LOEX Conference Proceedings 2011

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Every time a librarian conducts a reference interview, does research for a patron, teaches a workshop or bibliographic instruction session, that librarian is modeling good problem solving skills. When the same librarian is faced with the challenge of a micromanager, a coworker who is a trouble maker, or team workers who are not working, immobility sets in. These problems seem insurmountable. The same discipline and strong learning skills that propelled the librarian through graduate school, the good written and oral presentation abilities, and the critical thinking demonstrated every time librarians answer a question, are still there. Librarians are just little reluctant to flex these problem-solving muscles outside of their comfort zone.

There are numerous problem-solving strategies that can be applied and the key to success is to apply one, any one. Approaching challenges in a calm, objective manner will allow librarians to employ their analytical, resourceful thinking to the development of solutions. The steps to problem-solving involve recognizing there is a problem, defining the problem, breaking it apart into components or factors, determining who is impacted, establishing a dialogue with those stakeholders, brainstorming potential solutions, and then securing involvement in change and participation toward a solution and implementation, even if steps are small.

This presentation will provide examples of several problem-solving techniques that could be applied. Problem-solving frameworks will be discussed and worksheets with multiple choice problems and solutions will be reviewed. Problem scenarios will be presented and practical problem-solving techniques will be demonstrated.