Saving school libraries and strategic planning presentations – the readings

Here is a list, with links and brief annotations as to how they relate and/or helped to shape my thinking leading up to and while putting together the presentations I delivered at conference.  I’ll try and make it lucid, but it really is an example of scanning and connection-making, which lives entirely inside my brain.  I only hope that some of the connections work for you, too!

Venessa Miemis gave me my first insight into environmental scanning, and STEEP.  This is the post that showed me where to begin with my strategic planning group, and provided the framework for all of the workshops I have done with my management team, library staff and at the conference workshops.  I have read widely across her site and subscribe to her posts to get the futurist point of view.

Jeff Conklin’s book Dialogue mapping can be found here, along with access to the official promotional stuff around wicked problems, social complexity, technological complexity (being the problems) and dialogue mapping (the solution, or at least a great tool).  I also read the first chapter of the book online, which explains the concepts much better than I could. I came to this stuff because of my concerns about project management on the new website build, and had been reading about project management in general and why so many ‘projects’ fail.  The readings kept telling me the same things – these working groups, project teams, whatever you want to label them, rarely begin by establishing (and continually reinforcing) shared understanding.  That is what has led me to identify shared understanding (and dialogue mapping as a preferred tool) as a critical success factor in strategic planning and project management.  If you are really interested, you can interloan a copy through the public library system.

If you are interested in thinking about what your library is for, here are the readings which have been critical in giving me some places to start the thinking process. Becoming Librarian 2.0 by Helen Partridge describes the results of research undertaken across the broad spectrum of library services in Australia.  The research looked to establish an understanding of the characteristics of Librarian 2.0.  We used this for staff professional development to begin to build a picture of the skills and attributes required to function effectively in a Library 2.0 world.  What skills will we need, what attributes should libraries and schools seek in their library staff through the recruitment and staff development processes?  If this interests you, this article might also be relevant.  Coping with continual motion by Betha Gutsche, and featured in the Library Journal, focuses on competencies as a means to absorb future shock – don’t miss the excellent links to further reading in the article footer.

Feeding into this thought process was Hugh McGuire’s post which asked the question What are libraries for?  He directs his question at public libraries, and the answers he puts forward may not translate across the school library sector.  Our purpose is shaped and influenced by pedagogy, the New Zealand Curriculum, and the goal of helping to shape connected, critically literate life-long learners.  Our purpose and what we are for must also reflect the peculiarities and special nature of our respective educational communities.  Do you have a responsibility to bridge the digital divide, to support wide cultural diversity or special learning needs?  Where does your responsibility for connectedness lie?  What do you need to grow your library into being ‘for’? Can it just be for reading and access to traditional sources of information?  Is this a wicked problem? Oh no, I think it might be…

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3 Responses to Saving school libraries and strategic planning presentations – the readings

  1. Pingback: The Daily News: 23 July 2011 | Finding Heroes

  2. Pingback: Are you ready? Advocacy rev up from Library Girl « serious fun

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