Category Archives: Communication

Episode 303: Hiring and Staffing

Now Hiring

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(Note: Lady Grey was in-house while we recorded this episode; so the parts that sound particularly great may have been influenced by her calming presence!)

Welcome to another episode of Linking Our Libraries! This week our Guest Host is Carla Lydon, director of the East Central Library System here in Minnesota.

If you like libraries, archives, or history centers; or if you work in a nonprofit; or if you just want to learn more about management and leadership, you are in the right place!

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and our job is to help libraries! We are a multitype library system, with member libraries of all sorts: public, schools, academics, special libraries, archives, and history centers. Yes – we are pretty lucky!

This season we are looking at a variety of topics related to management and leadership. Our focus is on libraries, but our topics are relevant to all types of nonprofits working to improve their leadership skills.

Do you want to talk with us about a topic? Want us to set up some training for you? Check out our website under “Can We Help You?” and let’s talk!

First we are going to look at a somewhat idealized hiring process. Every library varies in how they are able to hire: some have no input and a new person is just plopped into the library, some have complete freedom to structure their hiring as they want. Hopefully, the steps we look at today will happen, at some level!

One of the most important things a manager can do for an organization is to hire well. You need good staff to have a well-functioning organization, and a bad hire – one that brings in an unskilled, unmotivated person, or person who spends time complaining, giving bad customer service, or just doing poor work – can throw the whole place into chaos. The cost of a bad hire can be very high, and this problem can be very difficult to fix. A good hire will do good work, and add to the positive organizational environment you want to build!

Hiring and staffing are extremely important challenges any library needs to face; and making good decisions, bringing in good people, and getting them deployed to best serve the mission of the library are crucial! It is tough to do, but if you have questions you can always check in with us here at!

Tune in next Thursday for our next episode of Linking Our Libraries, where we keep going with our discussion of management and leadership topics.

Do you need more books in your life? Sure you do! Subscribe to our Books and Beverages book group podcast. Each week we look at a different genre, chat with our guests about their book suggestions, and sip our beverages. It is always good to find a new book!


It’s Library Legislative Day! We’re Ready!!

Holiday Cookie Tray

If you didn’t already know that we are really excited about libraries, and love to talk about them, then: Hello! Welcome to your very first day with CMLE!! We’re into libraries here, and we hope you are too!

The Minnesota Library Association (MLA) organizes Library Legislative Day each year. This year, it is Tuesday, March 6.

Check out this MLA/ITEM Legislative Legwork Committee site – new this year with a TON of great info!! If you have ever wanted to know even the smallest detail of what it’s like to go to Legislative Day (spoiler: it’s fun!), it is here!

If you would like to attend Legislative Day, CMLE members can apply for scholarships to cover the costs of finding a sub, traveling, or other costs associated with your attendance.  We will give you a scholarship for this event, even if you have already received one this year or are planning to attend something else. Legislative Day is important to libraries, and we want to support you in attending!

BUT!!!!  AND!!!!

What if you can’t make it to this very good event? No worries – the MLA/ITEM site has you covered there too!

There is a bunch of information about being part of Virtual Library Legislative Day activities! You can participate all week long, from your desk, at night after the kids go to sleep, in the morning while you wait for coffee to brew – whenever is best for you!

CMLE knows we have members who are not able to attend, but want to advocate for their libraries and for their library systems. We will host an in-person event at our Headquarters on Tuesday, March 6. From 9:00 to 3:00 that day we will be in our Headquarters (570 1st Street SE – next door to Target), advocating for libraries. Join us!!

  • We will provide postcards, a computer, a phone, pens – all the tools for communication.
  • We will have information on the 2018 MLA/ITEM Legislative Platform and the 2018 Key Messages.
  • We will have email and physical addresses of legislators.
  • We may possibly also have Lady Grey in house, to provide support and encouragement. (She’s a big library supporter!)

What will happen?

  • Send an email to your legislator. Get a cookie.
  • Call to support one of the bills. Get a cookie.
  • Tweet to legislators. Get a cookie.
  • Write out a postcard to a stakeholder for us to mail. Get a cookie.

You are seeing how this works, right?? We are unashamedly buying your library advocacy efforts in the hopes that you will get some experience in quickly sharing the message of “Yay Libraries!” with stakeholders – and that  you feel comfortable doing so!! Advocacy is just telling people about libraries; and really – that’s always fun!

(Note: there will be other rewards for people who are not currently eating cookies, and want to support libraries. We support your healthy choices!)

People like libraries. They (generally) want to help us! It’s just our job to tell them what we need.


Be sure that MLA and ITEM know you are on the job and ready to advocate! Whether you go to the in-person event (it’s really fun!!!!!), or attend the CMLE Virtual Event, or participate virtually on your own – numbers matter. Let everyone know that you are ready to support libraries in Minnesota!!


Valentine's Day plain M&Ms (8416943187)
Well, you probably already know that we love libraries. Pretty much, we are all about the coolness and awesomeness of libraries! (Technically, that’s essentially a job description for us; but it would be true no matter what!)

So each weekday in February, we have been sharing an interesting program from a randomly selected library across Minnesota. You can find all of them on social media at #LoveYourMNLibrary, and definitely add in some good things about your own library!!

Here are just a few of the facts we found about Minnesota libraries:

  • We love libraries! Each day in Feb, we will share a fun library fact about a MN public library doing something amazing. We have a list of all of them, and will randomly draw names to share. Chime in to share other lovely facts using #LoveYourMNLibrary ! #LibraryLoversMonth
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Today we celebrate the excitement of Super (Science!) Saturday happening at the Zumbrota Public Library! Bottles + Balloons – you know that’s going to be so fun!!
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Connecting to your community is great! The Owatonna Public Library is hosting a #CaptureOwatonna Photo Contest – with winning photos displayed in the library! Great work @owatonnalibrary!
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Book groups are always fun! And the  Gilbert Public Library will have the next meeting of their Cookbook Club Tue Feb 20!  Cookbooks are always fun, and can stimulate good discussion! Does your book group talk cookbooks?
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Are you ready to make some valentines? The Foley Public Library is hosting a Valentine’s Day Make and Take program for kids!! Go, take a kid, and make some nice cards to give to your favorite library staffer! Yay @GRiverLibrary
  • #LoveYourMNLibrary Have you visited the Hopkins branch of the Hennepin County Public Library yet?? In addition to other cool stuff, they have a searchable database of art in the library! Great work, @hclib!

It is a good idea to take a moment to step back and realize just how awesome libraries are – and how truly valuable we are to the communities we are serving! In the bustle of everyday work, it can be too easy to forget that.

Celebrate the love-filled month of February online with the #LoveYourMNLibrary  #LibraryLoversMonth messages!!

Spotlight Library News Story: Ransomware in Spartanburg!


We have talked about the dangers of ransomware in prior articles. (See: Ransomware hits St. Louis Public Library and The Best Ransomware Protection of 2017) And here we are again, with another library being hit by a ransomware demand.

Check out the excerpt of this story below, read the entire thing, and then look around your library to see what you can do to help protect your library from ransomware attacks!! Don’t gamble on losing all your online information to thieves; take a few steps now to protect your library.

Spartanburg public library computer system hit by ransomware

“Users of Spartanburg County Public Libraries were unable to check out or return books for a second day Tuesday after a ransomware attack sent out by cybercriminals shut down the library system’s computer network and website.

County Librarian Todd Stephens said technicians were working on the problem and had no idea when services and access to the online catalog will be restored, although the main library and all 10 branches remain open.

“Somebody has taken hostage the public’s library data,” he said. “We just don’t know the extent of the damage at this point. We are going to be down for an uncertain amount of time until our guys slowly bring everything up.”

Stephens said he immediately notified the library board of trustees and Spartanburg County administration. He said he hasn’t yet contacted law enforcement.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Monday, a library Internet technician noticed suspicious activity, Stephens said.

“When he engaged, he received notification that our system was hit with a ransomware attack,” Stephens said. “We immediately shut down all computer-related services, including computer use, wireless, checking out and checking in (library materials).”

The attacker demanded payment of 3.6 to 3.8 bitcoins, which Stephens said was estimated to be $36,000 or more.

Stephens said he has no intention of meeting the attacker’s demands.

“We don’t believe it is a data breach, we believe it’s a hostage situation” in exchange for releasing all the library’s computer data — which totals about 740,000 physical and online digital items, he said.

Stephens said the library does not keep on file users’ sensitive information such as Social Security, credit card or driver’s license numbers.

Those who use credit cards to pay library fines have no need to worry because a third party vendor is used, he said.

“We just don’t know the extent of the damage at this point,” Stephens said.

He said the attack is similar to one in December in Mecklenburg County, N.C. An employee opened a malicious “phishing” email and accessed an attached file that triggered the attack. Mecklenburg County officials rejected the demand for 2 bitcoins for the release of the locked data, and eventually restored the data.

Apparently, the Spartanburg library system attacker sent out the virus by email as far back as September, but just recently someone from the public or an employee opened it and triggered the attack, Stephens said.”

(read the rest of this article here!)