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2012 Midwinter Meeting HIGHLIGHTS—Dallas Cognotes • Page 11

Susan Cain Opens Midwinter Auditorium Speaker Series On the Value of Introverts and Their Opposites in Society

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

ALA Immediate Past President Roberta Stevens introduced Susan Cain to open the Auditorium Speakers Series on Saturday, January 21. The former corporate lawyer turned author (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) addressed the reasons why “our culture misunderstands introverts” and why and how it can change.

Cain commenced with three questions: why do some people prefer to work alone; why do some people hate to attend parties; and what would you do if you could spend the weekend any way you wanted? She elicited expected laughs and gasps when she next suggested that everyone divide up into groups of six to reflect openly on painful childhood memories. As it turned out, that was just a test of the audience’s response, although she stated that some people might actually like to participate in that discussion.

Offering practical hints for benefitting most from the demeanor that introverts bring to work, she stated that they are easily activated through the senses, preferring less noise, softer music, and lower lights. Although it often helps to be more easily stimulated at work and in life, worksites present challenges in that “one size does not fit all” employees.

She shared the contributions of many famous reserved, quiet, productive people such as Charles Darwin, Dr. Seuss and Warren Buffet, all of whom bestowed gifts upon a world that is biased against their personality type. Introverts usually get better grades in school although teachers often prefer the ostensibly more engaged extroverts. There are even introverts and extroverts in the animal kingdom, the “sitters” and the “rovers” respectively. Said Cain: “we need both types if we are going to survive as a species.”

Introverted or sitter children take in subtleties that others often miss and inwardly-oriented adults enjoy spending time with people, but those they already know well as opposed to those they do not. Among the advantages that introverts bring are: intellectual curiosity; carefully considered risk management; and creativity where “solitude is an important catalyst.”

Alleging that “we need to understand how much introverts and extroverts need each other,” Cain cited many partnerships, such as between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple; Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt; and Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (in each case with the outgoing partner more comfortably appearing first). She closed her presentation by reminding her listeners “we need a world where it is culturally permissible to be our schools and at work” and that “we need not only to tolerate others...but to truly admire each other.”

During the question and answer session, Cain acknowledged that: some people (whom psychologists dub “ambiverts”) possess both characteristics and that Carl Jung maintained that no one can really be all one type or all the other; children must learn to work in groups, in one-on-one situations, as well as alone; many introverts can react well at social functions, but often feel overwhelmed or drained afterwards; she succeeded as a corporate lawyer because her mannerisms helped her to be well-prepared and non-confrontational; and that social media can be especially appealing to some introverts, serving as “a bridge from online to real life communication.”

Well-crafted management styles can often best tap the ideas of introverts at meetings by urging participants to prepare ahead of time and to give written follow-up rather than spoken comments during the session. In conclusion, Cain observed that introverts are “not anti-social but differently social.” Those interested in carrying on a conversation with the presenter via Twitter can do so via @susancain #quietrevolution.

Literacy Librarians Discuss New Toolkit for Adult Learners

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

Midwinter attendees on Sunday, January 22 addressed “Literacy for All: Adult Literacy @ your library,” a toolkit from the ALA Committee on Literacy and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS.) Designed as a guide rather than a set of “best practices” because these suggestions are not applicable to all facilities, it is intended to be immediately practical, effective, low-cost, and easily replicable. Librarians were encouraged to see what was happening in their area and how those methods could be improved. With the goal of ensuring that members of the public enjoy the resources that our institutions have, librarians need to build alliances with literacy, business, media, and governmental organizations. A supporter rather than a competitor, the library can coordinate partners in this goal.

“The library is the space provider for most literacy programs…it is a step up from being a space provider to a leader.” Historically libraries have ordinarily provided resources and services, including space, rather than direct training in literacy. California in the late 1980s was an exception for when money was available, libraries there, trained tutors. Needless to say, that state’s economic status is currently quite different. Faith-based and community organizations as well as technical colleges are likely active partners for training reading instructors today.

Data to document needs is necessary before you can successfully raise necessary funds. The U.S. Census being a good source of information on literacy. While the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education provides federal funds to each state, this program has not been reauthorized, just extended, since 1998. Literacy efforts should also address the deaf community. Not only do many hearing members share problems with the deaf and can benefit from using materials targeted for them, but hearing loss can be gradual, or sudden, for almost anyone.

Social Media Made for Networking

By Kacee Church
Harmony Science Academy

Social media is an integral part of our society. People use it multiple times throughout the day to connect with family, friends, and people they find interesting. It is also used for professional networking.

Cindy Hirsch (University of Arizona) spoke to professional job seekers Saturday, January 21, about the power of social media in job searches. It is no secret that social media is the way to communicate, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that more and more organizations are using social media to attract interest from job seekers. Professionals can, in turn, use social media to find and attract potential employers.

Twitter can be used to optimize any federal job search. Tiffany Jane Brand (University of Pittsburgh), noted that twitter is a great way to research specific departments from organizations such as The Department of Energy, The Veteran’s Administration, and Health and Human Services. Users can look for jobs matching their specific skills or research departments before interviews.

Brand told the audience that basic and advanced twitter searches will return all tweets sent from a specific organization and all tweets mentioning that organization. This includes job opportunities. When using hashtags, users should seek out those already established first. gauges the frequency a specific hashtag is used. provides users with real time updates on trending topics. helps users find groups with similar interests and uses already established hashtags. Users can find professional development opportunities. When users mention a company, the company will more than likely look up the person sending it out and will be brought to that user’s page.

Twitter is a great way to promote one’s work, but it is easy to go overboard. It is best to stick to short tweets, such as a short comment and a link to the article. Users can also post links to resumes, blog updates, and conference presentations. It is easy to network and pick up followers using this method. Users should also be careful not to overwhelm their audience with too many tweets.

Hootsuite can prevent users from causing information overload in their followers. It allows users to schedule times for tweets to go out. You can also promote your work during the last 10 minutes of #libchat Wednesdays from 8:00 — 9:30 p.m.