Tuesday, October 1, 2013

9th Stop...Cognitive Load Management

According to the Institute for the Future in its report Future Work Skills 2020, "Cognitive Load Management is the ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques."


"Organizations and workers will only be able to turn the massive influx of data into an advantage if they can learn to effectively filter and focus on what is important."

Steam Punk Harriet is going to show you:
  • How to Focus
  • Where to Focus
  • How to Remember what you’ve learned
How do you filter and focus?



For the past half-century business and project leaders have used a technique call SWOT analysis. SWOT in an acronym for the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of an organization and for the external Opportunities and Threats that the organization faces in its environment. For more about the SWOT technique, here’s some information from Mind Tools.

Where do you filter and focus?

Now that you know what to look for where do you go to find things to focus on or filter out?

Here are some suggestions for you to try:

LISNews
All the news in the library and information science cosmos

Stephen's Lighthouse
The latest trends provocatively presented

Librarian by Day 
“a variety of library and technology related topics”

David Lee King
“I create, write, think, and speak about the social web, emerging trends, and libraries.”

librarian.net
“My passion presently is mucking about in the intersection of libraries, technology and politics and describing what I find there.”


Look them over. Did you see something there that you consider a strength or weakness or a threat or opportunity for the library? Make a note of it. This will be on the quiz.

Now that you’ve found something fascinating to focus on how do you remember it?


In his book Brain Rules, John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, says that there are several types of memory, and declarative memory (learning facts like the five laws of library science) has four steps. They are:

                1. Encoding
                2. Storing
                3. Retrieving 
                4. Forgetting


In our short term memory we start on the fourth step, forgetting, in about thirty seconds.

So one of Media’s Brain Rules is Repeat to Remember

“If you want to extend the 30 seconds to a few minutes or even an hour or two, you will need to consistently re-expose yourself to the information. Memories are so volatile that you have to repeat to remember.”

He also writes that you can improve your memory by elaborately encoding it during its initial moments.

“Many of us have trouble remembering names. If at a party you need help remembering Mary, it helps to repeat internally more information about her. 'Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.' It may seem counterintuitive at first but study after study shows it improves your memory.”

Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.
Mary is wearing a blue dress and my favorite color is blue.

His next brain rule related to retaining the memory, moving it from short term to long term memory is to Remember to Repeat.

"It takes years to consolidate a memory."

"Repeated exposure to information in specifically timed intervals provides the most powerful way to fix memory into the brain." 

"Repeat what you have learned 90-120 minutes after the initial learning occurred."

"Forgetting allows us to prioritize events. But if you want to remember, remember to repeat."

So now that you have read and remembered everything in this blog you can move on to

The Questionnaire 
Use the form to answer the following questions.
  1. SWOT means
    1. Special Weapons and Tactics
    2. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
    3. It’s time to get the hand sanitizer and wipes
    4. Star Wars The Old Republic
  2. What Strength or Weakness or Opportunity or Threat did you find when you were scanning the information superhighway? (Harriet told you this was going to be on the test)
  3. Which was it, a Strength, or a Weakness, or an Opportunity or a Threat?
  4. Copy its URL in the space below
  5. Who was wearing the blue dress at the party?
    1. Peggy Sue
    2. Mary
    3. Denise
    4. the Devil
  6. According to Dr. Medina memory is
    1. volatile
    2. forever
    3. a blank slate
    4. as permanent as red Kool-Aid™ on your white shag carpeting
  7. What is the fourth step in declarative memory?
    1. Encoding
    2. Storing
    3. Retrieving
    4. Forgetting
  8. What is the best way to retain what you have learned?
    1. repeat it 90-120 minutes after the initial learning occurred
    2. repeat it regularly at specifically timed intervals
    3. a or b
    4. all of the above
  9. ”Repeat to remember” and “remember to repeat” are learning techniques to improve
    1. Declarative short- and long-term memory
    2. Your memory of the girl you met at the party
    3. Your score on this quiz
    4. Your ability to forget
  10. What is the best way to retain what you have learned?
    1. repeat it 90-120 minutes after the initial learning occurred
    2. repeat it regularly at specifically timed intervals
    3. a or b
    4. the same answer as #8
  11. (Bonus Question) What is your favourite color?
    1. Blue
    2. Burnt Orange
    3. Aggie Maroon™
    4. Blue. No, yel...auuuuuuuugh!
When you have submitted the form at this station, you will receive the your medal and 1 hour of training.   You have until November 30 to complete this exercise.

Eighth Stop...Computational Thinking

Working in libraries we interact with and track a variety of data.  We compile data on the number of programs offered in our branches; the number of attendees;  how much time volunteers work with and support us; how many readers complete the Summer Reading program; and more.  We also receive data in the form of feedback from our customers - for example "We love coming to this library's Toddler Time!" But what do we do with all this data?

Even if you don't think of yourself as a numbers or statistics type of person, computational thinking will become an increasingly important skill in the future.  Computational thinking is the ability to take data and be able to draw conclusions from them and to make sense of vast amounts of information.  For example, looking at programming statistics might lead you to reconsider the types of programs offered, how they're promoted, or whether or not the same program might work better at a different time or on a different day of the week.

Below is a short video from Sebastian Wernicke, demonstrating how one might take recorded data, draw conclusions from them, and create a possible framework for future success.
At this stop on the Brain Train, we'll be creating an Infographic - a visual representation of data or information.

Here is an Example.

Instructions

This is an individual activity.

  1. Pick statistics to track from the Combined System Report for 2013-2014 or any of the archived reports (or a combination).  You can do it for your branch or the system.  For example, you could compare your branch computer use in minutes to circulation.  Or compare the number of adult, children's and teen programs.
  2. Using infogr.am, create an infographic using your chosen statistics.  Note: you do need to register.
  3. When you are done, click Share at the top of your graphic, then "View on the Web."  Copy that link into the form.
Note: If you experience problems in Internet Explorer, use the Chrome browser.


When you have submitted the form at this station, you will receive the your medal and get 1 hour of training.   You have until November 30 to complete this exercise.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seventh Stop...Social Intelligence

Social Intelligence (SI) describes one's ability to quickly assess the emotions of colleagues and customers and adapt their words and actions accordingly. This skill is important when library staff work with customers and colleagues to complete daily tasks and collaborate on larger projects. Trust and strong working relationships lead to greater productivity and are built through SI.

Social intelligence is natural. We automatically feel empathy for others and SI helps us express it to colleagues and customers throughout the course of our day. SI allows us to focus outwardly so we can pick up on the social cues our customers and colleagues provide asking for help, support, and feedback.

Group Exercise: Name That Emotion

Purpose

Increase the ability to recognize emotions in co-workers and customers.

Steps

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants. 

Please choose a facilitator for this exercise. This person will submit the names of participants and the total training time upon completion using the form on Harriet.  Up to 1 hour training credit will be given for this exercise. 
  1. Facilitator Prep: Procure handout listing emotions by filling out this form and make slips of paper for each emotion. 
  2. Five minutes discussion: Why is it important to identify emotions in oneself and others?
  3. Each individual chooses a slip of paper with an emotion.
  4. Work in pairs to act out the emotion for one's partner who is tasked with guessing the emotion.
  5. After pair activity, come back together as large group.
  6. Large group discussion: What were the challenges and rewards in understanding the emotion presented by one's partner? How can this skill be helpful in the workplace? Can group members recall a situation where understanding the emotions of colleagues or customers led to positive outcomes?
  7. Allow 30 minutes for the exercise and 10 minutes for facilitator preparation. 

Outcomes

Team members will increase trust, communication and conflict-resolutions skills through this exercise which should allow for more effective collaboration with colleagues and customers. 

Adapted from Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence by Marcia Hughes and Amy Miller.

When you have submitted the participants at this station, you will receive the your medal and get up to 1 hour of training.  You will have until October 11th to complete this exercise. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sixth Stop...Transdisciplinarity and the Traveling Book

Literacy is an ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines.

Transdisciplinarity is a skill that especially relates to everyone that works in a library system. While we are experts in our own discipline, library life does not happen in a bubble! The knowledge and appreciation for the work of others expounds our ability to better our own work. Understanding other’s process also illuminates why things are the way they are and why things happen the way the happen!


How does a book end up in the Harris County Public Library? It seems like a very simple question at first glance. In actuality, there are many travels that a book has to navigate before it even enters a Harris County Library branch. Not one HCPL circulating title enters the library without going through various hands and multiple steps. We are all interconnected by the nature of our work. 



Watch the film below as it illustrates the many disciplines involved in building our library collection. 


Complete ONE of the following TWO options.  This is worth one hour of training credit.

Option 1 - Film Questionnaire 

Use the form to answer the following questions.
  1. What is the purpose of the budget meeting?
  2. What type of materials does Michael Saperstein select?
  3. Name one of the tools used to select materials (Elaine is the example)?
  4. What is the Horizon status of items that have been authorized for purchase by the Acquisitions Librarian?
  5. What company supplies most of our library books?
  6. What department places barcodes on library materials?
  7. Name one label that the processing department adds?
  8. What type of materials requires extra hand processing?
  9. When materials have gone through all four featured departments, what is the next step?
  10. In your own words and based on what you learned by watching the film, briefly describe the following:
    1. Materials Selection
    2. Acquisitions
    3. Cataloging
    4. Processing

Option 2 - The Job Exchange

After watching “The Traveling Book" film, complete one of the following tasks. Try and get out of your comfort zone! Pick something you would not normally do within a regular work day!  Work with a Staff Expert* and find out how to do your selected task!

(Note*: A Staff Expert is the person who would normally complete the task on a daily basis.)




  • Prepare a Storytime craft.
  • Process a book.
  • Resolve the Hold Expired Report.
  • Read a story at Storytime.
  • Receive an item in Receiving.
  • Checkin Delivery.
  • Resolve the Pull List.
  • Process Holds.
  • Process an incoming ILL.
  • Request an ILL for a customer.
  • Facilitate a Book Club.
  • Create a Display.
  • Answer the main phone line and transfer calls.
  • Shelf shift a small collection.
  • Weed 10 books.
  • Complete a reference interview with a Teen or Tween.
  • Take a fine and settle the payment on a library record.
  • Straighten the supply closet and talk to your Supply Clerk. Learn about ordering.
  • Update a branch schedule.
  • Upload photos to Flickr.
  • Post on your branch Facebook account or Tweet on your branch Twitter account.
  • Make and apply tub lid sheets and sort tubs.
  • Observe Online Reference.
  • Place a print request or print a print request.
  • Create a blog post and suggest it for use.
Use the form to report back on your experience:
  1. What is your job title?
  2. What task did you select?
  3. Who was your Staff Expert?
  4. What did you learn about the role of your Staff Expert?
You will have until September 27th to complete one of the above exercises.  You can earn credit for only one of the two exercises.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Fifth Stop...Novel and Adaptive Thinking

Novel and Adaptive Thinking is one the most important skills workers will need in the future.  The ability to "think outside the box" will be imperative to our relevancy.  Customer service is a huge part of what we do in our library system.  We do things as simple as making a new library card and checking in and out materials to things as complicated as reader's advisory and answering tricky reference questions.  A lot of what we do is very routine, but once in a while you will have a situation arise that is not easily solved. The way we handle these situations will determine whether a customer comes back to us for their future needs or not.  We know we can't always give customers exactly what they want, but just because a customer does not get exactly what they wish for does not mean they have to leave unhappy.  The key is to offer them something else instead, or to at least compromise and meet them halfway. 

A big campaign going around right now in a lot of corporations is "Never Say No".  We all know  we can't always tell the customer yes.  There are some things that customers ask for that we must say no to.

The first part of this campaign is to find alternatives to the actual word NO.   It has been proven that customers absolutely hate the word NO.  If you can avoid using this word, even when there is not a way you can meet the customer's needs, things will go smoother with that situation.

The second part is encouraging  employees to find alternative ways to fulfill the desires of their customers even though they can't give them exactly what they want.

In our library system we have policies and procedures we have to abide by.  The key to never saying no is to offer them something else instead by finding a way to work around the policies and procedures we have in place. 

The video below is a re-enactment of a true customer experience that came up at a branch.    When watching the video notice that the circulation assistant does not use the word no.  She also offers an alternative to the customer.



video


For this module you have the option of participating in the group exercise, the individual exercise, or both. You can get up to one hour for the group exercise and a half hour for the individual exercise for a potential of 1.5 training hours.  You have until August 12th to complete this module.

Individual Exercise

You will get 30 minutes training credit for this exercise.  Please submit your answers using the form on Harriet.

Answer these customer questions without using the word "no".  Don’t forget to offer a comparable solution if possible. 


  1. Are you open on Sundays?  (CYF- for this exercise pretend you work at another branch)
  2. Can I check out this reference book to take home?
  3. Can I check out this DVD on my kid’s card?
  4. Can my daughter's Girl Scout troop sell cookies at your front door?



Group Exercise
Please choose a facilitator for this exercise. This person will submit the names of participants and the total training time upon completion using the form on Harriet.    Up to 1 hour training credit will be given for this exercise. 

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants. 

Get together with a group and have each person share a story or two about situations that arose when a customer came in and they couldn't give the customer exactly what they wanted.  

  1. How did each of you handle these situations and what was the outcome?  
  2. Were you able to offer a solution that made the customer happy? 


You will have until August 12th to complete one or both exercises.  You can earn credit for both types of exercises.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fourth Stop...Making Sense of Our World

The next stop on the Brain Train is all about critical thinking.  Critical thinking is when you are able to apply logic and reasoning to a situation or an idea that is new to you and make sense of the information that is thrown in your lap every day.  This skill is extremely important in helping you solve problems.  It is being able to have an open mind, being able to look at different possible answers to a problem and also being able to accept an answer that you may not quite have expected. 

The following exercises will make use of your branches iPad. You will need to download these free apps from iTunes. You have the option of participating in the group exercise, the individual exercise, or both.  You can get up to one hour for the group exercise and one hour for the individual exercise for a potential of two training hours.

Group Exercise

The following two apps are great for group exercises.  You can project them on a screen or wall or gather your group around an iPad, and work on them together.  Once you have completed the exercise, discuss the experience as a group.  Choose one app for a max of one hour of credit,  including game play and discussion. Upon completion, submit the participants using the form on Harriet.

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants. 

Murder She Wrote
Braingle

Discussion:
  1. As a group discuss the process of solving the puzzles.  For example:  How did you come about your answers?  Give reasons for your answers.  
  2. Why was it difficult or easy?

Individual Exercise

The following five apps are great for individual exercises.  Pick one or two apps to spend some time with.  Afterwards answer the five exercise questions on the form on Harriet.

Note: This is an individual activity. 


Cross Fingers
84 Logic Games
Brain Teaser Extreme
Sudoku by Optime
Cradle of Rome
Questions:
  1. Were some of the puzzles easier for you than others?
  2. What kind of challenges did you face?  For example, could you process the questions quickly enough, or how soon were you able to detect the missing objects?
  3. Did you find that the further you went in the process that you were better able to focus on the exercise or did it just get harder?
  4. Do you already participate in a type of critical thinking exercise?  For example, do you do the weekly crossword puzzle, are you addicted to Sudoku?
  5. Take a look at the App store and find two more critical thinking exercises/games.  Keywords you can use are “critical thinking” or "sense making” or “brain teasers.”  What are the two you tried and state one reason why you liked or did not like it.
You will have until July 12th to complete one or both exercises.  You can earn credit for both types of exercises.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Third Stop...Cross Cultural Competency


All of us have had the “stranger in a strange land” feeling before. We have all visited places where we felt just a little apprehensive of the unfamiliar. We have used skills of adaptation and observation to help us navigate the unknown. We tend to think more, move less and engage in a different way. These feelings can be all too real when we experience other cultures.

But culture is a strong part of our daily lives. And differences can influence service standards and interpersonal communication. Working with the public, we encounter a diversity of individuals in the process of transitioning between primary cultures and secondary cultures. As the world becomes more globalized, Cross Cultural Competency becomes a pertinent skill for the workplace.



At a staff or departmental meeting, try this experiment! It is designed to help illustrate understanding cultural intersections and demonstrate challenges when leaving your comfort zone! Completion of this module grants up to 1 hour of training credit. Upon completion, submit the participants using the form on Harriet.

Note: This is a group activity. Facilitator must fill out form and list all participants.

Instructions:
  1. Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
  2. Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper.
  3. One the left side of the paper, write the following with your dominant hand:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my dominant hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
  4. On the right side of the paper, use your non-dominate hand to do the same:
    • Write your name in cursive.
    • Write the word "psychiatrist" in cursive.
    • Write the sentence "I am writing this with my non-dominate hand."
    • Draw a tree.
    • Write today's date.
Discussion:
  1. Did you have trouble with this exercise? If so, what adjustments did you make to better complete each task?
  2. Did you notice any of your peers experiencing difficulties accomplishing any of the tasks? If so, did you notice any techniques they used to complete each task?
  3. If you were required to use your non-dominate hand for the remainder of the day, how do you think you’d feel?
  4. How would you relate this experience to a person moving from one culture to another?
  5. How does this exercise specifically relate to language barriers during library transactions?
  6. Having finished this exercise, how do you believe this will change the way you interact with those transitioning between cultures?
When you have submitted the participants at this station, you will receive the your medal and get up to 1 hour of training.   You have until June 14 to complete this exercise.