Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Family Engagement During Storytime: Shifting from Performer to Early Literacy Facilitator

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation.  We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment.

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Leading Toward a Shared Vision and Common Purpose

Supervising a creative, project-driven team, I often tread a fine line between wanting to be a supportive ‘yes person’ and making strategic choices for how we allocate staffing and resources. It’s not always easy, for as David Maister says, “Strategy means saying no” (davidmaister.com). Three books are helpful when balancing intentional decision-making with motivating a team: Harwood, Richard. Stepping Forward: A Positive, Practical Path to Transform Our Communities and Our Lives. Austin, TX: Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2019. This new book by the founder of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation introduces seven principles of stepping forward to help communities find common ground, rebuild trust, expand circles of action, and develop a culture of ‘civic confidence’ for positive change. Harwood talks about the importance of stopping to listen, of having the courage and humility necessary to show up, to make those tough and intentional choices, and to remain open to…

Administrative and Management Skills

Wanna be a Branch Manager? Manage Yourself First.

Do you want to be a branch manager? Ok, I have a scenario for you: Let’s pretend you are a children’s librarian in a large multi-branch library system, with a personal passion for serving homeless adults in your city’s downtown district. Given the choice between facilitating an outreach storytime in a women’s shelter downtown or in a private Montessori school one block from your library (all other things being equal), which should you choose?

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Refinement: Growing in place

We just wrapped our last day of Summer Reading with our finale. As the festivities came to a close, several patrons asked about next month’s schedule of programs. “When does storytime start again? What’s going on tomorrow?” Youth Services work is often very cyclical and at times quite regimented. Certain programs are offered on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. At the same time, our work prompts us to look ahead in our planning, purchasing, and anticipating what’s next. While there is some comfort to be found in familiar patterns and repetition, how can we keep a fresh outlook and focus in on the present moment? Additionally, how can we ensure that we continue to grow professionally, adjust within our evolving  roles, and meet the needs of our communities?

Administrative and Management Skills

2019 Summer Learning on Leadership and Management

Looking over the ALSC Blog archives, I was inspired by 2017’s Summer Reading for Managers list, which included a number of stellar titles (go read them already!) As part of my own professional summer reading and podcast listening, I’ve been focusing on the topics of time management and habit change, both of which help prevent burn-out by allowing us to play the long game. Currently, I’ve been inhaling Laura Vanderkam’s work, re-reading 168 Hours, I Know How She Does It and Off the Clock. I appreciate that Vanderkam starts from an abundance mindset, instead of one of scarcity. All of us have the same 168 hours in a week, which over the course of a month provides plenty of time both for obligations and the hobbies or causes that we are passionate about. Vanderkam is a big proponent of time tracking to pinpoint when we are spending our time on…

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Ask ALSC

Welcome to Ask ALSC, where the Managing Youth Services Committee asks leaders in children’s libraries to share their response to an issue or situation. We hope to showcase a range of responses to topics that may affect ALSC members. If you’d like to respond to today’s topics, or suggest a topic for the future, please leave a comment. Today we will discuss advocacy. As librarians, we are constantly vying for resources to fund programs and purchase materials. With so much going on at the library this can seem like a monumental undertaking. I surveyed several librarians and asked how they advocated for their work and their programs. Below are the top three responses I received. Rely on others: This first response may come as a surprise but many librarians said they let others advocate for them. The teacher that you conduct outreach for, the parent who comes to story time,…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

(re)Defining Leadership

A few weeks ago, I attended a day-long, local library conference, which was run entirely by library staff. In fact, the majority of the presenters were front line staff.  The program sessions and poster topics were relevant to everyday branch experiences. Ensuing discussions were meaningful and applicable to our daily work. The day left me feeling invigorated. Later that evening, several of us took some time to catch up and to socialize. During the course of the conversation, we discussed our career aspirations and professional goals. In our group of seven, all except one commented that they had no interest in a managerial position. However, several acknowledged that they would like more opportunities to use and to develop leadership skills. Our conversation made me think about how leadership is perceived and applied within the context of our work. Start with Yourself Often, discussions on leadership focus on management and leading…

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Sometimes it’s not a “no”, it’s “not yet”

I chatted recently with another manager about her children’s librarian, who has become discouraged as she looks for new challenges. “She’s so wonderful. I can’t believe that someone else hasn’t snatched her away. She is world-class.” I agreed and shared, “sometimes it’s just about timing. I can’t even tell you how many jobs within our organization I’ve applied for and haven’t gotten.” “Same here…” “Oh, I never knew that.” “It’s not something we talk about often, but maybe we should be a bit more open about it.” So, in the interest of full disclosure, over the course of fifteen years in my organization, I’ve held six different positions. Three of those positions, I applied for unsuccessfully before ultimately receiving offers. I’ve also applied for countless others (ten? more? I really have lost track). The first time I applied to be the Assistant Children’s Services Manager, the hiring manager called to…