Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Managing: Keep Staff Connected

Ask any library manager that you know; management in the library is not limited to overseeing the daily functions of front line staff. Great managers will put time into making sure all employees are equipped with the tools and support necessary to both feel professionally fulfilled and to complete their best work consistently. One of my favorite aspects of being a librarian is the sense of camaraderie that I feel when working with and learning from other professionals. Finding opportunities for the children’s library front line staff to network and build connections within the profession can be a challenge. Working around tight schedules and staffing budgets may seem to cause more of a headache for you as a manager than what you think that time is worth, but I believe that you will find that the time invested in providing opportunities to your employees to plug-in to the larger library community is time well spent!

Here are some professional network initiatives that greatly improved my connections and the connections of my staff within the greater library community:

  • Shared online space. Social media allows for even the most remote library employees to feel connected to community! Share relevant pages, groups, and list-serv information with your staff. Having the capability to both read what others are posting and share information in their area of expertise are both great professional growth opportunities.
  • Weekly emails. With the nature of most libraries’ schedules, it is unfeasible for all staff to be able to meet together weekly. Emails prove vital in keeping everyone up-to-date on any relevant on-goings or library news. Make sure you are consistent with your emails; creating a recurring task or calendar event is helpful. I keep relevant links and topics in the notes section of my task list as I come across them, making the actual composition of the emails a cinch!
  • Roundtables. Roundtables offer a great opportunity to share best practices, host prospective program partners, and meet others in your profession. Check with your local regional libraries, state libraries, or local library associations and/or organizations to see if there are established roundtables in your community. If you cannot locate a local roundtable, consider establishing one or approaching an interested staff member to take on the task.
  • Professional Organizations. While there are ample opportunities to plug-in to local and state library organizations, do not underestimate the opportunity for creating relationships within national organizations, even if travel is not feasible in your library’s budget. ALSC offers many opportunities to be involved in the larger community without ever leaving your library, including virtual committees and the ALSC Mentoring Program.

Managers: What are your most successful initiatives to keep your staff connected to the larger community?

Front-line staff: What are your favorite venues of staying engaged within the profession? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Today’s guest blogger is Amanda Yother, a life-long library lover. She has worked as a children’s services coordinator in a public library, as a school library media specialist in an elementary school, and is currently working as a regional librarian in Cookeville, Tennessee.Amanda is writing on behalf of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *