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?

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…

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…

Administrative and Management Skills

ALSC Asks:

Many management and leadership decisions with patrons are judgement calls based on ones understanding of their library policy. We have a scenario for you to consider: A solo parent comes into the children’s area of the library with a teenager, a toddler, and an infant to enjoy a Summer Reading Puppet show. Upon arrival the teenager immediately leaves their family in the children’s area to hang out with  friends in the teen area. Once the puppet show begins the toddler starts screaming, laughing, and trying to climb on stage to touch the puppets. The parent, with their hands full holding the infant, apologizes for the interruption and pulls the toddler off the stage. The toddler continues to scream, laugh and point at the stage while the performance resumes. After 15 minutes the puppeteer asks the parent to quiet the toddler, because they are disrupting the show. The parent explains the toddler…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Supporting Children’s Services through Career Transitions

Recently, I re-read the ALSC Blog post, Why Children’s Librarians Should Run the World (or at least the library), which asked why more children’s librarians weren’t moving into management positions. One explanation was that they prefer not to give up the job satisfaction received by working directly with children. I’ve certainly heard that reluctance from children’s librarians who would make excellent supervisors. If you are on the fence about testing out a leadership role, know that you can shape your job to still feel linked to your original mission. I know firsthand – I was a children’s librarian for nearly seven years before deciding to explore supervision. I’ve now served as an assistant managing librarian, the children’s services coordinator, the youth services manager and a managing librarian. In that time, I’ve learned that you can support children’s services in a meaningful way even as job titles and responsibilities change. Give…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for many to experience the yearly tradition of: END OF THE YEAR PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS!  Staff evaluations are a time honored tradition that cause the masses to collectively share a sense of dread and anxiety. (Just kidding…I think?) During my first stint as a library manager, I actually looked forward to the full process of evaluations with my staff. We were a tight team; working well together and openly discussing any problems or roadblocks as they arose. Even though it was my first experience managing other employees, I felt both comfortable and confident going to employees with any issues and working on solutions together. I advised my team that the information shared during the evaluations was not an attack, but rather a tool that we would refer to together to grow as individuals and a team to provide the best possible service…

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…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Building Strong Summer Partnerships

Library outreach allows us to bring services and programs to children outside of library walls and to reach patrons in new settings. Children’s outreach can have an even greater impact in the summer months when school is out and energies can be focused on new learning activities. Summer outreach opportunities can also provide unique possibilities in terms of establishing new partnerships as you work with community organizations to bring summer library programming directly to their audiences. Whether they are summer camp sites, nonprofit organizations, neighborhood recreational centers, and more; there are a variety of community partnerships to forge in the summer to help expand the scope of the library and provide programming for youth. However, these opportunities can also bring about challenges in working with new community partners. Here are a few tips that may help you make the most of establishing new outreach partnerships over the coming months. 1. …