Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Time Management in Libraries: some thoughts on continuing education classes

Anyone who has ever attended Continuing Education (CE) classes knows that sitting in a chilly meeting room, drinking coffee that tastes like styrofoam, while watching a Power Point slide show, which duplicates the handout slide-for-slide, are the order of the day. A popular CE topic is time management. Obviously, time would be better managed if the presenters just put the slide show on their website, but the irony seems to elude the presenters. Regarding the frustrations of CE, we present this letter sent to us by a frazzled librarian somewhere in Libraryland:

'Greetings and Salutations Fellow Librarians,
Inspired by the Regional Symposium on Time Management which I attend annually, I submit the following ideas for your consideration.
Has everyone seen the TV ad for the search engine Bing that shows people madly babbling tidbits of unrelated factoids? The ad appeals to the overwhelmed in all of us. The phrase “information overload” is decades old, but the situation only got worse with the advent of the internet. Time, they say, waits for no man, but what it does do is get cluttered up with too much to do and too much information. Since every malady should have a remedy, here is a plan to solve the problem of how to fully acknowledge the many worthy causes which we just don’t have time for and how to manage other demands on our time and attention. Clearly autumn is overburdened with serious causes and holidays, so I propose that we move several fall events to February which has a dearth of activities, followed closely by the month of March. Using the ever-popular multi-tasking approach, we could even double-up some holidays. For example, Valentine’s Day and Banned Books Week (last week of September) are perfect together. Just think of the possibilities. Give your significant other Lady Chatterley’s Lover or some other racy banned book instead of those fattening chocolates, dying roses and expensive jewelry. Not only will it be a lasting tribute to your love, it may easily outlast your love, as your S.O. may realize what an unromantic cheapskate you are.

Library Card Sign Up Month (September) could coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day. Libraries would set up tables in bars and sign up unsuspecting revelers by intimating that they may win all the green beer they can drink if only they get a library card. You could even have green library cards with scratch and sniff beer smell as a little marketing gimmick. Will those beer-swilling bar patrons become best seller-swilling library patrons? Who cares, your library membership stats will shoot up.
But wait, there’s more! This multi-tasking/ schedule-rearranging approach to the information-glut can also be enhanced by using the web 2.0 mashup time-management tool, which no one really understands, but has something to do with elevating ones anxiety level by simultaneously blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, RSS reader-ing, texting, IM’ing and so on ad nauseum. When I say ad nauseum, take that literally. Take one aspirin and call me in the morning. Not by cell phone. Not email. Not texting. No tweets please. In fact, just take the pill and leave me alone because you can find this Time Management Power Point presentation posted on my website: Marian the Librarian Tells It Like It Is.

Yours in eternal bibliotherapy,

A librarian squished flat on the Information Highway

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