I’m going to tell you a little story about myself that might come as a surprise to those of you who know me. For those of you who don’t, yes ladies and gentlemen, I’m a giant nerd, might as well enjoy it. The thing is, when I was younger I wanted to be a librarian. I thought it was the greatest job, because when I was at the library (and I was always at the library) the librarians were really nice to a super curious kid. Of course, that enthusiasm quickly gave way to astronaut, paleontologist, sorcerer, zombie hunting Jedi, and so on… but I always maintained my love of reading. If you see me and I’m not reading or listening to a book (a newfound love of Audible.com haunts me) then I’m usually thinking about one.
A lot of our first purchases here at Hurricane Labs were books. Making sure there were plenty of books around to reference (yes, I started working way before Google) or just to enjoy during downtime, was a practice I developed very early in my career. I also always made sure that my colleagues had access to them. So, in a way, I was sort of fulfilling my first dream job of being a librarian. Many people who worked with me during those times (you poor souls) commented that the book access was their favorite part of the job. These types of things that stick with me.
Now, you’re probably wondering to yourself: “Self, has Bill finally lost it? He has completely flipped out… I don’t care about his book obsession.” But, I’m here to tell you, you do care. Encouraging your teammates to read more and making sure resources are available is one of the top five things you can do to build a better team. I totally made that stat up (and that’s okay), but trust me it is accurate.
In all of my years of team building and through my various employers, it never occurred to me to actually build a more formal library program. As of last week, however, Hurricane Labs now has a formal “corporate” library.
This whole process began as I simply started looking at the books around my office and there were nearly 70 in there alone. After also browsing through the several shelves scattered around the office, we got to over 200 (I wasn’t kidding, I love books). Secondarily, I wanted to make sure we were keeping track of all of them correctly and allowing check-outs and so forth. So, enter software.
I found these guys: Libib, which made me really happy since it eliminates using up any internal infrastructure to run it or really manage it. Basically, you create an account there, scan in your books (there’s a mobile app, it’s great), set up your patrons (people who can borrow), and off you go. I had a couple of small hiccups, which were in fact all due to my refusal to actually read their instructions (ironic huh?). But their support is nearly instant (by email), so I highly recommend this service.
This more formal program we have created is in its infancy, but it is my hope that we get more people here reading and writing reviews for the books they borrow. Now, if you want to start a formal library program at your company, awesome, you should. I’ll try to routinely report back results of our program here at Hurricane Labs.