AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / July/August 2020 / Volume 24, Number 6

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JULY/AUGUST 2020 | AALL SPECTRUM 15 SHELF LIFE With the volatility of the past several months, what resources have helped you develop new best practices or processes, both professionally and personally? BEST PRACTICES RECS 1 WE DON'T MAKE WIDGETS: OVERCOMING THE MYTHS THAT KEEP GOVERNMENT FROM RADICALLY IMPROVING by Ken Miller (Governing Books, 2006). "When reading about pro- cess improvement, I'm always struck by how the authors think. Typically, the only thing that matters is the widget produced, and the people, methods, and resources are all dynamic and, often, expendable. My knee-jerk reaction, like many in govern- ment and service industries, was wholesale rejection of this knowledge base because it seemed incongruent with what I do. However, I'm a big fan of the concept "everyone can teach you something so as gla to fin the book We Don't Make Widgets. Ken Miller does an excellent job of fitting goernment series into the widget-production model and opening the lessons of process improvement to folks like me. This book has helped me better understand the MBAs in the bget offie an to mae sure the people, methods, and resources aren't thrown out with the bathwater." Joseph D. Lawson; Deputy Director; Harris County Law Library; Houston, TX 2 DEEP WORK: RULES FOR FOCUSED SUCCESS IN A DISTRACTED WORLD by Cal Newport (Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (January 5, 2006). "A resource that helped me develop new practices over the past few months has been Cal Newport's book Deep Work. I was in the process of re-reading this book at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. During the initial weeks of working from home, it was easy to get sucked into email and Slack during the workday, and then move over to 24-hour news and streaming services in the evening. Reading this book again reminded me why it's important, both pro- fessionally and personally, to identify a few areas to focus your efforts on, to be intentional with your time, and to build in time to focus without distractions." Austin Martin Williams; Deputy Director, Law Library; Georgetown Law; Washington, DC 3 A PARADISE BUILT IN HELL: THE EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNITIES THAT ARISE IN DISASTER by Rebecca Solnit (Penguin; reprint edition (August 31, 2010). "I've been enjoying Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell. Drawing on historical cases and the discipline of Disaster Studies, she builds a compelling argu- ment that human altruism and resilience are deeply ingrained and that natural disasters often serve as a catalyst for revealing our best selves, despite wide- spread beliefs to the contrary. Many of us have seen this play out on the small scale of our institutions as priorities sud- denly shifted and we had to rapidly adjust to new expecta- tions. While this has been very stressful, it has also revealed a lot of ingenity eibility an generosity n a more speifi- cally relevant level, I would also recommend an AALL webinar from April 2020 titled "Effective Leadership with Virtual Teams: o nfinity an eyon hih provides excellent suggestions for improving communication among dispersed teams." Andrew W. Lang; Reference Librarian; Biddle Law Library; University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; Philadelphia, PA 4 INCERTO SERIES by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House (2018). "This four-volume series helped teach me to think probabilisti- cally when forecasting future events and to acknowledge the role of chance in how things turn out. In the legal world, this increased uncertainty under- standably vexes clients. Whereas a client might usually have been able to depend on their coun- sel to accurately and precisely predict the legal consequences of a proposed course of action, it is no more iffilt for a layer to tell a client exactly what will happen if they act or fail to act in a certain way. With Taleb's works in mind, I have increasingly felt that my role has never been more important. It is probably not enough for attorneys and clients to rely on their own gut feelings to navigate the COVID- 19 legal landscape successfully, and they must take into account so much information when con- sidering potential consequences of legal strategies. Law librari- ans are accordingly helping the world get through the pandemic by ensuring that key decision- makers receive, understand, and consider pertinent information." Adam M. Masarek; Strategic Legal Insights Attorney; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Atlanta, GA Image © iStockPhoto.com/ fonikum/ isaul khoiriyah/ rambo182 JULY/AUGUST 2020 | AALL SPECTRUM 15

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