How unemployment took up all my time

Prior to February of this year I worked full-time as an ILS coordinator at the University of California, Riverside, I went to school full time to get my MLIS with San Jose State University – School of Library and Information Science and I worked part time as a graduate assistant. Between August 2013-Dec 2013 I was a full-time graduate student, full-time employee, part-time employee (20hr/wk) and an intern….yet somehow when I was provided with 40hrs/wk of ‘free’ time, I am busier now than ever. Why?

Because I got involved. I took the moment to grab lunch with friends. I applied myself in every aspect of life (professional development, scholarships, publications, building connections & relationships, exercise, applying to jobs that I wanted to do in places I wanted to live, we eat out less and the laundry is done more often.)

I still go to school full-time (but only really for about 6 more days), I’m now graduated. I work part-time and I train for marathons/half-marathons/5ks. Being unemployed is hard work. I cannot sit around collecting a small paycheck and doing nothing with myself to improve my situation.

I have attended a handful of workshops. When you have the time to look for them you will see that there are local workshops/meet-ups just about every week sometime multiple times a week.

I continue the intensive job search but am fortunate enough to actually have plenty of jobs to apply for.

But most importantly I do not stop learning. I took it to myself to get involved in Treehouse tracks and learn or hone my skills. I started following repos I’m curious about on Github. I freshen up on my language skills (Spanish and American Sign Language) you never know when these can come in handy. I take the time and I work more with committees and groups and volunteer. I got involved and did the things I wanted to do but couldn’t because I didn’t have time.

Unemployment can be stressful, and usually is. However, you can’t change your situation without moving forward. Put your full effort into a job you want. Take the time to reassess your goals (personal and professional) and take a breather and refresh. Spend quality time with family and friends. Have fun, it is good for the mind and the soul.

Social Media and transparent customer service

As I have worked with SCCLD on their social media endeavors I have noticed that it is the gateway to transparent customer service. I was discussing with a group of individuals that to get the ‘attention’ of companies the best way is to give them a shout out on their social media account. 

So often when we call into companies and give a ‘complaint’ this complaint is really only between you and whichever employee you speak with. Unless you tell multiple ‘friends’ of this complaint no one else will really know. The thing about social media is that most, if not all, organizations/businesses make their social media profiles public. Anyone can view whats on them and anyone can post on their pages/accounts. This creates a transparency for the company and forces them to respond to what most people want responses to, complaints. 

Just like in businesses such as Verizon, public/non-profit organizations have this transparency in their customer service. It is important that we DO NOT censor these posts/comments because someone will see the post and then see that it gets deleted, this forces business/organizations to respond to these complaints. 

It was in this conversation that I realized social media is the step to transparent customer service. 

Social Media Etiquette: responding to complaints

The more I’ve worked with Social Media the more I’ve come to notice that etiquette is hit and miss. Not everyone follows the same protocol. Albeit more important for ‘businesses’ than individuals, unless you are a celebrity which in this case you are viewed more as a business than an individual (sad but true when you think about it)

As librarians or para-professionals or circulation clerks, the list goes on, we have our fair share of dealing with irate patrons. We have the patrons who just want to be heard. The patrons who complain about dust on the keyboard. The patrons who just patronize…yeah, I went there. How do we handle these verbal complaints? “Kill ’em with kindness” “Give ’em a listening ear” “Ignore them [wait what?!]”  Our reactions to these situations are more/less second nature (if you’ve been working for more than a month in a library). Depending on the patron these complaints usually take place in a quite/semi private 3′ area about the desk between you and the patron requiring that you work one on one with the patron.

What about handling a complaint that someone megaphones from the roof tops in the middle of a HUGE city parade? How do you handle that? It becomes a bit more ‘messy’. Similar to handling a negative online comment. The viewing audience is now millions/billions? more than the verbal-across-3-foot-space complaint.  So how do we/you handle it?

First and foremost, you respond. If you don’t ‘speak up’ you are not defending yourself and thus giving the complaint merits to be true. Make sure you respond with a thoughtful and positive tone, don’t feed the fire with fire. In your response I also recommend that you remove the complaint from the public eyeEncourage the user/patron/customer to contact you personally (Direct Message, Email, etc.) A good example of this is Cory Booker’s (New Jersey Mayor) twitter feed. 


Articles to read in light of Social Media Etiquette:

The Ultimate Social Media Handbook [pdf 5 pages] 

Real Simple’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette


Facebook Insights. Do they work? Should we use them?

One of the easiest (give or take) ways to see how your Facebook posts are doing is to monitor your insights.

Over the past couple of days I have been working with Facebook insights to get an idea of how the audience between the 9 library pages within the SCCL district responds to posts. The main way to look at this is to view both interaction & reach of individual posts.

First I started out viewing just  the reach factor for each post, I focused on organic reach and total reach audience. What I found was posts with photos get the most “circulation” or reach factor. I wrote about the top 6 ways to get engagement on your Facebook page here, photos was #1. This was no surprise.

There are different types of “Reach” audiences that Facebook Insight take into count: (Read more about this here)

Organic Impressions:
These come from people seeing your content in their Newsfeed or the Ticker.  When you publish a new photo or status update to your Page’s wall and someone sees it, this number goes up. This is by far the most common way you’ll reach your Fans and their friends.

Viral Impressions
Viral Impressions are impressions on “stories” that get created when someone engages with your Page somehow.  Viral Stories might look like “David Turner liked PageLever’s comment”. There are 4 types of Viral Impressions: Fan, User Post, Page Post and Mention.

Paid Impressions:
Sponsored stories and other ad units are counted in here. Having the ability to see how your paid content is working alongside your owned content is crucial.

I focused primarily on Organic & Viral impressions. 

Then I looked at the engagement of each post by viewing the “engaged users” & the “talking about this” count. Facebook explains these in the following way: (Read more from PageLever here)

Engaged Users: Engaged Users is the number of individual people who have engaged with your Page, regardless if the engagement created a Story or not. 

Talking about this: People Talking About This (or PTAT) is the number of individual people who have engaged with your Page in a way that it created a “Story” that went out into the Newsfeed.

Why both? To get the big picture I needed more than one factor of “viewing”. Many articles have discussed the “error” in the reach count on Facebook. One article (which I cannot find again unfortunately) explained the reach count similar to that our the billboard. 100,000 cars may drive by this billboard but that doesn’t mean all 100,000 people saw it. The reach count tells us the traffic, was it rush hour or was it 2am? Looking at all these factors helps show not only what posts are getting the most traffic, but which ones are catching your readers attention AND which ones are engaging them enough to create a reaction. 

Although Facebook Insights have helped bring data we didn’t before consider, its complex. You cannot just look at a post and say, “Well we reached 6000 people with a photo post so we should post more photos”.  To get an accurate read you must consider where you reaches came from, did the post engage your users & did they “like” it enough to share? Once you have this data you can accurately (as accurate as Facebook insights allow) see which posts your audience feed off of. (Sounds Zombie-ish…)

Its complex. To get a brief definition of 60+ Facebook Insight terms check out this article

Social Media for libraries

Top 5 Social Media Tools for Promoting Library Services

facebook like unlike

What? Facebook
Why? Reach patrons of multiple ages, mobile accessibility, “Its massive reach provides compelling opportunities to connect with customers, both current and future, through fan pages, news feeds, groups, and throughout the site.” (SEOmoz)
How? Sign up for a group page (not a profile), designate the information that will be posted for your users and others to see and start posting. Posts about common topics, new ideas you want to implement. Using Facebook in this manner allows Libraries to get feedback in the easier way possible and directly from their users.
twitter icon
What? Twitter
Why? Networking in real time. A new tool to become personal with your users. Tweets are limited to 160 characters, requires tweets of significance and informational. IE “SJSU library closed Oct. 8 Columbus day!” (39 characters)
How? Sign up for a twitter account begin adding followers and following others. Read Musings about librarianship on how Twitter can help your library.
YouTube Icon
What? YouTube
Why? Video promotion
How? Video Blogs – have staff record book reviews of latest books, add a library tour and introduce your staff, invite participation from patrons “What is your favorite book?” and compile them into a video. Video Tours are very effective and allow users to get a feel for your library before they go, you can also put up tutorials on how to use your system. You can also use YouTube as a form of education videos, how many tutorials can you find on YouTube? Millions! I’m sure you can even find one on using YouTube in your Library.
What? Wikipedia
Why? Wikipedia offers a place to build guides for users. Wikis are a great way to keep on top of all the new services or updates happening in the library  

How? Create a Wiki (make sure to have an easy access link to the page) where Library staff can update changes to the library. You can also create a Wiki that patrons can access and add recommendations or even services that maybe a staff member did not think of. 

What? Good-reads
Why? What better way to promote an RA (Readers Advisory) with Good-reads.
How? Visit the link and start adding books and reviews. Good-reads provides a way for patrons to see what the staff is reading and get recommendations and reviews. This tool in itself is a RA service, not just one to help promote your own library services.
-NimbleLibrarianRecommended Reads:

Breeding, M. (2009). Social networking strategies for professionals. Computers in Libraries, 29(9), 29-31
Fichter, D. , & Avery, C. (2012). Tools of influence: Strategic use of social media. Online, 36(4), 58-60.

Step-by-Step Guide to Your Social Media Success
Avoid These 4 Common Social Media Mistakes – Joseph Ruiz

Being Successful as an Online Student

A key thing to remember is that to be successful as any student is to be organized. Have a calendar and schedule time blocks and give yourself room for error. Life doesn’t always happen the way we want and we should plan for that. If I know a project will take me 2 hours to complete I will plan 3 hours to complete it. I find this to be super helpful, so if I finish it without interruptions I have extra time, but if something came up that did not permit me to finish it on my timeline I know I still have a small window, sometimes large window, to finish it on the instructors time line.

I have been always been an organized person, especially in my studies. I love to have time lines, my time management skills are super important to me. I enjoy sitting down and plotting out how and when I will complete certain tasks and how long it will take me. I recommend setting aside a day of the week (I use Sunday) to plan out school assignments for that week. I add all my MAJOR deadlines  in at the beginning of the semester so I see them before I plan something over them.

When I started this program I already had my Master’s planned out to how many credits I will take a semester, what I will need to have saved to pay for it (in the case I do not get any scholarships) what classes I plan on taking, as long as they do not change the scheduling that is already posted and when my projected graduation date is. I love having this mapped out for me it gives me a sense of not only control but of relief knowing I have a plan.

As a student you will collaborate with others; it is important that you are open about your ideas and your concerns.
I loved what Ken Haycock expressed on conflicts and confronting issues, Don’t talk about an issue you won’t put on the table to respectfully go over. To me that is like asking a question you don’t want an answer to.

I don’t mind working in teams but I also love working on my own, its easier. However, if you have a successful team you can achieve tasks much greater in a shorter amount of time as a team and like I said before I love managing my time and know where it is being spent and on what, so effective teams win my heart over individual work.

As Enid Irwin said, “Team work IS planning and communication and a process.”
I loath pointless meetings, if we are going to get our team together in one spot and one time we need to be productive of the time use. Having a meeting is teamwork, bring something to the table every time, don’t come empty handed or that is how you will leave.

Keeping Track of Resources

As you work your way through courses you will come across so many fantastic resources you just won’t know what to do with them. A great way to keep these resources manageable is the use of a browse folder or bookmarks. Unfortunately, we all use different browsers and sometimes we access material on computers with only certain browsers.

My answer to this is: Diigo

What can I do with Diigo?

  • you can bookmark pages and add personalized tags
  • you can highlight pages and save them
  • you can share your bookmarks
  • you can categorize them
  • you can add notes to links, pages, posts, and many other resources
  • webpages are archived so you can still view it later even if the original link is now broken

Get it Diigo now!

How’s your Time Management?

silver stop watch clock with the image of a business man running

Being an online student means you MUST learn to manage your time effectively. As an online student you aren’t confined to attending a physical location for a set day and time and that’s fantastic (for most). It is also the gateway to true procrastination. Unless it is physically in our face humiliating us for showing up late to a lecture it’s easy to ignore.

Vicki Steiner, Libr203 professor, shared a fantastic link to a Time Management Toolkit, from MindTools, which includes a Time Management Quiz.

Take the quiz, see how you are doing.  

Getting sponsored to attend a professional conference

Attending a professional conferences is something all Library students should work towards. Sometimes the conferences can cost a hefty price, fortunately as students you get huge discounts on memberships and with memberships you get discounts on conferences. Did you know that SJSU SLIS pays for your choice of the following professional associations (ALA, SLA, ASIST, ARMA international) Read about it here

Also,  plenty of counties, companies & professional associations love to sponsor some lucky individual (often a student) to attend these conferences. 

The San Diego Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA-SD) is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for its 2014 scholarship. The scholarship is $1000 plus a one-year student membership in SLA-SD. (APPPLY HERE)


Meet Whitni: Peer Mentor for Libr203

I have created a quick PPT show, based on the bing homepage, except its all about me. 🙂 Introduction

I am an Arizona girl who lives in Southern California but longs to live in Vermont or head back to Virginia. I am almost finished with my MLIS and I have enjoyed the program greatly.


5 facts about me you didn’t know

1. I’m an avid soccer player

2. I have 3 blogs & over 15+ social media platform memberships

3. I love almost any chocolate candy bar frozen (Reese’s, Twix, Snickers, Butterfinger, etc)

4. I’m a fan of obnoxious print pants but don’t own a pair

5. At any given time I’m likely to have 5-7 tabs open on my browser