Network of the National Library of Medicine
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NNLM Pac-Man vs Ghosts: Librarians Overcome Barriers

At the Joint Meeting on Monday October 24, 2016, the MidContinental and Greater Midwest Regional Medical Libraries of the Network of the National Library of Medicine took over the lunch time session.  We used crowd sourcing to identify successful strategies that attendees used to overcome ghost barriers identified by the RML librarians.

There were fourteen ghost barriers identified by staff. Attendees to the Joint Meeting shared strategies that had worked for them in overcoming these challenging ghost barriers. Voting then ensued for popularity and help-me strategies. Popularity votes were for strategies that would work in member institutions. Help- me! votes were for strategies librarians would like to try but would need assistance with.

Ghost Barrier Strategies:
Because that's how we've always done it…
  • Sharing info about what other libraries are doing --> show other ways to do it.
  • Analyze cost/benefit/time.
  • Weaned ourselves off ref desk. Fewer hours --> no hours --> office hours --> appointment only
  • Politely challenge your boss. (1) Bring best practices. (2) Bring data.
  • Recruit a library student for a practicum.
  • Focus on organizational mission.
  • Research.
  • Join forces with the Research & EBP Council to train nurses in the evidence-based practice mentor program.
  • Ask if it should be done. Ask if we should be the ones to do it. Ask if each step is necessary. If step is necessary, can it be done faster, simpler, cheaper?
  • Champion open sharing of challenges, solicit discussion.
  • Approach the resister with a new idea, then make it their idea (or wait for it to be their idea).
  • Convince them this was their idea.
  • Change takes time - ease into it - don't try to change too fast - figuring out barriers will make the change stick better.
  • Hand responsibility to the person who is resistant to come up with a new way.
  • Setting a new tone that our campuses have changed, so we need to evaluate/change the way we approach things.
  • Proposed, obtained, and developed libguides to replace outdated & inaccessible intranet.

IT Challenges
  • Brush up on project management. Talk to your IT department and learn their methodology. Learn their lingo and you'll be able to better explain/communicate your library's IT needs.
  • Conducting all-staff IT skills assessment to identify gaps.
  • Persistence and flexibility when fixing access issues.
  • Being willing to fail.
  • Change staff.
  • Make friends with the IT department. (cookies help)
  • Make friends/socialize with IT staff.
  • Implemented regular meetings with a key IT contact to share information.
  • Find an IT Champion (or IT department head) and set-up a meeting to discuss needs and potential solutions. Find a middle ground.
  • Worked with IT to get a "Ask a Librarian" in Cerner EHR.
  • Training.
  • IT person left and we can't afford to hire another one. Remaining staff are sharing the responsibilities.
  • Find a champion on the IT staff who you can involve in a special project. (They can claim pride of ownership and build rapport for future projects.)
  • Increased communication between departments.
  • Encourage more centralized IT collaboration.
  • Having University IT run & maintain printers in library so librarians didn't have to deal with it.
  • "Tech Talk" brown bag lunches.
  • Moved IT office into library for quicker troubleshooting and easier collaboration in solving technology problems.
  • Where I work it is up to me to update the library website, figure out how to redo the website, etc. I have met the challenge by taking classes to learn the platform - usually outside classes. Also talk to IT staff when I am having problems.

Lack of Planning
  • Make A Plan!
  • Goal setting with time built in for planning.
  • Transparent, accountable process - objectives, timelines, updates, and shared documentation planning.
  • Align planning with institutional priorities.
  • Leverage the freedom and agility that not planning provides.

Making sense out of data
  • Using visualization tools.
  • Learn new skills.
  • Training in R and Python.
  • Interpreting changes from #s of things to amount of time spent.
  • Learn more intuitive ways of displaying data.
  • Enroll in college level statistic courses – one semester; don’t just rely on librarian CE.
  • Educating myself through the BD2K program, journal club, and joining with others in a data task force.

Justification for New Personnel
  • User stories on how the position makes a difference.
  • Have workload statements for all staff, along with a gap analysis of services not fully realized.
  • Gathering data to make the case for new personnel. Comparisons to other libraries. Benchmarking.
  • Data, data, data.
  • Statistics and new contractual agreement with sister hospitals.
  • Tell leadership not enough staff to staff the desk. Tell leadership library will close. Tell leadership volunteers unhappy.
  • Use data.
  • Talk with leaders of new programs/initiatives on campus to identify librarian opportunities.
  • Show data and network with other departments to get support from others
  • Wait for the right time. Strike when you’re hot.

Challenges to joining forces
  • Develop projects around a shared need/opportunity and be flexible.
  • Establish a relationship. Create a demo of material we want to add to a course.
  • Learn to deal with turf issues.
  • CHI contracted with Creighton for library services.

Poor Communications
  • Hold scheduled meetings to discuss problems, new developments, information from conferences and workshop attendance, etc.
  • Internal to library – daily emails with meetings for that day, announcements, items of interest, etc.
  • Holding manager accountable for their staff – they need to address poor communications.
  • Communications
    A. Creating and Sharing lists and suggestions.
    B. Getting up and going to people’s offices to share and discuss.
    C. At meeting and when talking to people praise and encourage others to share and comment.
  • Rounding with library staff.
  • Poor Communication (from Manager) – Send email to manager listing numerically my understanding of what she wants done and requesting a time frame or deadline.
  • Create positive messaging using new tools such as social media and digital signage. Use website to disseminate news about services.
  • Require posting and reading of all team/committee minutes.

Educating administration about today’s libraries
  • Tell stories about how the library has benefited patrons, don't just give usage statistics.
  • Ongoing impact survey based on Rochester study, tying impacts to specific strategic plan goals.
  • Asked for and met with new hospital president.
  • Tie library planning and annual report to boss' or institutional priorities.
  • Get champions on your side. A surgeon educated the chair of surgery that online digital resources are costly, opening the door to support from surgery.
  • Do Library Annual Report - tie accomplishments to organization strategic plan - include ROI or value calculation.
  • Chats with deans and department chairs.
  • Educating Administration about today's libraries.
  • Slide show and poster explaining library tasks and where they fit into:
    - Getting Questions.
    - Access to Resources.
    - Managing Resources.
    - Administrative support of above.
  • Promoting Open Access workshops & Alternative Textbook Initiative --> Students save $ --> Admin likes this.

Changing Space Needs
  • Survey & observe patrons to determine what the actual space needs are.
  • Collaborate with space stakeholders to plan space changes that are needed.
  • Create a renovation plan.
  • Think creatively and talk with stakeholders.
  • Becoming more mobile to be more accessible.
  • Survey patients/staff.
  • Stakeholder buy-in.
  • Planning assessment.
  • Staff weed collections to create more space.
  • Record, share, & show what works before changing everything.
  • Virtualize as much as possible. Find HIPAA-compliant space in or near units and live there rather than office.

Insufficient Outreach
  • Identify stakeholders, find advocates within departments, develop relationships.
  • Form a marketing committee to plan promotional events in the library.
  • Having embedded office space within liaison departments.
  • Leave your office or building and mingle with those you are supposed to serve.
  • Partner with departments and colleges in their community outreach activities (or ask other to join library's outreach plans).
  • Fun programs, not just educational.
  • Host librarian office hours outside library and in main building for health sciences colleges 5 hrs/week.
  • "Hit the road" Jack (and Jill) to provide better outreach.
  • Meet with mentors to get tips from them re: how to reach faculty.

Outdated Skills
  • Attend conferences and webinars.
  • Training opportunities that are convenient and funded.
  • Join committees and task forces; learn about new skills through literature, listservs, FB groups, etc.
  • Peer-to-peer training.
  • Take a class.
  • Training and professional development.
  • Take CE’s; attend conferences.
  • Education and training.
  • Join listservs/groups and read/skim blogs & articles.
  • Implement mandatory minimum of 8 hours CE in academic year for each staff member.
  • Incentivize staff education.
  • Invest in training.
  • Identify, fund training sessions.

Personal Motivation
  • Set small achievable goals.
  • Use Google Drive Sheets for personal project management dashboard.
  • Post long and short term goals nearby.
  • Realign duties to better fit personal talent/skills/motivation.
  • Redecorate and reorganize desk to make it more enjoyable to work in.
  • Provide flexible work schedule.
  • Find Passion in some aspect of your work.
  • Make the task one of my personal goals for my employee annual evaluation.
  • Twitter.
  • Found area of passion, strength of employee and allowed to use it on project.

Identifying Funding Sources
  • Think outside the box. Indentify unconventional funding sources.
  • Look at your RML website.
  • Integrate Library grant resources & training with Med School grant office.
  • Present budget request - each item - as maintaining present quality or improving quality.
  • I.F.S. Public relations. Good PR funding comes to you.

Changing User Needs
  • Assess changing needs.
  • Redesigning space.
  • Update/remodel space.
  • Research consultation service for online only students.
  • User research.
  • Weeded and moved physical media collection, creating more study room space for students as they wanted/needed.
  • Having "office hours" up on the student lounge floor.
  • Learn a new skill that will help meet the changing user's needs. (bibliometrics, etc.)
  • Online library consultation for online students & faculty.
  • "My Scheduler" (LibApps) appointment service for research consultations.
  • Fewer & fewer "short" questions. They can do more of this on their own. Increase in longer session.