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Library Cat Herding: Holding the Herd Together Without Getting Ripped to Shreds

Your Name and Title:  Raelynn V. Richardson, Library Services Coordinator for Circulation and Reserves

Library, School, or Organization Name: University of New Mexico University Libraries

Co-Presenter Name(s): N/A

Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Albuquerque. New Mexico, USA

Language in Which You Will Present: English

Target Audience(s): Academic Librarians, Academic Library Workers, Public Service Librarians, and persons staffing Access Services, Reserve, and Information Desks, and/or anyone that works with the public in libraries

Short Session Description (one line):

Examples of soft skills (e.g. emotional intelligence, communication, finding balance) in practice, how to seek out and develop new skills, and tips for enjoying maintaining and influencing library services and policies while avoiding burnout.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

In librarianship, for both the professional and paraprofessional, many times training sessions focus on the hard skills, theories, and how to operate systems. When soft skill training (like emotional intelligence and communication) is suggested, much of what is available is often focused on how soft skills function in the business world, not in libraries. This does not make the training bad, but we have to dig a little deeper to find the nugget that will benefit our job performance and our patrons.  Often a busy day at the library can feel like you’ve spent all day running around trying to herd cats, and not actually getting anything accomplished. We also have to strike the balance of meeting the needs of our patrons and following library policy. If you have several of these busy or draining days either the back burner work piles up and becomes a fire, or the backlog is so large it feels overwhelming and you want to burn it down yourself. Working in an environment like this eventually takes its toll on all of us. 

All library employees have to find a way to take care of themselves first so they can provide for their community. I will share tips and skills over the years that have helped me reach a place where I can enjoy my job and look forward to the challenge of all the moving pieces and relationship building. These include tips for dealing with difficult or upset patron situations, meetings, working on projects with people of varying hierarchical status, time management and organization. I will include things that have worked for me over the past 21 years in the library, as well as a few things that did not work.  I also will use two time management/organizational examples (Bullet Journaling and Getting Things Done methods) on how to look at and evaluate a system usually intended for other businesses and finding the nuggets that can work in a library.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: N/A

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Slides from the presentation.  my email



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