Thursday, March 30, 2017

Variations on a Theme: Conference Reading

This month's Variations on a Theme is a bit different. I am not going to share a list of books focused on one theme or topic. Instead, I want to share all the books I've added to my reading list from the Computers in Libraries conference. The conference just wrapped up, but it always seems to leave me with some fun homework. These titles were either mentioned by the conference's speakers or were authored by speakers. If you like keeping up with discussions in the library world, I recommend adding a few to these to your TBR pile as well.


BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google
John Palfrey

Libraries today are more important than ever. More than just book repositories, libraries can become bulwarks against some of the most crucial challenges of our age: unequal access to education, jobs, and information. In BiblioTech, educator and technology expert John Palfrey argues that anyone seeking to participate in the 21st century needs to understand how to find and use the vast stores of information available online. And libraries, which play a crucial role in making these skills and information available, are at risk. In order to survive our rapidly modernizing world and dwindling government funding, libraries must make the transition to a digital future as soon as possible—by digitizing print material and ensuring that born-digital material is publicly available online. Not all of these changes will be easy for libraries to implement. But as Palfrey boldly argues, these modifications are vital if we hope to save libraries and, through them, the American democratic ideal.

Carol S. Dweck

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with agrowth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment. In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

Kathryn Dilworth and Laura Sloop Henzi

Successful Fundraising for the Academic Library: Philanthropy in Higher Education covers fundraising, a task that is often grouped into a combination role that may include, for example, the university museum or performance venue, thus diluting the opportunity for successful fundraising. Because the traditional model for higher education fundraising entails the cultivation of alumni from specific departments and colleges, the library is traditionally left out, often becoming a low-performing development area with smaller appropriations for fundraising positions. Most higher education development professionals consider the library fundraising position a stepping stone into another position with higher pay and more potential for professional advancement down the road rather than as a focus for their career. However, for universities that invest in development professionals who know how to leverage the mission of libraries to the larger alumni and friend community, the results include innovative and successful approaches to messaging that resonates with donors. This book provides information that applies to all fundraising professionals and academic leaders looking to strengthen their programs with philanthropic support, even those beyond university libraries.

David Folmar

Using game thinking and game mechanics in non-game settings to promote engagement and learning is a new trend in both business and education sectors. Savvy marketers are gamifying their efforts by offering customers loyalty badges, check-in incentives, and achievement rewards and clever employers are leveraging this new trend to gamify their training and innovation processes. Discover how you can use game design techniques to involve patrons and motivate staff in your library. This primer will walk you through incorporating game thinking into bibliographic instruction, staff training, the online catalog, and more. Learn how to gamify the library experience.

David Lee King

Presenting a practical guide for any organization that aspires to create direct, deep, rewarding relationships with its patrons and prospects, social media expert David Lee King goes beyond Facebook and Twitter to demonstrate how a range of Web 2.0 tools and techniques can be used to start and sustain conversations and humanize the organization in the eyes of those it seeks to serve. Suggesting myriad ways to connect with customers using photos and video, communities and networks, and specific tools such as blogs and location services, King uses real-world examples to illustrate the dos and don’ts of using social media. The book covers topics including responding to criticism, listening to consumers, creating an approachable tone, and designing a human-centered site, as well as explaining all the critical components of any effective customer-engagement strategy.

Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman

Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking. Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of "networked individualism" liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the "triple revolution" that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.

J.C. Spender and Bruce A. Strong

Most organizations fail to take full advantage of their employees' knowledge, initiative, and imagination. In this accessible and practical book, J.-C. Spender and Bruce Strong provide a guide for building entrepreneurial workforces through carefully designed conversations between management and employees. These 'strategic conversations' make employees partners in the strategy development process, engaging them to help shape the organization's future. The result is transformational: instead of strategy being a dry, periodic planning exercise for the few, it becomes a dynamic and continuous act of co-creation enriched by the many. Case studies illustrate how leading organizations have used strategic conversations to build sustained competitive advantage, create innovative business models, make better decisions under uncertainty, reduce the need for change management, and enhance employee engagement. The book will appeal to managers, entrepreneurs of all stripes, and teachers and students in schools of business and public administration.

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