Friday, September 14, 2018

How To Gracefully Leave A Job

So you have accepted a shiny new position, and you're super excited about it. Well done, you! Of course, before you can start your new job, you need to leave your old one, and that is never easy.

Because librarians are all about service, we always want to leave things in the best situation we can. Here are some tips that should help ease the transition for you, your employer, and the person who will be stepping into your shoes.


Give Ample Notice

Of course, giving two weeks' notice (at least) is good form, as is making sure that your boss knows before you tell any coworkers, and before you post anything on social media. This is all common sense, but always bears repeating.

It's up to you if you want to let any regular patrons and families know that you will be leaving. If you do, you may encounter unwanted attention or even tears, but not giving notice may leave your patrons feeling confused or abandoned. It's absolutely up to you; I have found that telling people at programs (such as storytime) is a good way to let everyone know, while avoiding making a big show of things. Then again, if you are retiring (or even if you're not), you may want to throw yourself a big party. It's absolutely your call!

It's also a good idea to let any community contacts know that you're leaving. If you're the point person for the local school district, contact them and let them know who they should be speaking with, instead.


Leave Things In Good Order

As public service professionals, a librarian's main concern is the public. While it may be tempting to slack off and not care what happens once we're gone, the truth is that we do care (or we wouldn't be in this line of work). Leaving everything in good order is not just the professional way, it's also just plain considerate. This includes:

  • Make plans for upcoming programs. - Many of us plan programs weeks or even months in advance, and leaving a job with only a couple weeks' notice doesn't give as much time to tie up loose ends as we'd like. Take time to discuss with your supervisor any upcoming events on the calendar. Will they be canceled, or will someone else be able to run them? If a performer is scheduled, be sure to send along any contact information to your supervisor, and alert the performer of correct person to speak in your absence.
  • Make plans for upcoming book orders and subscriptions. - Even the most prepared new hire will need some time to get their feet under them when in a new position. If you take care of any book ordering or subscriptions, make sure they're set up for a couple months after you're gone. (For example, have carts of books ready for purchase with anticipated titles.)
  • Leave a list of passwords and other log-in information that may be needed. - You'd be surprised how often a staff laptop is sitting around with nobody able to log in, or a professional social media account with nobody authorized to run it! If you aren't comfortable leaving passwords (for example, social media is often linked to personal accounts), make sure administrative power is granted to someone actively working at your library. They can always transfer power to a new person later.
  • Write instructions for any quirky things to know. - Sure, you know that when this specific patron comes in and asks for a mystery, they mean the newest Joanne Fluke cozy, but how the heck would anybody else know? Think of as many random tidbits of information you can, and write them down. Save your replacement oodles of time!
  • Leave a note for the person who will be filling your shoes - Every library has its own community and its own likes and dislikes. (My current library, for example, has very little interest in fantasy novels, which is very unusual in my experience!) Make some notes. What has been successful? What hasn't gone over well? What days should you totally avoid holding programs because that's when everyone in town goes to Zumba? If your replacement decides not to use this information, that's their choice, but nobody can say you didn't try to start them off on a good foot.
  • Set up an email away message. - Your work email may be deactivated right away, or it may take a great deal of time, but in either case, it's probably a good idea to set up an away message stating that you are no longer reachable at this library, and letting your contacts know who the correct person to reach out to will be going forward, whether it's your replacement (if known) or your supervisor.


Take Care of Your Own Needs

You've cleaned out your desk and made sure you grabbed all the photos of your cats, that Tide pen that lives in your top drawer, and your Nancy Pearl action figure. What more could you possibly need to do?

  • Copy any digital files you want to keep. - Did you really spend hours making up a Winter Reading Challenge BINGO board, only to leave it behind? Check and see if there are any book lists, information fliers, pamphlets, or the like that you may be able to adapt to your new environment, and stick them on a flash drive. Not sure if you want it? Luckily, digital files don't take up that much space.
  • Clean your workspace. - As mentioned, of course make sure that you get any of your own personal items. Also, make sure you leave everything else in good order. That stapler you borrowed from cataloging? Bring it back. Those genre stickers shoved in your desk drawer? Organize them quickly. Maybe even give your desk a quick swipe down with a bleach wipe. If nothing else, it'll force you to go through everything one last time and make sure you have all your personal items.
  • Go through storage. - I'm always amazed at how many craft samples or program posters I save. Do you want to take these things with you? If not, will anyone else really want to keep them around? Save staff the trouble and get rid of unnecessary stuff, being sure to grab anything you know you want to hold onto. (This will also help you remember things that you personally own that may have been shuffled to storage for safekeeping, like that raccoon puppet that comes out at storytime every year or so, but really belongs to you.)
  • Make a list of contacts you would like to keep. - Whether you're moving to the next town over or across the country, there may be some professional contacts you would like to keep. Send your personal email a list of contacts, so you can easily find that performer you loved, that author who gave the amazing talk, that vendor with the exceptional books. If you never use the contacts list, that's okay, but it's always better to have something and not need it, than to need something and not have it. (You may also want to share these contacts with your replacement.)
  • Prepare for later. - Of course, your new job is going to be perfect and you're never ever going to leave it. But just in case: it can't hurt to get written references from supervisors to keep in your pocket. It also can't hurt to make sure your resume is in perfect order, adding in all your job responsibilities while they are fresh in your mind. If you are leaving for another job, you have likely done this for the job search, but if you're leaving for another reason - to stay home with your kids, or to take care of a parent, or maybe to travel the world - you may not have done this already.

In Conclusion

Easing the transition for yourself and your replacement has no downside. If you can think of any other tips, please let us know here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Weeding Challenge: Business Books

It's that time again. Summer Reading is over, the holidays have not yet begun, and  -- it's time for another weeding challenge!

This time, let's take a look at the business books. Sure, technology moves fast, but it's not like management or general office skills change that much, right? A book on resumes is a book on resumes! Maybe not so much.

Weeding Generalities

As we discussed in our other Weeding Challenges (Cookbooks and Craft Books and Staying Trendy), and in our popular Weeding 101 article, the main things that most librarians look for when weeding a collection are condition, age, usage statistics, and usefulness. Of course, when there is ample shelf space in one area and another is bursting at the seams, weeding of the roomy section can be often overlooked, even when more relevant titles have been added.

Things to keep in mind when weeding:

  • How long has it been since this book last went out?
  • Are other/better books on these topics available either at this library or for purchase?
  • Do we really need books on this topic? 
  • Do we really need THIS book on this topic?
  • Is this laughably outdated? (If it is, send us photos!)

The CREW method of weeding (Kat's personal favorite weeding method) recommends that computer books are replaced when they are 3 years old, regardless of how often they go out. Considering how much of business is now online, I'd argue that business books should be held to roughly the same standards.

Specific Things to Look For

Once you've gotten the obvious problem items taken care of, it's time to dig a little deeper. Here's a handy list of things to check for when deciding whether or not to keep a business book that looks okay.

Lack of Websites and Technology

As we all know, everything is online now. General usage doesn't hyphenate "on-line" anymore, so that word right there is a nice red flag for you to think closely about keeping a book.

Examples:
 How to Get a Job NOW! Six Easy Steps to Getting a Better Job
by J. Michael Fort, published 1997

This book doesn't look too bad, but when you flip through, you'll find that you need to look for a job by "knocking on doors" and flipping through the classified ads. Literally nobody does that anymore.



Resume Writing: A Comprehensive How-To-Do-It Guide
by Burdette E. Bestwick, published 1990

As you may be able to tell from the cover, this book recommends that you write out your resume long-hand, and then go type it up where you can use a computer.
The Enterprising Woman by Mari Florence, published 1998

This one doesn't look too bad! There are plenty of books about women wanting to get into business. Of course, it is 20 years old...





And it has this page in it:


If you can't read the writing, please enjoy these direct quotes:

"Putting up a Web site is becoming as important as advertising with newspapers, television stations, and billboards."

"Companies such as America Online offer free Web sites to their customers."

"Some entrepreneurs are getting their sites into search engines, which basically serve as a Web directory."




Century 21 Accounting: A First-Year Course by Robert M. Swanson, published 1982

Accounting never gets old! Except, instead of using online software and spreadsheets, you use a big ol' notebook and a pencil.

Irrelevant Skill-sets

Gregg Shorthand
newly updated for 1971!

Shorthand and stenography is a neat skill, but maybe not one that we need to have multiple books about?






 General Age and/or Level of Bias

The Change Masters by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
published 1983

This one looks brand new! Unfortunately, that's because it hasn't been used much. Book on innovation are always good, but one from 1983 might be a little bit behind the times.






The Woman's Guide to Management Success: How to Win Power in the Real Organizational World by Joan Koob Cannie, published 1979

This is far and away my favorite book that I found. Look at her confident expression as she casually leans on the Twin Towers...




Knock Em' Dead 2000 by Martin Yate, published 2000

Anything with a date on it that is over 5 years old, is ready to be retired.







In Conclusion

This is a gentle reminder to go ahead and check your shelves, and see what may need to be taken care of. My library has many wonderful business and resume titles available for public use. We just also have a few that may be ready to go.

Let us know what you think here in the comments, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter.