Chinese Canadian Library Weblog – first meeting

by Jing Liu ~ May 27th, 2006. Filed under: News & Announcement.

The minutes and the group photo are posted. Please click to view.Group.jpg

Theme: Chinese Canadian Library Weblog – first meeting
Meeting: Asian Library Seminar Room 506
Time: May 20, 2006 3-6 pm
Attendance: Beibei Zhang, Jan Fu, Heather Cai, Henian E, Ian Song, Jian Wang, Linda Yan, Mindy Tong, Qi Huang, Xiaomeng Zhang, Ying Zhang, Lei Zhu, Lili Wang, Lei Zhang, Yuan Sun, Karen Sun
Chair: Jing Liu
Minutes: Zhang Ying
Regrets: Ping He, Lucy Zhang, Qiong Yang, Shumin Wang

Agenda Items:
· Self-introduction, 2-3 minutes each
· Job search
· Chinese Librarianship and beyond, for not all of our work is related to China or Chinese
· Professional development: affiliations, conferences, workshops, new technology, etc.
· Special projects
· The following folks may speak on the following topics:
·· Linda, on professional development and toastmaster
·· Ian, on Multicultural Canada and digitization
·· Lei, on Chinese patent search
·· Ying, on VANOC
·· Beibei, on Chinese programs at VPL?
·· Jan, on what library employers are looking for?

1. Working in a public library is, to some extent, more challenging than working in an academic or special library.

Beibei: Working at the reference desk is quite challenging; you are serving different patrons with different questions everyday. It’s important to read English books, newspapers, book reviews and to get to know more about the bestsellers and well-known writers.

Jan: Patrons who use the services in a public library are diversified. Sometimes you may need to help patrons with disabilities. Reference and information service to patrons with disabilities should be equivalent to the service offered to patrons in general. Patrons with disabilities may require additional assistance according to the dictates of their particular disability; for example, patrons with mental health problems or drug additions may not be able to articulate themselves well, in such circumstances, effective communication is the key to a successful reference transaction. Listen and re-phrase, ask for clarification if you are not sure if you understand the question, and be sensitive to patrons’ disabilities and limitations, but at the same time remember to deal with them as individuals and in a professional way.

Henry: Working at the reference desk is quite challenging, as we were not brought up in this culture. When in SLAIS, one should not only be focused on the courses, but also pay more attention to the cultural aspects and amass culture-related knowledge.

Jan: Be aware of what is going on outside your library school. Read newspapers, watch news on TV, and even be aware of what shows are popular now.

Ian: Making patrons happy and making proper referrals are more important than providing the exact answers to the questions. When working at the reference desk, try to make the patrons flow if there is a line up and don’t let one question get stuck there.

2. Some of the barriers Chinese librarians meet and the ways to cope with them.

Jan: I think two biggest barriers are: language and culture. For the first barrier, we should pay attention to fluency and accent. For the second barrier, we should be sensitive to the cultural difference and try to adapt to the environment. Take initiative to talk and network with your native speaker colleagues and get used to communicating in English even with your Chinese-speaking classmates or colleagues.

Jing: Observe what others do and how they behave in the working environment. Try to cultivate awareness and sense. It takes time.

Jan: Be sensitive to cultural differences as we are dealing with a majority of patrons from Western culture and in a multicultural environment.

3. How to deal with unfair treatment or conflicts in the working environment?

Jing: Calm down when being treated unfairly and there will surely be fair judgment in the end. Pay attention to the ways of expressing yourself.

Henry: One should have one’s own principles and fight for one’s own right. Speak out your minds but at the same time don’t easily get excited and act on impulse.

Ian: Discrimination does exist between cultures, seniority, and etc. Linda has been very supportive to many of us. We need a support group and learn about the right procedures and channels to voice up.

Jan: If such unfair treatment or conflict happens during your shift working at a branch, talk to the branch head and tell him/her your thoughts. Tell the branch head that you prefer he/she talk to you first before the issue(s) are brought to a higher level of authority.

4. Professional development

Jing: Every step is important. Start to pave the career path from SLAIS, and all student work.

Linda: Enjoy the Toastmaster program and learned a great deal. It is not just about public speaking. Communications skills are a whole package. Everyone can work to improve his/her skills. In additional to communication skills, at Toastmasters, you learn to organize meetings and chair meetings. You also learn the skills to mentor, coach and to evaluate others. Our future meeting should follow the standard meeting protocols. Set an agenda first, and then follow the agenda. All non-agenda items go to the Round Table at the end. Meetings should finish on time.

There are Toastmasters clubs everywhere in the world. The fee is only about $75 a year. Many organizations and/or companies reimburse the fee for “Professional Development”. Meetings are run weekly. Members are free to switch to a different club more suitable to individual’s needs.

5. Discussion on an association and blog

Not sure if the members can commit to and benefit from a registered association. We will start with the Blog. Blog is a good tool to share information, should be better organized and classified. Zhu Lei has made copies of how-to blog and distributed to interested people.

5 Responses to Chinese Canadian Library Weblog – first meeting

  1.   Mindy

    Hi Lei,

    I couldn’t find the photo. Where did it hide? Sorry for my blindness 🙂

  2.   Mindy

    Oops, I guess I was just not patient enough. Now I can see it. Thanks, Lei.

  3.   Lei

    Hi Mindy. It took me a few more minutes to re-size the photo. Sorry for the delay. Enjoy it.

  4.   Jing

    Thanks Lei for the posting. Some attendees left before we took the group photo. I have some individual photos too if you are interested, but won’t be posted here.

  5.   Heather

    A milestone, isn’t it? Perhaps we should frame the photo.

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