Librarian Lifestyle

Want to Have Better Meetings with Your Direct Reports? Turn Your Weekly Meetings Into Walking Meetings

In Careers, Workplace Issues on June 8, 2014 at 2:53 am

For the last few weeks at my university, we have been doing a wellness challenge. This involves walking 50,000 steps a week, and many people from my library, and my team specifically, are participating.

I didn’t realize until I started this challenge that I am super competitive! Like many librarian jobs, my job is fairly sedentary,  so I started thinking about the different ways I could increase my steps during the day. I then remembered a conversation I had somewhere in the middle of Latvia during Cycling for Libraries with the inspiring Åke Nygren of the Stockholm Public Library. The details are a little fuzzy (Forgive me, Åke! Maybe you can add more details in the comments?) but basically I remember that he had organized a walking meeting at a conference, and I thought at the time what a genius idea! To walk and talk about ideas with your colleagues. During Cycling for Libraries I found that I had the most inspirational and reveltory conversations while biking alongside fellow librarians, so that experience had shown me how creativity flourished and ideas flowed when you talked about work while exercising at the same time.

So, I decided to try implementing walking meetings at at my library with members of my team who I thought would initially be the most receptive, and it has been amazing! We have a mile long trail around our campus, so our meetings last the 20 minutes it takes to walk the trail. Along the way we talk about work, we talk about ideas and solutions to some of our challenges, and we chat about things going on in our personal lives.

Walking next to each other as opposed to sitting across a desk, completely changes the power dynamic. Instead of being in a defacto adversarial setting by sitting across from each other at a big rectangular desk, we are truly teammates, walking together side-by-side. I think it breaks down some barriers that exist between a manager and a direct report, which leads to more open communication, something I regard as the cornerstone of success for my department and for my library.

I also think that the combination of being outdoors and getting a boost from endorphins created by exercise allows space for creativity and inspiration to happen. It is the ideas resulting from this boost to creativity that will make us better librarians.

I’m not sure how this initiative will fare in the heat of the Texas summer, but creating a space for more open dialogue while improving your health is a combination that is hard to beat.


By Karen Holt

Karen is the Head of Reference & Instructional Services at The University of Texas – Pan American on the Texas-Mexico border. She loves traveling and biking. Her next destinations include Cycling for Libraries in France, IFLA, and (fingers crossed!) the LIBER Book Fair in Barcelona.






Hello English 1302 Students!

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to be working with you this semester!

The library is amazing place, full of lots of things that will help you with your assignment in this class. I’m going to be your guide to the library this semester!

Some of the things that we can talk about are how to start your research, how to decide if you found a good source, how to use the library effectively, and anything else that you have questions about.

I’ll be coming to your class soon and I look forward to meeting you all in person! You can find me on Twitter @karenholt, and I’m always happy to tweet with you.

See you soon!





Cycling for Libraries Fundraiser

In Conferences on April 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm

This summer three awesome librarians Karen Holt, Barbara Fullerton, and April Kessler will embark on an international library adventure with Cycling For Libraries. This unconference offers a week of library workshops, debates, and tours with a diverse group of 100 international librarians from 22 countries cycling 250+ miles from Amsterdam to Brussels. Cycling for libraries is an international cycling conference that aims to advocate for libraries and increase awareness of the valuable services and resources that libraries offer to the community.

We could use your help.

Your donation can help us cover registration fees which include room and board, bike rental, and travel expenses. Every little bit helps and we appreciate anything you can donate.

To Donate:
  • Registration – $325 per person
  • Bike Rental – $100 per person
  • Flight – $1500 per person

Other Ways You Can Help

Even if you can’t donate, you can still help by spreading the word about our campaign. Thank you for helping us take this amazing adventure for libraries!

AND, if you are attending the TXLA annual meeting in Ft. Worth on April 24th-27th, visit our Booth #1013 in the Exhibit Hall!

A bit about us…

Barbara, Karen, and April

Barbara Fullerton has been in the information professional field for over 15 years, with experience in vendor relations, and corporate and law libraries. She has a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Emporia State University in Kansas. Barbara is an active member in DALL, SLA, President of the Texas SLA Chapter, and is currently on the Advisory Board of UNT’s College of Information.

Karen Holt is the the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Librarian Lifestyle. She works as a librarian at Northwestern University in Qatar. Before moving to the Middle East Karen worked as the Communication Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin where she was the subject specialist for advertising, journalism, radio-television-film, and communication studies.

April Kessler is the Business Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin.She received her MSIS from UT and her MBA from Wichita State University. April is the Past President the Texas Chapter of the Special Libraries Association and serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Library Association. She is also the co-founder of the business research blog, bizologie.

We’ll be blogging about our adventures on Librarian Lifestyle and Bizologie this summer, so stay tuned!

Yours in library love,

Karen Holt


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