13 Resources to Help You Make the Most of the Workday

It’s that time of year when we all start to think about being more productive and organizing our work lives. I’ve identified 19 excellent resources which will help you do just that.

  1. 16 Things You Should Do At The Start Of Every Work Day – Excellent article from the Leadership section of Forbes.com
  2. Being Effective at Work: Essential Traits and Skills – The Mind Tools website has put together a guide chock full of great tips for better time management.
  3. 50 Ways To Increase Your Productivity – Lifehack not only has some great tips here, but also lists several websites to which you can outsource your more mundane tasks.
  4. How to Be More Efficient at Work – WikiHow has a tutorial for increasing productivity that’s been viewed nearly 60,000 times.

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What Happens if Your Library Systems Go Down?



We’ve done a lot of planning and preparing and organizing in our library since Hurricane Sandy hit NYC to ensure that we would have business continuity in case of another such disaster. We’ve designed a disaster recovery plan, put backups into place, etc. But what if it’s not a full-blown disaster? What if the IT staff are away on vacation or off-site at a meeting and the server, website, or electronic resources go down? Does the rest of your staff know what to do?

This is a situation that has come up a few times in our library and we realized that there are two major considerations to address; putting a troubleshooting response protocol into place so that all staff are informed and know what to do in such a situation, and instituting a PR response protocol to guide what and when to share about outages on social media, listservs, etc.

Toubleshooting Response Protocol

No library is immune to outages so it’s important to let your entire staff know that it is a very real possibility that you may experience unplanned downtime at some point in the future and that there’s a clear plan in place for that occurance.

  • Tell Staff Who To Notify – The best way to ensure that your systems get fixed is to inform staff about who they should notify in case they do go down. This list of who to notify should specify several people in order of notification, so that if one is away/unreachable, they can attempt to contact the next person.
  • Give an Overview of How Things Work – In our library, different systems are handled by different people and providers. For example, our website is hosted by one company while our network is monitored by another, and our databases by others. It’s helpful to let staff know about this so that they can determine which company to contact in case of an outage, even if IT isn’t readily at hand.
  • Provide a Plan for Continuity – If your servers go down and you’re hosting Outlook in-house, how can staff get their email? Is there a cloud backup service you’ve put into place? If so, does staff need to set up accounts beforehand? How will staff access their documents if your network server is down? Again, are you using an online service such as iBackup that they have access to? If so, let them know ahead of time how to get into it. We recently rolled out Microsoft Office 2013 which allows users to save their documents to their hard drive, but also to a cloud-based OneDrive storage app. You may encourage your staff to save copies of heavily accessed files to this space as well.
  • Have a Print Copy of the Plan – If you’ve posted this information on your intranet or sent it via email and your network or internet service is down, no one will know what to do. Always have a hard copy of the plan in the office where staff can access it.


PR Response Protocol

Read the full post What Happens if Your Library Systems Go Down? on OEDB.org.

How to Create Library (or any other) Floor Plans

One of my most recent projects in my library involves managing contractors to completely re-wire our floor with network cables. In order to make this easier we attempted to locate a floor plan of the library’s main floor to use for marking up where we wanted the cable to go. But we could only find a poster-sized building plan with little detail. So I decided to create one myself to have on hand, and I can see many other uses for it beyond this such as when we’re moving stacks, to plan renovations, etc.

The best software program I know for creating floor plans is Microsoft Visio. Although I didn’t have it installed, I was able to download a free 60-day trial, and I understand that libraries, educational institutions, and non-profits can get a full license for a fraction of the list cost. Visio allows you to drag and drop shapes onto a canvas to create maps, floor plans, and many other diagrams used in information architecture, network planning, etc.


I hadn’t used the software to design floor plans for years, but the features haven’t changed and it was quite easy to pick up again. I successfully had a floor plan made within an hour before the contractor came to do the walk-through! A resource that helped me was a workshop that I actually designed back in 2005 on how to create maps and floor plans with Microsoft Visio and make them interactive. Although the course is old, the Visio features remain the same. If anyone would like to learn how to create floor plans, they are welcome to download the course. I’ve put all the materials in a shared folder on box.net here: https://app.box.com/shared/9pbrhfprjb

And the accompanying Visio drawings may be downloaded here: http://ellyssakroski.com//Visio_diagrams.zip

Read the full post How to Create Library (or any other) Floor Plans on OEDB.org.