Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What Is Management? - By Marriah Kowalchuk

     To be a manager much is involved, there are pros and cons and things that need to be done such as mastering basic skills such as: organization, people skills, and leadership. To be a manager you need to be able to peaceable and to be a people person or at least be able to work with people, helping them, listening to them, encouraging them, and guiding them. You need to be positive about your work and your employees, for what they see you do and what you say, they as well will do to.

     As manager you need to treat your employees with respect, treat everyone fairly and grant them more responsibility when jobs are done well, this makes them feel worthy and wanting to please and do more. Make sure that your employees have confidence and trust in you as there manager and teacher. Do not talk down to your employees like they aren’t important, and don’t threaten them or use fear to make them do what you want. Be sensitive to their needs and feelings and self worth. Make sure to inspire, and have a good working friendly environment, and help everyone reach their goals.

     Get your employees energized, get them excited and inspired on their work. Empower your employees and make an extra effort as their manager. Work together with your employees, no one can work alone and succeed all on their own. Make sure to support your team, managers to must be the teachers, coaches, colleagues, cheerleaders, and advocates for their staff.

     Be open about the business with all involved, create trust with one another. Make sure to communicate for communication is a vital key for being manager. Let it be known the expectations and goals for the business. As manager it is also your responsibility to praise and give commendation for good work that is done, even with the simple things for it enforces everyone to work harder, it is also your job to enforce discipline and give needed counsel.

     Remember to look at yourself as manager and see what you could work on. Make sure that your business is organized for if you or the business is not, at some point it will all fail. Keep on working, everything is a work in progress, everything can always get better. Work on reachable goals for each employee and as a team. Create plans to reach those goals, have confidence that they can get reached and create excitement about it.

     Goals are always needed, they provide a direction to go in, they show and tell how far you have traveled and what has been accomplished, they make overall visions attainable, they clarify every ones role, and gives everyone something to strive for. Have SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

     Encourage employees, know what they need and want from you. Employees need you too; help them learn, to be flexible, praise them, and put out the effort. As a team do a SWOT analysis considering (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), then work on and build on the strengths, eliminate the weaknesses, recognize and use the advantage of opportunities, minimize and eliminate threats.

     As a manager know your market, become familiar with customers buying habits, and things that cause those habits to change, know why customers are loyal to their suppliers and would cause them to change that loyalty to a different supplier. As a manager don’t lower you management skills or your team just because everyone else is doing it, use the way that is productive and works for you.

     You need to as a manager recognize and accept your responsibilities. Face up to your obligations and actions, and work compatibly with others. Use your communication skills, people will not respond well if you are unpleasant, unkind, cold and are distant. Be comfortable talking, don’t make things awkward.  Make sure be committed to your work, keeping up to date on schedules and plans and regularly letting everyone know of any changes or updates.

     As a manager you need to be there for your team and employees. Make sure to be accessible at all times, by email and/or phone. Take time to make sure your employees know you are there for them.  For being a good communicator and manager you need to be good at the different forms of communication such as (1. Listening - 2. Speaking - 3. Writing - 4. Reading)

     As a manager you need to learn to be flexible, for you, the business and your employees. If you have to manage from a distance make sure that you make time for people, schedule time to talk with your employees, make sure that you communicate with your employees and let them know they can contact you without hesitation.

     Nothing is ever perfect so make sure you know the risks that are involved or could develop within your business. As a team write a list of every pro and con, the risks, the problems, the solutions and the back up plans. Be prepared and ready, and know what to do if anything ever goes wrong and why. Things are always on the move and are always changing keep up to date on such changes and be ready to change with them.

     In your business use technology to your advantage, use the internet as a marketing tool, enhance the image of your business, to discover potential suppliers, customers, product and service outlets, and providing up to date information on your products, pricing and services.

     Here are very essentials to be a manager whether you are new or just refreshing your mind to know what’s involved. It a work in progress always and improvement is always a good choice.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Computer maintenance and static electricity.

It's really cold. My mom in Mississippi says the pond near her home is frozen. It was 7 degrees (F). The ducks are totally confused because there's no place to swim, and the cats seem to be purposely learning to slide on the ice.

Along with the cold often come static electricity problems which causes a lot of computer deaths this time of year. To stop the static put a little diluted fabric softener in a spray bottle and lightly spray the carpeting around the computer. Repeat every two weeks during winter. from reader's digest

Did you know your desktop computer (including the self-check system) has a battery that needs to be replaced every three to four years? If the computer is a Dell, it likely has a 3-volt lithium coin cell battery type: CR2032. You can obtain a replacement battery for your self-checkout computer from HPCS Library Services (for free if the system is under our maintenance program). You can also pick it up from any store that sells electronics including Wal-Mart.

Before you change the battery, please make sure to take preventative measures against static electricity. Take the computer to an uncarpeted area, and if possible use a static discharge wrist-band.

Changing the battery in a computer can be daunting. If you are not comfortable with opening the computer and removing components to expose the battery, there is no shame in taking the computer to an electronics store to have some "Geeks" do the job for you. Again, for our self-checkout customers HPCS will pay a reasonable fee to have this done.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, August 16, 2013


Hello again. This week I went to the PNLA conference in Boise. I must say I enjoyed it. Well done you conference organizers! As usual I asked the attendees what new things they are going to take home and use. One commonly cited theme was improved signage. Here is a librarian who stopped by and agreed to have her picture taken at our HPCS booth.

Thanks E.J.
Here's the scanner used with our self-check. A few folks noticed the signage (false barcode) on the metal base plate. It says "Step 1 - place your library card here" in English and Spanish. They wanted to know if they could buy that, meaning just the scanner with that stand. "Of course" I said and took their names.
Here's me. Do I really look like that?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to plan space for a small self-checkout system

When planning space for a self-checkout system there are two things to consider: Height and Workspace. For the system to be accessible by children, wheelchair users, and short folks I would suggest using a table or shelf about 30 inches or a little higher above the floor.
As for workspace, it needs to provide the patron with a comfortable area to set down their items. The sample cabinet below is about 32 inches wide and 2 feet deep. This also allows room for future peripherals such as an RFID pad antenna.

Comments and inquiries are always appreciated. contact page

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Introduction: Makerspaces is a library buzzword to describe an area in the library set aside for learning some hands-on skills. They can be technical skills such as building robots or a bit more earthy like learning to tie dye tee-shirts.

Thinking about makerspaces makes me think of my Dad's awesome work shop. (He passed away last summer.) As a child growing up in Rhode Island, I knew my Dad could build anything! He had very little formal education but was a good reader and became an expert with all things mechanical and electronic. A lot of his learning came from working at Cottrell's in the 1960s, building printing presses.

As a young boy it was such fun watching my Dad work on things in his shop. There was always some project that required some work on the bench. When I was five he would let me hold the solder and push it onto the circuit board as he applied the heat. So naturally today I love electronics and it's a major part of my work.

I think I'll try to set up my own makerspace at home so I can work with my daughter to make an Arduino controlled robot, with blinking LEDs for eyes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Attending WLA-OLA Vancouver WA

Pictured: Carol McGeehon of the Douglas County Library stopped in to see us.

Well this week Roy and I are attending the combined WLA and OLA conference in Vancouver, WA. It's been beautiful weather. The conference at the Hilton is being well managed. The free wifi is working great, which is pretty impressive considering the large number of folks using it.

We spoke to a manager for a consortium of 75 libraries. It was interesting to hear her account of trying to keep the Linux/Postgresql servers responsive under such a large load. They are hoping to improve responsiveness by adding solid state drives and more memory.

more later...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Attending the MLA Conference

(This is a picture we took on our way back home)

This week we attended the Montana Library Association (MLA) conference in Missoula. We had a wonderful time. We met Jim Semmelroth, Brett Fisher, Allen Seelye and many other hardworking volunteers who made all the technical stuff work so efficiently! It was a wonderful conference. I was glad to see that electricity and good quality wifi was made available to exhibitors without extra cost!

We took some pictures, but they are on Chaney's smartfone. (Chaney is the wife of my partner Roy Hicks.) I hope to add them to this post later.

We met many of the hardworking librarians who take seriously their service to small rural community libraries. Many of these wonderful people serve communities of less than 2000 people, and some work at school libraries with just a couple hundred students. Most are connected to the Montana state catalog in Helena. The state catalog is a consortium with an IBM AIX work-horse super-powerful computer system running Sirsi-Dynix software.

Well this coming week we will attend another conference in Vancouver Washington. I am kind of excited about it.