In a recent meeting, I asked my colleagues in a concerned tone, “does anyone here feel like they don’t get enough email?” Okay, it was a joke–no one did. While today some libraries have joined the tech world in using messaging products like Slack for staff communication, many continue to distribute everything through email–announcements, instructions, contact information for community groups, scheduling requests, and more, all piled into one inbox. And more comes in every day.
Noting that many emails I sent contained instructions which would need to be referenced in the future, I undertook a project to develop our staff intranet into a knowledge base where information could be hosted and discovered. This allows busy children’s librarians to discover the instructions they need independently, or, if they ask me for instructions, I can simply direct them to the correct page by including a link in my reply.
Executing this project has had a few major components:
- Collaborating effectively with staff in Computer Services who administer the intranet. Communicating goals, feedback, and questions about timelines.
- Teaching myself enough Drupal to create nodes and add and edit content. (For outside-of-work practice, I built my wedding website in Drupal.)
- Creating buy-in among other staff in my department.
- Anticipating staff needs for content and, in many cases, writing it!
In addition to static pages for instructions and policies, we ended up creating a forum for children’s librarians to communicate with each other. Slack it ain’t, but it allows staff to discuss issues that concern or tickle them without overwhelming anyone’s inbox.
Development continues on the intranet; I expect to complete work in November 2017. In the meantime, you can look at the information architecture I created (a site map and outline with responsibilities delineated) here. You’ll need a password–just ask me!