melbourne study showed that people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are about 9 percent more productive that those who do not.
Isn't that great? But wait, it gets better. There's even a new pseudoscientfic euphamistic acronym:
Study author Brent Coker, from the department of management and marketing, said "workplace Internet leisure browsing," or WILB, helped to sharpened (sic) workers' concentration.
So the next time you're caught watching the sneezing baby panda video you can confidently look your supervisor in the eye and say, "Goofing off? Why no boss, I was WILBing. Scientific research has proven that a good Wilb makes me 9% more productive."

If your boss still has a problem with your wilbful behavior, you can claim, "I just have a bursty style, not a busy style, which means that although it might appear to the untrained eye that I'm never actually working, you'll notice that all my work actually gets done."

If this line is delivered correctly, it will create a moment of confusion as your boss ponders the busy/bursty conundrum, giving you a small window of opportunity to slip away for a donut break.

Happy WILBing!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

14 Words on a Slide

Originally uploaded by Peter Bromberg

In response to presentation at Computers in Libraries where a NEW RULE was handed down from on high: "NO MORE THAN 10 WORDS ON A SLIDE"

Um. No.

Orig photo from:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clutter Lovers Unite: Don't stress about the mess!

I was gratified this morning to read this article in the New York Times by Sara Rimer: An orderly office? That’s personal. The article reports on Lisa Whited, an interior designer who specializes in adapting work spaces to the needs, habits, and goals of their users. She's not your typical "get rid of the clutter now!" organizer. Instead of boilerplate suggestions for getting organized, Whited begins her jobs by interviewing clients to determine their specific work habits and styles.

What particularly caught my attention was that after interviewing her client (the author of the article), Whited surmised that she was the kind of person who needed to see things in front of her or else she forgot she had them, so putting things away in a filing cabinet might not be an effective organizational strategy. Reading those words, I wanted to reach into the paper (well, into the laptop--I read the Times online now) and wrap my arms around Whited and thank her for validating my life.

Out of Sight Out of Mind
See, I’m an out of sight out of mind kind of guy. Just today I came to work without my wallet (it was “put away” in a drawer), and twice last week I came to work without my phone (it was charging in another room.) I pretty much have to organize my morning so that anything that requires my attention (phone, wallet, pants. Well, maybe not pants, I’ve effectively habitualized that one) needs to be visible to me when I’m leaving the house.

Likewise, with work. My whole organizational strategy is about keeping important things in my field of vision. If I’m not looking at it, it may as well not exist. (Note to friends and family: Apologies for being out of touch but I forgot that you existed.)

Since there’s only so much that I can keep on my desk, it’s generally not possible or practical to have too many physical reminders (notes, papers, etc.) in my field of vision. That’s why I rely heavily – VERY heavily – on text message and email reminders which I liberally set for myself using Google Calendar. (Note to Google Calendar: I’m not saying I’d leave my wife for you, but I admit we have something very special.)

Everyone I’ve ever worked with has learned that I will not see a message unless it's placed on my chair seat. I’ve learned that if I need to do something first thing in the morning, I leave a note on my keyboard where I can’t miss it. Before text message reminders came into my life I relied heavily on taping notes to the doorknob at home (“remember to go to meeting in Trenton this morning!”)

While paper reminders in my field of vision can help, they also have their downside. One piece of paper can be accidentally placed over another piece of paper. Or it can blow away. Or it can have coffee spilled on it. For these reasons, I’ve actually arranged my work life to be as free from paper as possible. There’s probably the equivalent of 20 reams of paper sitting on my desk right now, most of it in colored folders. 98% of it has been generated by someone else and given to me at a meeting or conference. If it’s something I think I may ever want to reference again, I’ve trained myself to scan it into PDF so I have an electronic copy. One great benefit of putting everything into electronic format is that, thanks to Google Desktop Search, I can find anything I ever "touched" on my computer -- email, website, pdf, etc. -- immediately, and sometimes quicker!

Don't Judge My Piles!
While these piles on my desk may look like a mess to the outside observer, I like having them visible because they remind me to look through them now and then and pull out little tidbits. A note jotted in the margin a of a Powerpoint handout from a conference presentation or a handout from a workshop I've given (and completely forgotten about) can trigger new insights and connections, or give me a new perspective on a problem I'm dealing with. I like the serendipity of it. It's both relaxing to me and stimulating.

Perhaps one reason most “get organized” books fail to help people like me is that they’re written by people who are not at all like me—they’re written by people who equate neatness with organization, and assume that a neat orderly environment is an a priori good and an end unto itself. I think the authors of these books are people who feel stressed out when they see a lot of stuff, so by gum they’re not only gonna put away their stuff, they’re gonna make sure MY stuff is put away too!

But they fail to appreciate that many people (like me) are NOT like them—we don’t function best when everything is “put away”, nor are we particularly stressed by clutter. In fact, I’m generally oblivious to clutter. I don’t even see the piles of paper on my desk.

Organization Is Not an End Unto Itself
This is what I want to tell the neatniks, declutterers, straighteners, and put-awayers of the world: Organization is a tool. It is a means to an end but it is NOT an end unto itself. The end is effectiveness. Happiness. Comfort. Flow. And I need lots of stuff around to achieve those states. So thanks for trying to help, but my brain isn’t wired like yours. So if I need help getting organized I’ll call Lisa Whited because she understands. It’s personal.

Links added April 2:

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Thursday, March 12, 2009



Do you have a staff training or staff development program you’re proud of? Would you like to present at ALA this summer?

If so, you’re invited to participate in the CLENE Training Showcase where you can share information about your program AND learn about the best practices of other libraries and organizations. The program is poster session style, and electricity and Internet can be provided if needed. Applications are due on April 1.

The Showcase will be on Sunday, July 12 from 1:30-3:30 pm. The planning committee looking for libraries, library organizations, presenters, speakers, and vendors to participate – anyone who has a great training or staff development program they’d like to share.

The Showcase normally attracts between 200-300 attendees over a period of 2 hours and there will be 20-30 presenters. It’s a really fun event with refreshments and lots of door prizes. Each participant has a 6’ draped table on which to put a portable table-top display unit, handouts or other related materials.

Please see CLENE Round Table Training Showcase website for more information. There’s a link on the main page for the Training Showcase Page with even more info about the Showcase, along with two online application forms – one for those wishing to participate and one for those want to be a sponsor or a donor.

There are a few photos from last year’s Training Showcase in Anaheim in the Dec. 2008 CLENExchange Newsletter as well as photos from previous years on CLENE's Flickr page. If it looks like everyone is having way too much fun, it's because we were!

For more information, contact either Pat Carterette, pcarterette[at] or404-235-7124 OR Melissa Lattanzi at lattanzm[at] or 330.847.7744, extension 12

Hope to see you there!!