ASSOCIATES (vol. 4, no. 2, November 1997) -

Table of Contents

                              reported by
                            Dorothy Morgan
                 Northeast Regional Director for COLT

The first ever fall COLT Conference held September 19, 1997, in New York
was a huge success. Approximately 150 people attended, representing
academic, public, school, special and system libraries.  Library
directors, librarians, personnel department heads, library technical
assistants, library clerks, etc., were all in attendance.
According to the evaluations completed by the conference attendees, the
overall impression of the day was excellent. The speakers, especially,
were ranked highest for knowledge of material and relevance of material.
Some verbal comments and those written on evaluations follow:
"I have been attending workshops for over 14 years and this ranks with
the best."
"Wonderful presentations that I could relate to, the entertainment
quotient of the presenters was absolutely outstanding--very dynamic. I
was very impressed, informed and left with a great deal to take home and
think over.  And most of all, rarely was I bored/distracted (a very
uncommon experience for me)"
"This was excellent!  Let's do more of these one day learning
conferences for support staff..."
"Thank you, thank you for your large part in the conference! It was
great! Just the 'shot in the arm' I needed. Speakers and topics were so
timely and the opportunity to 'network' was valuable. I look forward to
the next conference with anticipation."
"It became an international conference with attendance from four members
of the Executive Board of the Ontario Association of Library Assistants
in Ontario, Canada.  Support staff attended the conference from Maine,
Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, probably from other states that I'm
not aware of yet.  There were library directors and librarians also in
attendance.  The education and networking opportunities were great and I
hope that those who attended feel the same way and will share some of
their stories with the rest of us."
"It was one of the best conferences I ever attended.  The speakers were
excellent; particularly I liked Paul Goggi, the social worker, who spoke
on communication.  Let's hope that we do sometime have standardized
certification across the country, for all who wish to be certified."
The keynote speaker was Margaret Barron, COLT Central Region Director.
Her presentation, "Focus 2000:  the future impact of certification on
Library/Media support staff and libraries," was about the movement
towards certification for all library support staff.  She touched upon
many topics, such as skills that we utilize, but have not been
recognized; praise of local, regional, state, national, and
international support staff organizations; recognition for support
staff at reference desks; and the importance of work experience,
attending workshops, and staff development programs.  She distributed
a survey as part of a study on certification.  She also referred to the
NYS Certificate of Achievement Program, which recognizes education and
experience.  For more information on this program, check out NYSLAA's
Web site: (
The second morning presentation was given by Paul Goggi Jr., MSW, titled
"Communication in the workplace."  Paul is a dynamic speaker and
interacts effectively with the audience.  The points he made were:
-- We should feel a sense of appreciation.
-- He recommended the book:  "7 habits of highly effective people," by
Stephen Covey.
-- He recommended that people develop a mission statement for themselves.
Ask yourself: "why are we doing this?"
-- Remember that You are the common denominator in all your
-- Communication STARTS with ME.
-- Life is difficult, but it's sign of our humanity.
-- Look at truth about self: for example, determine if you are passive,
or hate conflict, or are too sensitive, etc.
-- "FHB":  I am a Fallible Human Being with worth and dignity and so are
-- Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood; don't get
-- Value the difference.
Betsy Elkins, Director of Moon Library at State University of New York
College of Environmental Science and Forestry., gave the first afternoon
presentation.  She spoke about "working together we get the job done".
The role of the employer is to provide direction and a supportive work
environment.  Yearly performance reviews should include mutual goal
setting followed by a continual review of these goals. Job expectations
should be made known and coaching given. The employer should effectively
Betsy referred to years working with student workers, where she gave
guidance, direction, and counseling.  She emphasized how important
communication and listening are.  She referred to the article "Bridging
the Gap" in Library Mosaics.  At her library she explained how regularly
she holds staff meetings and round robins where all library staff share
Individual meetings are held with a focus on mission; what are the
obstacles, workspace, personal goals/vision, etc.?  She suggested having
a blueprint for the future using an outside facilitator if necessary.
The conference ended with a panel of representatives from different types
of libraries talking about how technology is affecting all library staff.
It was emphasized that in all libraries training is essential with so
many changes in the area of technology.  Politics enters the compensation
issue in public libraries.  In the academic library, user assessment
helps to identify skills necessary.  One speaker stressed being a part of
the solution.  She also discussed Voyager implementation and training as
an example.  In the special library, the need to be patient is essential,
especially working with engineers.  These comments were made by a speaker
working in an engineering firm. Her patrons seem to want everything right
now (that sounds familiar in all libraries).  Technology and information
is overwhelming.  The speaker for school libraries talked about distance
learning and that many school libraries are behind in technology due to
funding issues (that also sounds familiar doesn't it?)