Thursday, May 26, 2016

We can start a sentence with 'us' but don't ask us to list our favorite books!

WLA SSCS session attendeesWhen you see 'improv' on a library conference program description, it can be intimidating. But several brave souls on the lovely UW-LaCrosse campus resisted the temptation to bolt and decided to give it a try. And it was fun, wasn't it?! Said one attendee afterwards, who was nervous about her own presentation coming later in the day, "I feel more relaxed, more spontaneous." Following a keynote presentation on building strong teams, we played improv games that help develop some of those characteristics of effective teams: developing trust, a positive and constructive attitude, deep listening, supporting the team, moving beyond conventional thinking and having some fun. Way to go, Wisconsin Library Association Support Staff & Circulation Services Conference attendees! If anyone can start a sentence with the word 'us' under pressure it's these folks. Just please don't ask us to list our favorite books.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fond du Lac: Birthplace of Baroque Philosophy

You had to be there. Fortunately, staff from University of Wisconsin Colleges were there. Staff development day was full of laughs, spontaneous thinking, active listening and the power of stories. Thanks for inviting me and for being such an enthusiastic group!

UWC staff development day

Baroque philosophy is born in Fond du Lac

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Students also engage in some improvising in the library

Image of Students camping out in library during finals weekStudents at UW-Eau Claire take advantage of 24-hour access to McIntyre Library during finals week. They improvise their own campsite -- or should we call it a 'cramsite?' I love that they take ownership of the space and make it their own.

Improv and authentic discussion in the library classroom

Core questions handout imageThanks to The Innovative Library Classroom Conference organizers for the opportunity to present, and the attendees for attending my session. We applied improv techniques to the art and practice of leading meaningful classroom discussions. We talked about how to build trust with your audience (students); structure questions to encourage learning and reflection in students; follow up on initial responses to get students thinking more deeply; and deal with that awkward silence that sometimes happens -- taking into account that in library instruction we often have very little time to work with. Attendees were good sports, volunteering right off the bat to engage in improv activities, and sharing valuable insights throughout. For more on my session, see slides.